Questions About the Story
Where did the idea come from?
I thought back to the street where I grew up. I used to have one neighbor that was completely obsessed with his lawn. Every day he’d be out there watering, clipping, and cutting it to perfection. I was too young to care. Actually, now that I’m older, I still don’t care. But I knew other neighbors did and thought I’d take their jealousy to the extreme.
How did the story change as you developed it?
Not one bit. I wrote it from start to end in one sitting.
How is this story like your other work? How is it different?
Well, it’s like my work in the fact that the main character ultimately meets his demise in a sickly fashion. It’s different in that I don’t write a lot of stories in present tense. [Editorial note: We actually asked Paul to recast this in present tense. Usually we’re very skeptical about present tense – but it just seemed right for this piece. ]
Questions About Writing
Who do you write for? Yourself or someone else?
I only write for myself.
What writing projects are you presently working on?
I have several short stories in progress and have been toying with a novel outline and some early chapters. The novel, so far, is of epic fantasy fare, with goblins as slaves and humans as the slave drivers. A revolt is in the process.
What time of day do you prefer to do your writing?
I do most of my writing at night, but every now and then I find that the quiet hours of morning along with a cup of tea can work wonders on my muse.
Favorite book read when you were a child?
That’d be a tie between “The Hobbit” by J.R.R. Tolkien and “The BFG” by Roald Dahl. Both really showed me how to use my imagination.
If you could trade places with anyone, who would it be? And why?
Are we talking physically or mentally trading places? It’s an important difference. I’d love to trade physical places with my sister in Arizona and experience life on the other side of the United States of America. Mentally, I wouldn’t mind swapping minds with China Mieville for a bit, see what makes him tick and tock.
Watch much TV? If so, what shows do you watch?
I watch very little television, but lately I’ve been obsessing over LOST, Battlestar Galactica, and Dr. Who. My guilty pleasure shows would be any reality TV cooking debacle and anything on Animal Planet.
I really like the Olive Garden, especially for their breadsticks.
Cat or dog person? (or something else, like birds, iguanas, or even evil robot monkeys?)
I’m a cat person. I used to have one while in college, but it turned out it was a dog inside of a cat suit (don’t ask) and I couldn’t handle him anymore. I do see several terriers in my future though.
If you had a working time machine what advice would you give a younger self?
Just because you think everything you’ve written is horrible doesn’t mean others will. You have to submit to be rejected, otherwise you’ll never get accepted.
Quiz: How many writers does it take to change a light bulb? Please explain your answer:
Two: one to write how it is done, and the other to critique his work.