Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I’ve written several short stories and novels, but only recently have I had anything published. I’m notoriously shy and have talked myself out of publishing in the past; it’s my hope to start getting these things out there now, old and new, for people to see.
Some random trivia? I was born on St. Patrick’s Day, my mother was born on Memorial Day (weekend), my father was born on Labor Day, and my brother was born on Friday the 13th.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
SAME OLD, SAME OLD is a short-story/novella (can’t really decide which). Without going too much into the story, it’s about struggling against things like futility and hopelessness, and not giving up when things look their worst. There’s also a lot of reflection on autonomy, and on routine, what we busy our lives with. It’s not strictly horror: it’s probably better to say it’s weird fiction, with elements of horror and suspense,.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I can never decide if I’m a plotter or a pantser. SAME OLD, SAME OLD, I more or less dared myself to write, as I’d never written anything like it before and I wanted to see if I could do it. I often do that: I will have an idea, and I’ll convince myself to try my hand at it before I chicken out.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
I try to read as broadly as possible, but shorthand, some of my favorites are Stephen King, Joe Hill, and Neil Gaiman. I’m also a big fan of HOUSE OF LEAVES and the way Mark Danielewski composes his work. I also draw on other mediums for inspiration, especially film, but I try to pull from others that might not be so obvious: sculpture, for example, and 3D art. The hope is to glean as much as possible from as many sources as possible.
What are you working on now?
Right now, I’m resting from having put the finishing touches on SAME OLD, SAME OLD. I will be looking into what to do next, of course – I have plenty of options – but for now, I’m content to rest, marketing it, etc.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I haven’t gotten that far along in my career yet to know. But Facebook has been pretty fundamental so far. It’s by far where I’ve gotten the most feedback.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Don’t wait. Logically, I could have released SAME OLD, SAME OLD, and a lot of my other works, over a decade ago. I let fear and neuroses get in the way, and there was a lot of self-image problems that didn’t help. And don’t be afraid of what people might say about you if you write what you love. Maybe it’s just me – I kind of doubt it – but I used to have this image of myself finally releasing something I put my heart and soul into, and people I knew and cared about basically disowning me. Sadly, that’s always a risk. I wish I could say that wouldn’t happen, and that it’s easy to remedy, but I can’t. The only real solace you can get out of the situation is that if those people don’t love you for who you are, and support you even if they don’t necessarily understand, maybe you don’t need them in your life…and sad as that might be to some, there’s a special kind of freedom and happiness from finally accepting it. For all the disapproving parents, grandparents, and critic trolls online, someone out there is going to like what you do. Keep at it.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Neil Gaiman once came to the city I lived in as part of his book tour. My wife took me to his show as a birthday present. The visitors got the chance to put handwritten questions into a bowl and he would pick questions to answer on stage: by sheer luck, he chose mine. I asked something to the effect of, “How do you get the courage to put yourself into your work, and release it to the world?” And his answer was not profound, but blunt; paraphrasing, he said, “Because I have to. Because it pays my bills and puts food on my table. Because I literally can’t do anything else.” I don’t know what I’d been expecting, but it wasn’t that. It was, however, exactly what I needed to hear, profound in a way he probably didn’t even intend. The fact was, I needed something harsh and blunt, not something lofty and inspiring, to get me going. Sometimes, that’s what other writers do too. We think we need something almost prophetic, and wispy, but what we really need is to stop waiting for stuff like that because we already know the answer. Anything else is just procrastinating.
What are you reading now?
I’m currently working my way through my Kindle library. I also hope to get to the couple of C. Robert Cargill books I’ve had forever that I haven’t had the sense to read yet. I used to read his reviews all the time when he went by the handle Massawyrm on Aintitcool, and now he’s off living my dream of writing movies. I’ve been told he’s very Gaiman-esque, so that excites me.
What’s next for you as a writer?
I don’t plan. Maybe I should, but I don’t. I’m notoriously bad at it. I suspect I will go through my piles of manuscripts and see which one needs fine tuning. Or, maybe I’ll start something new. The future is nice and mysterious right now, and that’s fine by me.
If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring?
Let’s be honest: any books I brought with me, I would either try to eat or use as kindling. Both would end in regret, then death. I was not meant for the sea.