What’s your favorite part of your recent novel, Loser’s Memorial?
Each character is nuanced. Even the most lovable characters do things that are cruel and even the cruelest show flashes of kindness. It makes for unpredictable story, and that’s what makes any story exciting. Zerd’s father is my personal favorite. You don’t know what he’s going to do next, and he’s a jerk in a unique way. I agree with him philosophically yet find the way he acts very annoying.
You’ve never shied from being opinionated, is that a handicap?
What makes writing so interesting is that you have to get inside the heads of people who don’t think like you. It leads to understanding them, even if you don’t agree with their views. Using that method, I’ve found very few people who are genuinely evil; they just take a different approach to solving a problem. I work hard to make sure what I write is readable by anyone, even if they disagree with my worldview.
What do you mean when you say you’re a progressive Brad Thor or Liberal Tom Clancy?
Let’s start by saying I don’t know them personally, and I haven’t read every single one of their books. That phrase is shorthand, to show we write about world events, but to contrast their conservative-ish view with my liberal-ish one. I don’t think either of us is wrong, because I believe that to everything there is a season and with something as large as the government or the military, you’re going to find the whole range of humanity inside. In Clancy-Thor books, government officials tend to be corrupt and military reps have noble intent. In my books it’s the opposite. At the end of the day, I find I write about humanity that anyone can relate to, and I think Clancy and Thor do as well. If you don’t, you do the reader a disservice and might be better off writing essays.
What type of fiction do you like?
I’m always changing, but a common thread to my diet is the disturbing, the odd, the morbid, the surprising. I’m insatiably morbidly curious. Real life is routine and mundane, and that’s good for staying alive, but for entertainment, I want to be surprised and shocked but from a very safe distance, of course. I love stories that give you a peek into the unknown: What happens to those inside secret prisons, prisoners and wardens? I love being a fly on a wall. I especially enjoy found footage stories, etc. Any story where you learn something you weren’t meant to learn, that’s thrilling.
The possibilities for writing are exploding. Who decided that 60,000 words was a novel? Or that 10,000 or less was a short story? Who cares? Now you can write a work and price it according to its length alone. A meaningful, well-written work can be a few hundred words or a few hundred thousand, and it can be global. It’s all very exciting. I’m always kicking around lots of ideas of all different lengths and I feel like finally, technology has caught up with me! Now I can put it to market and see what happens. I’m always trying to improve, so look for more stories based around current events, but I feel like they’re more entertaining all the time.