Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I started writing because it seemed like the thing to do. When you’re only really good at one thing in life, you end up drifting toward it, regardless of how little money you end up making out of it. I’ve written two full length novels, 2012’s Disappearance and 2014’s Prospero’s Half-Life. My latest is a serial novel being published through Across The Margin’s publishing wing, ATM Publishing. The first part, Interstitial Burn-Boy Blues, was put out in 2017. I’ve also placed short fiction in a variety of outlets, some of which even still exist.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My latest book is Interstitial Burn-Boy Blues, the first part of a serial novel. It’s very much a product of the looming spectre of climate change, the class consciousness of John Steinbeck, and the working class American heroism of Bruce Springsteen. It’s a response to that certain restlessness that lingers in the American spirit.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I change it up pretty often. Sometimes I like to write longhand, sometimes it’s computer-only, sometimes I scrawl it on tattered abandoned walls.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
Anyone writing about the decay of American civilization into post-oil, climate-change-scarred barbarism must acknowledge a debt to George Saunders. Full stop. Also inhabiting my sleeve are Steinbeck (Grapes of Wrath and Cannery Row), Hemingway (For Whom The Bell Tolls, not any of the self-indulgent toxic crap he pumped out elsewhere), Faulkner’s short fiction, McCarthy’s Outer Dark, and the lineup of apocalyptic women from this decade: Emily St. John Mandel, Edan Lepucki, Sara Taylor, and Claire Vaye Watkins.
What are you working on now?
My main work in progress is the next part of the serial novel, titled Sacramento Sunline Blues. Additionally I’m working on a cycle of short fiction that falls within the scope of what’s known as Southern Ontario Gothic.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
There’s no one best place to promote – you just have to take the opportunities as they are put forward to you and promote it everywhere, while walking that careful balance between promotion and spam.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Keep writing and don’t take any one piece of advice too seriously. You can only really learn by doing two things: reading everything and writing everything.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Red means run, son, and numbers add up to nothing.
What are you reading now?
My current reading list is Norman Mailer’s The Naked And The Dead and Don DeLillo’s latest, Zero K. I actually pre-ordered Zero K but have yet to actually finish it, which is so typical of me.
What’s next for you as a writer?
I’m guessing rejection, with hopefully the odd acceptance peppered in like a carrot to keep this donkey going.
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?
4 books? Faulkner’s short fiction collection, Hemingway’s short fiction collection, my Alice Munro omnibus, and probably Gravity’s Rainbow, because I’d finally have the luxury of time to take in each and every little minute detail Pynchon builds in to that doorstop of a novel.