So I was going in with cats and art history on my mind. She took my worst questions well and my best questions grand. I got to learn a lot more about her cats and her approach to writing novels.
Could you talk a little about your cats, especially the invisible one?
I have four, counting the invisible one. I have a Ragdoll named Todd, a Bengal named Roxie, and a black pound kitty named Oscar. My pets always have human names, except the invisible one.
So that’s kind of a silly story. When I was little I had a cat named K.C. (“Kitty Cat”), and over time I started calling him Kaky (Cake-ee) because, ya know, I was a little kid. Anyway. At some point I decided he had multiple personalities—this is when I was a little older—and one of them was a stoner named Baky. Baky ended up manifesting as a fully corporeal entity, and when Kaky was killed by a neighbor’s dog (the reason why all my cats are 100% indoor only now), Baky lived on in his memory.
Baky isn’t imaginary; he’s invisible. It’s his mutation. He’s a stoner, he has a job making pastries at a coffee shop, and he owns a restaurant (Baky D’s Mansion o’ Munchies). His birthday is May 1, the same as Kaky’s, but he also celebrates his “spawn day” on 4/20.
You see why I had no choice but to become a writer? It was either that or major doses of Thorazine.
Let’s talk about the book. What was the moment when you said I have to make this?
I’ve been toying with the ideas for years. I realized I had to make it happen earlier this year—February or so. I had a couple of scenes written, some ideas sketched out, and I just decided I had to write it.
There was a noticeable lack of cats in the book. Why? I mean the book is coated in mythology but not a mention of cat cults or some such?
I honestly hadn’t thought of it. Maybe that’ll make it into the next book! It would suit Alex to have a cat, but she talks so much about not having attachments, and pets are a major attachment. No one has pets in this book, and I think it’s because everyone is so out of place. A pet grounds you, and no one here has a permanent place…even Jason.
As for cat cults, my cats are already demanding enough without reminding them that cats were once worshipped!
If this book were a painting, who would have painted it?
Caravaggio. Or maybe Caravaggio as influenced by Van Gogh, because Caravaggio was a bit too perfectly realistic. I like Van Gogh’s skewed perspective and Caravaggio’s extremes of light and dark.
How different was it writing a book v. writing a play?
I love writing dialogue, so it made a play fairly easy for me. Sometimes I would write scenes in the book basically as all dialogue, and then go back and fill in the descriptive bits over time. That’s the major difference: the audience can’t see where the characters are or what they’re doing, so you need to tell them. Scripts aren’t much fun to read because you really don’t know what’s happening.
Cassius aka Mephistoles aka He Of Many Names was definitely my favorite character. It’s interesting when authors write about matters of light and dark a lot of character is lavished on the dark side. Why do you think that is?
Cassius might be my favorite character, too! I always intended for him to be much nastier than he was, and there are moments when he’s pretty despicable, but overall he’s actually a pretty likable guy. I realized that evil wouldn’t get very far if it was completely repellent, and he had to have a certain charm about him. I think authors like the dark characters because there aren’t any limits. A “good” character acting bad is jarring, but a “bad” character doing something good just shows growth. In the meantime the “bad” character can have all sorts of fun!
Did you really toy with the title before settling on it? Or were there any funny name changes during the project?
Honestly choosing the title was the hardest part. I went through dozens of ideas. People would ask me what the book was called, and I would just shrug. I had no idea. I can’t remember anything particularly silly, but I do remember when I thought of The Dark Man’s Son. I was really unsure about it, partially because it’s such a spoiler, but then I just couldn’t get it out of my head. I knew that’s what the book had to be called.
I see Cormac McCarthy made your list of Goodreads influences. Are we talking post All the Pretty Horses or pre? And what about his style infests itself in yours?
It’s mostly The Road. I’m a big fan of No Country for Old Men, too, but I haven’t read All the Pretty Horses. When I read The Road, my mind was blown. I loved the way he uses fragments in his descriptions—not just because it’s so contrary to every grammar rule I’d ever learned, but because the use of fragments themselves helped to describe the hopeless situation the characters were in. I’ve tried to adapt that to my own writing with mixed success.
What are some of your favorite movies? And do you think they were brought into the writing of this book?
I love Last of the Mohicans, The English Patient, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, Pulp Fiction, and many, many others. There are definitely some influences from movies in there, but I’d say I was more influenced by certain TV shows for this book. Like Angel, Supernatural, and even a little Breaking Bad.
What was an event that made you want to be a writer?
I don’t think there was any one thing. I’ve always loved to write, and as time passed it turned from an idle idea to a “must-do.” I don’t have much choice in the matter, to be honest!
How does writing change your day-to-day life?
It’s pretty much all I do when I’m not at my “day job.” I wake up early to write. I stay up late to write. I don’t speak to my friends or family because I’m writing. It’s not like that all the time, but while I was writing Dark Man I was a woman possessed.
I like that you talk about writing being primarily a matter of discipline. Any terrible moments of despair? Or was there more despair when you weren’t bringing the ideas to life?
Both. 🙂 There was at least one day—and I posted about it on the blog—where I felt like Sisyphus. The book was a boulder I was rolling up a hill, and as soon as I finished one chapter, that damn boulder would roll back down and I’d have to start over. I thought I’d never finish. I actually wrote the book really fast, so I look back on that and laugh, mired as I am now in trying to write the sequel. Writing is not for the faint of heart, whether it’s going well or poorly.
That concludes the interview portion of this post. Now if you are interested in snagging a Smashwords copy of The Dark Man’s Son no matter what country you are from, you just have to know how to play Apples to Apples .
Don’t worry I’ll explain if you don’t. Basically I name an adjective and then in the comments you give a noun that best aligns with it. Now said alignment doesn’t have to be dictionary straight or even make sense. I will select whatever humors me.
The adjective is DARK.
Open internationally, please include your e-mail address in your comment, giveaway closes on August 3rd, 2012 at 11:59 PM EST.
About the Blogger
I review Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance books with a focus all things werewolf. Based out of Ottawa, Canada