I’ve been tagged by my dear friend Mary Ann Bernal in the “Tag! You’re It” blog hop. The rules are simple: Answer the 3 questions below (that most authors want to answer anyway) and tag 3 more authors:
1. What are you working on right now?
As usual, I am working on multiple things. I try to keep at least one work in the writing stage and one in the editing stage. The work that I’m writing is a 2nd short story collection entitled Dark City Stories. Like The Juice and Other Stories, it’s a collection of contemporary fiction, Sci-Fi and Fantasy fiction. I’ve written 3 short stories thus far, and have begun a 4th, based on a conversation with the smartest person I know, on living in non-linear time.
The work being edited I mentioned in my previous post. It’s a detective novel, set in Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, South Dakota, Brooklyn, Harlem, Washington, D.C., New Jersey, and Turkey. Obviously, it needs to move pretty quickly. It’s my first detective story and my first full novel without any traces of science fiction or fantasy. I must say, it was a blast to write. There were several scenes that required my taking cold showers afterward. That’s a first for me.
2. How does it differ from other works in its genre?
Mainly Dark City differs in that I merge genres. I don’t mean just combining them, but actually trying to tear down the borders that separate them. For instance, I wrote a story that on its surface appears to be fantasy. The challenge is scripting it so that the reader is never certain anything “fantastic” happened. I hope to demonstrate that real miracles happen in the natural, not the supernatural. As I mentioned, I’m also working on a story that takes place in non-linear time, meaning the characters jump from time to time. However, that’s all the sci-fi you get. Once we set the rules, the rest of the stories must be actual human stories.
All of my short stories, like all most of my photography, is about relationships. Sometimes, in order to make an idea fresh, you need to bend a few rules or add a couple of “what ifs.” That’s where my Sci-Fi or fantasy comes in. What if dragons were flying around a city like New York? How would it affect the couple who was trying to protect them? Would it be any different than if they were trying to shield nesting eagles? What if “vampires” were nothing more than people who developed a high from drinking blood? What if they didn’t even need to drink it – just the predatory act was enough? That’s the central theme behind the short story “The Juice” and one I will follow up here. Again, these are stories about people, some of whom live in places that only exist in my head.
3. Why do you write what you do?
Toni Morrison once said, “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” I took that to heart. I used to be a voracious reader. In fact, I taught myself to read as a kid because we had tons of books and I was unwilling to wait for bloody kindergarten to learn. However, by the time I hit age 30, I’d begun to dislike more books than I liked. It wasn’t that books had changed, and it certainly wasn’t that they were of lower quality than before. It was I who’d changed.
Contemporary fiction mirrors modern society, but increasingly, I embraced older values. Classics were outdated to me and modern works reflected the agent-publisher clean-out-all-the-unique-bits mentality. There were still unique works, but I got tired of searching for themes I found interesting.
That’s when I realized what I was looking for only existed in my own head. So, I decided that someone needed to be the voice for those of us who are visual, not auditory thinkers – for those of us who never really consider themselves to be readers. I want to write stuff that no one else is writing. I like the idea of taking a known entity (like zombies, for instance) and completely changing the rules. Even if I never sell another book, if I’ve helped to crack the existing mold, I’ve done what I set out to do.
Whom do I