Can you tell us about the history of “Anthony’s Vampire?”
“Anthony’s Vampire” was originally written for a game of “three beers and a story,” where everyone sits around with, yes, three beers, and writes a story on a randomly selected topic or incorporating a randomly selected element. It’s a fun game, although the spelling gets sort of terrible by the end.
You mentioned in your blog recently that your new novel Every Heart a Doorway (congratulations!) is “about teenagers and trauma and magical doors and the things we are and the things our parents want us to be, and the things that we become.” In a way, “Anthony’s Vampire” also features many of those elements, including windows and doors that offer the opportunity for a magical encounter; what fascinates you about borders and portals?
I love liminal spaces! Anything can happen when you’re transitioning from one thing into something else.
Anthony goes through his life with ample opportunities to take a risk and doesn’t, but along the way he changes from an innocent kid who believes in magic to a disillusioned old man, and the downhill slide starts when he gives up his belief in magic. Why is belief in magic so vital?
It’s not so much believing in magic as believing in hope. Give up on hope and you’re done. It was in Pandora’s box for a reason, and while it can doom us, it’s also the only thing that ever sets us free.
In another interview, you mentioned the idea of isolation and being alone in a crowd; Anthony certainly feels that way, and even says at one point that no one knows how to talk to him, yet he rejects the one person willing to truly share a life with him. Why do you think people are both desperate to find someone who understands, yet terrified to accept that understanding once it’s there?
We all want to be special. We all want to be unique. Someone really understanding what we’ve been through can reduce that. I think we resist the idea that any of our experiences can be truly shared.
Apparently, you can be bribed with baked goods. Do you have a particular favorite?
Good, soft, chewy snickerdoodles will get you almost anything you want.
Writers know that cats often have strong opinions about what their human should be doing. What’s the worst thing Alice and/or Thomas have done to get your attention?
Thomas steals my bras. He’ll hide them all over the house, and then he’ll purr, because he knows I can’t leave the house. Thomas is pretty much an asshole.
Any other exciting writing news you’d like to tell us about?
Oh, gosh, I’m sure there is, but I’m coordinating a move from California to Washington right now, and that’s eaten my entire brain. I have a Patreon: that’s exciting. I’m running it for a year, to pay moving costs. Fun for the whole family!
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