For me, 'Lamb' started out as a further exploration of the phenomenon of faith and the responsibility of a messiah that I touched on in 'Coyote Blue' and 'Island of the Sequined Love Nun,' but it ended up being an exploration of the true meaning of sacrifice, loyalty, and friendship.
When you're telling stories, you are actually trying to illuminate some portion of the truth in an artful way. The story may immediately seem to be a lie, but it's like an impressionistic painting - you see the light and the color better than you would with a photo-realistic piece.
Like most people, I woke up one day to find that everyone I knew was taking antidepressants, and since I wasn't, I figured that I must be the cause of their depression.
I really don't think of my work in terms of a genre. I think of it in terms of what I want to say, what I think is cool, and what I'm good at.
When I teach seminars, I tell people, 'Your stuff has to look like something that's out there, because otherwise nobody will take a chance on you.'
When I was writing 'You Suck,' in 2006, I constructed the diction of the book's narrator, perky Goth girl Abby Normal, from what I read on Goth blog sites.
San Francisco is a breathtakingly beautiful city, with lots of great contrasts between dark and light, often overlapping each other. It's a great setting for a horror story.
I've sort of made a reputation by high-stepping my way out of genre. As soon as somebody says, 'He does this,' I'm not standing there anymore.
From Dickens's cockneys to Salinger's phonies, from Kerouac's beatniks to Cheech and Chong's freaks, and on to hip hop's homies, dialect has always been used as a way for generations to distinguish themselves.
As far as visual artists, I find inspiration in Henri Rousseau, who painted amazing, dream-like junglescapes without ever leaving France, and who sort of mixes a primitive view to achieve a glorious effect. I'm also affected by the philosophy of Matisse, particularly later in his life, when he was trying to distill his images to shape and color.
I think beta males on an evolutionary basis are much more successful than the alpha males are. You don't hear much about us, but there's a lot more of us out there.
The fact that 'A Dirty Job' has comedy and supernatural horror in it, that both are woven in and out of it with a whimsical tone, despite the fact that it's about death, makes it hard to characterize with standard genre labels - but I have no problem with that. I'd call it a funny story about death, and leave it at that.
As much as I encourage communication with my readers, I don't want reviews from them, simply because I don't need to be hamstrung in the middle of working on something.
As an author, you spend a lot of time by yourself in a room making clicky noises. It gets pretty insulated. You realize pretty early on in your career that even if this goes well, you could spend all your life in a room alone. Unless you pick projects that are going to get you out doing things, you're not going to actually live your life.
I kind of dislike 'For Whom the Bell Tolls,' but most of Hemingway in general, mainly because his stylistic shenanigans ruined so many young writers of my generation who tried to imitate him. I think, for his time, he moved fiction to a different level stylistically, or at least added to the dialogue, but in our time, he's annoying.
I have that special sort of novelist body of knowledge which is extraordinarily wide and very, very shallow. So I can usually answer the questions on 'Jeopardy,' but never the bonus question.
I just finished a novel called 'Exult,' by Joe Quirk, last night. It's about hang gliding. I liked his first book, too, 'The Ultimate Rush.' I now know that I never, ever, ever want to go hang gliding, so that's good.
I was baptized Methodist, but I was mainly raised First Church of NFL, which is to say that my family, especially my father, was much more concerned with watching football on Sundays than attending services.
One thing that's really delightful is my books tend to attract people who are funny, so I get the benefit of people writing me with things that crack me up.
The only thing that matters to me about my stories is that they're entertaining and they're funny. And I tend to get bored easily, so I generally throw something supernatural in. I would say they're humorous novels that have a supernatural bent, but that's as close as you're going to get to fitting them all in the same basket.