Do you only write serial fiction?
No. For years, the only writing I did was novel-length. I have one novel in development, City of Magi, that is currently being edited in pre-submission. I began working on TWDY and Joyriders as something of a break, and from there it took off. I’m looking forward to getting back to City of Magi to finalize it for submission, but I’m also having fun putting out issues of my serial work in the meantime.
Do your worlds intersect?
No. I have no plans for Lear Tanner to ever meet Grayson Kearney or Malloy Armitage. I often say that my serials are “like comic books without comics,” but that similie does not extend to the concept of crossovers. Well, maybe if Batman wanted to make an appearance… but only if DC asked me nicely.
Why serial fiction?
I don’t have a definitive reason – it just felt like a fun thing to do. Episodic fiction isn’t big in the epublishing market (or the traditional publishing market). The fun thing about epublishing is that it doesn’t cost much to do, and if you’re comfortable playing around with software you can format your own stuff. It is decidedly different than writing in long form, just as it is different from writing self-contained short stories.
The biggest difference is that I publish well before I know how the story ends. I have major plot events planned out three or four issues ahead of what is written, but the rapid-fire nature of serial fiction (and fan feedback) can change the rules of the game as you’re going. I’ve never actually written for a comic book, but I imagine that they face similar pressures and issues. We’ll see if I succumb to that format’s greatest temptation – bringing characters back from the dead. God help me if I do.
Do you plan to epublish City of Magi?
No. City of Magi is one I’ve been working on for years with the intention of publishing it the old-fashioned way. I’ve got a long way to go before I can see it on the shelf of my neighborhood Barnes & Noble, and that has always been my dream. There are tons of advantages and disadvantages to epublishing, but what this really comes down to is the fact that I want to see my name on a shelf.
Of course, when I do get a publisher for City, you can buy it from your online bookstore of choice. I’ll just make less money off it than I would have on my own.
Is your work youth-friendly?
Yes and no. I don’t write YA, but neither do I go out of my way to make my material “adult.” City of Magi, Those Who Die Young, and Joyriders are all stories of life and death involving some characters that are highly familiar and pleasant, and some characters that are awful, horrible people. When a murderer leaps out of an alley at someone, I have a hard time believing that he watches his language. Similarly, ordinary people sitting at lunch don’t typically use streams of expletives.
I avoid using pseudo-curses, like “frak” in Battlestar Galactica. They had to do it because of the rules of TV, so I forgive them. I’m under no such restrictions, so I avoid putting words that pull the reader out of the story. Cursing tends to be the least conscious part of language; we use bad language instinctively at moments of well-defined emotion. Because of this, substituting fake language in moments where people are at their most natural feels more awkward than using fake language at almost any other time.
If I see a woman confronting the young tart who stole her husband say “You bork!” I’m immediately out. The word is “bitch,” plain and simple. Outside the world of hip hop, however, people don’t use the word “bitch” frequently, and since I have yet to write a story starring a hip hop artist, my characters don’t use it frequently either.
As to the other “mature” type of material – sex (and why isn’t violence mature?), I don’t use it often. So far, nobody has gotten laid in TWDY. Two characters have sex in Joyriders. It takes a while, but the main character gets laid in City of Magi also. Sex scenes are rare but do exist in my works; I don’t avoid them, but I don’t seek them out. If there’s a point, it’s in there. I don’t lovingly describe the shape of any particular body parts; it’s a book, not a movie. Visuals are less important than thoughts and emotions during these interludes.