Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in a small town about fifty miles northeast of Detroit. There wasn't much to do as the urban sprawl hadn't reached that far yet. (none of the roads in our town had even been paved yet) So I spent a lot of time during the summers reading and writing these ridiculous short horror stories. I kept them for many many years, but, unfortunately, the stories were lost in a flood in my basement. Some of my favorite authors at the time were Dean Koontz, Stephen King, and Clive Barker. Of course, there were the classical authors like Edgar Allen Poe and H.P. Lovecraft.
When did you first start writing?
I played around with short stories from the time I was ten or eleven. It's how I spent my breaks between school. I didn't start writing professionally, however, until I was much older. My first story was published in 2000, so I've been writing now for nearly sixteen years.
What is your writing process?
I'm often asked this, and I'm not sure it's "a process" to be honest. I like to write first thing in the morning, before the rest of the world gets up, and before my mind gets cluttered with emails, facebook, twitter, etc...The mornings are always spent at my desk, which has one wall full of windows so I can watch the sun rise. Yes, I tend to get up before the sun. I love those quiet, dark moments in the morning. There's something magical about the last hour of the night.
If I'm writing in the afternoons, it's usually not at my desk. I prefer to be elsewhere, whether it be at a coffee shop, outside (weather permitting), or even just curled up on the couch in the living room. I'm very fortunate that I'm able to write just about anywhere. I love writing at airports and have even been known to pull out my notebook and write at a bar in the evenings.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I actually prefer to read the old-fashioned way, with a book in hand. It's old school, but I love the feel of the book, and manually turning the pages. There's nothing better. If I need use an e-reader, then my preferred device is my iPad.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
It might sound odd (I know authors who actually hate the process) but for me I love everything about writing. Sure sometimes the plot frustrates me, or I get stuck trying to name my latest work, but honestly I wouldn't give it up for anything. There is something powerful and addictive about the promise or anticipation of a new work starting to take form, then the fun and exhilaration of getting to know my characters, interviewing them, understanding their strengths and weaknesses, and then the utter thrill of telling their stories.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My upcoming horror novel, Crimson Souls, features the protagonist, Nate The Midnight Barker. For those of you familiar with my work, you know that Nate (a shadow demon who feeds on the souls of men) has appeared in several short stories. I thought it was time to give him his due and tell his story. The novel is set in Cambridge and goes back and forth between present day and 1920 during the purge of homosexual male students at Harvard.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
This sounds so cliche, but I love everything about my life. I have a wonderful and supportive partner of eighteen years. I've just recently switched to writing full-time, so my days begin with hot coffee and my characters. When I'm not writing, I volunteer 15-20 hours each week at a local non-profit community archives, The History Project, collecting, cataloging, preserving GLBT history in Boston.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I love going for long walks, even in the city. There is something about the activity on the streets, the people, the congestion that fuels my creativity. I also volunteer my time and archival training to a GLBT community archives. I also love to cook, so when taking a break from work in process, I can usually be found in the kitchen.
How do you approach cover design?
For the most part, my publishers do all the cover design work. I usually get two or three samples and can pick and choose between them. On those wonderful and rare occasions where I do get my hands dirty with the design, I want the cover to strike an emotion when someone looks at it. I want a potential reader to get a sense of the book immediately. For me the cover has to touch something, a nerve, a memory, an emotion in the reader. I want them to feel something when they look at my book.
I'll use the old saying here because I truly believe it. "A picture is worth a thousand words."
What do you read for pleasure?
I love a good murder mystery or a spooky horror novel. Of course, I'm always fascinated by legends and folklore from various cultures and countries as I find a lot of ideas for my work in those stories. I'm also a big fan of eighteenth-century London, so anytime a new book comes out I add it to my growing personal library.
What are you working on next?
That's a great question. I'm currently working on the sequel to my novella "Clothed in Flesh." It's set in 18th century London during a zombie outbreak. Of course zombies in the 18th century were not the flesh eating creatures we know today. They actually drained the life force out of people, so it's quite a unique way of thinking of them.
As for as my next novel, I've been struggling, or perhaps a better word for it is juggling a couple of ideas. I'm not ready to talk about them or describe them, but what I can say is that they couldn't be further away from each other in terms of themes. They are both horror, one about demons and the other about witchcraft. Though recent events in my life had made be favor one over the other. And that's all I'll say on the matter.
My fans will have to wait and see which one won out.
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