A Mock Interview

Me in the early 1990s at home in New Hope.

 This is a mock interview in which I interview myself. I borrowed the idea from a much, much more famous writer. It was a fun exercise.


So you have your second novel coming out this November and I'd like to thank you for taking the time to speak with us.

It's my pleasure.

What can we expect from the character based on your life, Chris Rhodes, in your next novel?

A less sexually mixed up character, but maybe more confused in other areas of life. The character enters his late teens and early twenties and as with many people that period is about figuring a way forward from the past.

Are you implying that the character accepts his sexual orientation and becomes comfortable as a young gay man?

Not exactly that. Acceptance is far different from embracing something. There is plenty of daylight between those two positions. The character does evolve through the course of the novel.

The character of Robin was a significant character in your two earlier books, Dweller On The Boundary and Terminal Wake, will he be in the next novel?

I feel like I would spoil something if I said yes or no.

Since these books are based on your life, did you feel like you were invading your own privacy?

It's not like I am telling everything or writing about some subjects in graphic detail. Sex is a good example of this, I consider writing about sex in graphic detail as boring and unoriginal. People may disagree and they can write their own books. There are some parts of my childhood that I never would write about and am hesitant to discuss in person. It does make it different meeting people that knew me before the books and meeting them after. It can be awkward and in some instances the dynamics have changed.

Did you lose any of your friends as a result of the book?

At least one for certain, maybe more. I'm not keeping score.

You've said this next book is not a love story, but a falling out of love story. Can you explain?

People can love other people, pets, places, flavors of ice cream or whatever. Sometimes it is more difficult to get out of something than it is to get into something; love can be like that. My character, Chris Rhodes, is going to learn that lesson the hard way as I did in real life.

How many of the characters from your two earlier books will be in the new novel?

I don't have an exact number, but fewer than I expected when I began writing this book in Fort Lauderdale. I knew some interesting people in the early 90s and I had to make room for them, as a result some other characters were cut. One character was cut for reasons that I won't go into. A few characters do return, Uncle Ridley is one, but he appears in a very diminished role. My life changed a lot during the time period of this book.

So you wrote this book on the road?

Not really, no. I consider Fort Lauderdale a second home to Georgia. Some of the first drafts were written in Fort Lauderdale, parts of one chapter were written in New Orleans and the rest were written in Georgia. The bulk of the work has taken place at home in Georgia.

Dweller On The Boundary had a number of shocking moments, will this next novel have those too?

Unfortunately, yes. It's strange, at the time I didn't necessarily think of these incidents as that shocking as I was so accustomed to crazy events coming out of nowhere. Now, I look back and think what in the hell? This is so wrong and shouldn't have happened. I never would accept any of that today, but I did then.

What have you learned from writing two books and a third on the way?
Too many unexpected things. One being that people that you never expected to remember you, do remember you and will read you. That has mostly been a good experience. I also learned that I had to be better prepared to protect my privacy in my current life. I love getting email and answering reader questions, but I have to keep a distinct line as to how people can have access to me. I cannot work if people can send me an instant message any second of the day and disrupt my train of thought.

Since this book is set in the 90s, what is your favorite film, book and song of that period?

Film would be Slacker because it captures the feeling of the early 90s that I remembered. The early 90s were the best part of that decade and it became something culturally different by about '97.

I can't pick a favorite song, that's impossible for me. Music means too much to me to be able to narrow it down a single favorite. One of my favorites is Roads, by Portishead. The period that song entered my life in '99 isn't in this book, but it was at a time when I felt powerful and was living completely on my own terms. It might have been the first time I ever felt that way. I was twenty-six dating an industrial designer, hanging out in lofts in Castleberry Hill, having all these adult and arty experiences and dating a guy that wanted me more than I wanted him.

Book would be The Farewell Symphony by Edmund White. He is my favorite gay writer and one of my literary idols.

Who is your favorite character in the next book?

The characters in this book are a bit more challenging than in my first two books because I met and knew them as a young adult versus as a child. I enjoyed writing a couple of characters more than the others perhaps. One is a female character named Sidney. She meant a lot to me in real life and I loved the opportunity to share her.

Are you in contact with Sidney today?

As with many of the characters from Dweller On The Boundary and Terminal Wake, I am not. Many of my characters from all of the books have died. I would love to find Sidney and catch up with her if she is still alive. I have a framed photo from the 90s of us together in my office. It would mean the world to find her.