1. What is the most unusual job you’ve ever held?
I was a mapmaker for about a week. Not a cartographer, mind you. My responsibilities were to place power cables where the civil authority dictated they should go on ordinance survey maps. Try as I might I couldn’t get the hang of it, and my employment ended when I accidentally ran an extremely high voltage cable through a graveyard.
2. Who has been your biggest influence as a writer?
It sounds like such a clichéd answer at this stage, which I think just speaks to the power and longevity of his influence, but Stephen King. There are others, of course, but King is King. Without his influence, I wouldn’t be writing today.
3. When you wrote The Turtle Boy, did you intend for it to become a series or did that evolve later?
The Turtle Boy was written to be a standalone novella. In fact, earlier drafts of the book have a much different and more conclusive ending. It wasn’t until Rich Chizmar at Cemetery Dance contacted me asking me if I had a story they could publish for their novella line that I realized there were more stories to tell in Timmy’s world. This led to The Hides, but in order for that book to work, The Turtle Boy needed to be a little more open-ended. From there, the series opened up and a mythology developed that begged further exploration.
4. Who is your favorite writer?
An impossible question to answer, and I don’t have just one, but off the top of my head: Stephen King, Peter Straub, Ramsey Campbell, Charles L. Grant, Michael Marshall (Smith), Dennis Lehane, Cormac McCarthy, Ken Bruen, Larry McMurtry, Christopher Fowler, Gillian Flynn, Graham Joyce, John Connolly, Robert R. McCammon, and Scott Smith.
5. How did you get involved in designing covers for print and digital books?
Economic necessity more than anything. Once I started reprinting my books for the digital market, it wasn’t financially viable for me to pay $300-$400 per cover when I was putting upwards of a dozen titles online, so I designed my own. Once the books were out there, other writers starting asking who my designer was and once they realized I was doing my own covers, they asked if I would do theirs. It started out as a bit of fun, but in the two years since, it’s become a fully-fledged business.
6. Is there an overall theme to your writing?
If there is, I’m not really conscious of it, but in thinking back over what I’ve written, I suppose I tend to gravitate toward themes of loss, grief, madness, and identity.
7. What was your acting experience like in the movie Slime City Massacre?
It was a blast! I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but the few weeks I spent on the set and the friends I made there are something I’ll never forget. It was wonderful! Plus, I got to cross a few things off my bucket list, like being in a movie, and getting to play a monster in a horror film.
8. What made you start writing?
My mother was an avid reader, and horror fan, so I was exposed to horror books and movies from a very early age. Plus I come from a background of storytellers, so I think a combination of those things made it inevitable that I would become a writer.
9. What is your best quality as a writer?
I have absolutely no idea. If I did, I’d probably be a lot better at marketing my work. I suppose if I have to answer, I’d say tenacity, stubbornness, a refusal to give up, and a desire to always be better at what I do.
10. If Hollywood was making a film adaptation of The Turtle Boy, and the director asked you to cast the role of Timmy Quinn, who would you choose?
Considering Timmy’s eleven years of age in the first book, and I’m absolutely unfamiliar with child actors, this is impossible to answer. But as he gets older, I could see someone like Tye Sheridan (Scouts versus Zombies, Joe, Mud) in the role.