Here is my Frequently Asked Questions page. I’ll add to this when I get the time and/or I get asked a question more than once.
Q: When will your next book be available? Will or be released as an audio book? When will the audio book be out?
I freaking love that this is something I have to address in a FAQ, you have no idea. I don’t always have an answer that satisfies for these questions, sadly, but I do my best to keep all of the various statuses updated; you can find them all here on my site.
The best way to check status on any of my books is to look on the right side of the site, under the Categories section. Under the Books heading, you’ll see an entry for each series and/or title. There is also an overall Book News heading, which is where I typically put up release announcements.
And then, if you want to see what’s currently out right now, click the covers shown on the right side of the page or check the Preview & Purchase page listed in the top menu bar.
And, seriously? Thanks very much for being interested in my delusions enough to ask!
Q: Have you done any interviews? Would you be willing to do an interview/appear on a podcast/etc?
I’ve done one interview with regard to writing. We discussed my books, my thoughts on writing in general, what makes a good story, and so on; you can listen to it here.
I’m not exactly what you would call a “big deal” so my door isn’t getting battered down with interview requests. But yeah, if you run a blog or a podcast and you’d like to have me on to chat, just drop me a line and let’s set something up.
Q: What is the best way to contact you?
I have most of the social media thingies you’re supposed to have these days. I have the contact page on this site, which goes straight to my e-mail, and then I have the various facebook pages and requisite Twitter puker. I respond to all of these on a regular basis.
Q: With regard to the Commune Series, there seems to be a couple of timelines at play. Also, some of your characters seem…a little off, as though something concealed is going on. Do you have any suggestions for readers attempting to orient themselves in this world?
Yes, you should find some interesting things under The World of Commune category.
Q: What are your favourite 5 books and movies? Have any of these influenced the Commune series?
I don’t have my favorite books or movies that well organized. I have a small selection that immediately come to mind but once you start putting a number on things, it all gets a little hairy. From the perspective of books, I suppose I’d say that Gene Wolfe’s Solar Cycle is probably the best I’ve ever seen for Sci-Fi, but then I wouldn’t compare any of that to Steinbeck, would I? It’s too hard to choose. I might could pick out five from any given genre but five from all of them is too limiting. Same answer with movies, too, except that I feel that The Godfather (1 and 2) are the best films ever made.
As far as influence: any writer that ever tells you he or she isn’t influenced by the books or movies he/she has encountered is either full of shit or doesn’t understand how the human brain works. I’m intensely influenced by the content of others; but most of the time it comes down to me working really hard to avoid doing the things that I consider to be dumb or poor, lazy story telling that I’ve seen elsewhere. Before writing my first book, I had an accumulated couple of decades at least of griping about movies and books that did dumb things. I guess it was one of those situations where you think, “Well, you think you’re so hot, let’s see you do better!” So I gave it a shot.
I would say the Gene Wolfe has been a giant influence in my writing, though. He and I both like the mystery of an unreliable narrator, though that seems to be his big thing, and every one of his books is a kind of narrative maze. I’ve been having fun with these Commune books, though I don’t go anywhere near as complex as Wolfe, but I don’t know if the UN device will be a common thing in my other books. It’s really down to what the story requires.
Q: Do you consciously remain politically and religiously neutral when you write or do you like to represent your personal beliefs?
I give a lot of thought to politics and religion but I do the best I can to make no attempt to project my beliefs onto the reader; you guys have plenty of your own. There are certain obvious areas that are safe; killing the innocent or rape are typically no-nos, so I can safely refer to these as the evil acts they are in the narrative voice. I focus more on trying to have genuine characters. When you flesh them out enough, you don’t have to agonize so much over your own thoughts or beliefs because the character will have his/her own. All you have to do is honor who it is that your character has grown into through the narrative and then just let him be, see? The tough thing is this: no person (not a character now, a person) ever actually thought he or she was evil. Not Hitler, Manson, Dahmer, or any of them. The KKK idiots you see parading on TV don’t think they’re evil. They think their doing right. So when you write people like this, those with whom you’d typically disagree, you have to get around that and find some way to empathize with them, or else they’ll come off hollow and counterfeit. This has made certain scenes in these books very difficult to write.
Q: Is one of the characters in Commune secretly you?
There is a little bit of me in every character in these books, some more than others. They have all ultimately come from my head and I’ve spoken to you, the reader, through their mouths. Many of them are composed mostly from jigsaw puzzle pieces of the people I’ve known throughout my life. Amanda started out resembling my wife a great deal at first, but that was only for the first couple of pages that I wrote her. She quickly became her own person naturally. But my wife’s mannerisms and sayings will still come out of her mouth from time to time. The Gibs character is based heavily on a good friend of mine in real life, only the literary character is amplified in certain ways; again they tend to grow into their own personality over time. The only character in this series who I have taken great pains to keep separate from my own personality (or the personalities of my friends) is Jake. He has been constructed entirely from the ground up to be exactly what I require for the purposes of this story’s end point.