Questions About the Story
Where did the idea come from?
It all started with the character of the Dealer. This eerie image of him standing next to some rickety barn popped into my head, and from there on I had to figure out why he existed. Once I knew why that was, the rest just sort of fell into place.
How did the story change as you developed it?
The story went through three different endings, each one completely unlike the other. Spencer’s outcome was the same, but how he met his fate happened in different ways. In the original ending the Dealer had used the pinch marks on his stomach to “tag” him for death. The remainder of the story remained unchanged.
You know the advice “Sometimes you have to kill your darlings.” Was there a scene or line that it really hurt to cut, but cutting it made the story stronger?
No, anything that was cut only made the story stronger. Killing my darlings allowed “The Dealer’s Hands” to be much more alive.
How is this story like your other work? How is it different?
I write more fantasy (urban, high, and sword & sorcery) than I do horror, so it’s pretty drastic in the amount of gore and creepiness that I produce. I generally have a couple stock characters in my stories, such as the obvious bad guy.
Questions About Writing
How did you celebrate your first sale?
I had trouble sleeping that night from all the excitement if you want to call that celebrating. I went out later for dinner and allowed myself to have a fancy drink. I kept it pretty low-key.
Does your work tend to explore any particular themes?
Not that I know yet. Some might say death, but to me, it’s only a part of my stories and not the central theme.
What people have helped you the most with your writing?
I’m part of Critters and have a couple of first readers that offer wonderful comments on what gets an approving thumb and what doesn’t. But other than that, I’m writing solo. “The Dealer’s Hands” was seen by no one before I submitted it.
Favorite book you’ve read recently?
I recently, as in a few months ago, read The Scar by China Mieville and was completely blown away by it. Simply amazing, and it goes beyond the borders of creativity. I’ve bought his other two books based in the same world, but haven’t had any time to start them yet.
If you have a day job, what is it? What do you like about it?
I’m an assistant editor for a market and research firm in chilly New Jersey. It’s nice because it allows me to write at night and on the weekends, and I’m actually interested in editing copy. It’s fun finding mistakes, circling them, and having them fixed! It’s kind of like doing a word search for misspelled words from eight to five.
I’m a sushi fanatic. California rolls, shrimp tempura, any kind of nigiri or maki. I love it all. If a reality show was ever created on the basis of eating sushi, I’d either be on it or religiously attached to its airings.
What are some of your hobbies?
I enjoy reading lots of science fiction and fantasy novels. I also play guitar in my free time and attempt to record music in my apartment. I watch a decent amount of movies, but generally never get to see the new ones in theaters. Just don’t have the time to see them all.
All-time favourite movie?
I will forever be a fan of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings, and of all three of them, Return of the King is the one I can watch over and over. Extended edition, of course.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
A bestselling author with Tor or DAW. That, or an editor for a publishing house. As long as I’m still involved with the publishing industry I’ll be happy.
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.