Q. What do you hope readers will take away from “St. Peter in Chains?”
I like to think of reading as an experience; a good story causes the reader to experience it in a visceral way. In this case, I would like readers to feel what Peter feels, to be right there with him and walk away at the end the way one walks away from a good amusement park ride—a little shaken, maybe, but thinking it was fun, or even that they want to go again.
Q. What was the experience of writing it like? How is it similar or different vs. your other work?
I tend to write character studies, and “St. Peter in Chains” is very much in the vein. Writing it meant knowing Peter thoroughly, sort of living inside him. [laughing] Maybe I have a gay British spy hidden inside me! But seriously, “St. Peter” is different from previous works because it’s embedded in something closer to reality. A lot of my other work has an element of magical realism to it, or fantasy.
Q. Why the decision to make your protagonist gay?
It wasn’t a conscious decision. Maybe some writers plan out their characters, but mine are pretty much fully formed when I meet them. Writing becomes a getting-to-know-you process. Peter is gay for the same reason anyone is gay—because that’s the way he is.
Q. Do you consider it to fall within the spy/espionage genre, or is it something else?
Not in the traditional sense. It’s no thriller. It’s quieter than that. “St. Peter in Chains” is about the characters more than any big international threat. There’s no running around or car chases. It’s very psychological, by which I mean it’s about Peter’s psychology.
Q. What were your major influences in writing the book?
I’d say it’s a cross between Mad Men and a John le Carré novel. I don’t know if those were influences, exactly, but when I finished writing it and stood back and looked at it, that’s more or less what I had.
Q. What should your readers know about you?
Don’t be afraid to approach me. People think I’m aloof, but really I’m shy. I do love talking to people, but I’ll never be the one to say something first.
Q. What are you working on next?
I’m finishing a novel called The K-Pro. A sort of romantic comedy with a paranormal twist. I’ve given myself to the end of July to finish the draft, which is a little more than half done. I’ve also got some flash fiction pieces coming out in an anthology later this year. [Daily Flash 2013: 365 Days of Flash Fiction by Pill Hill Press]