Can you tell us how you came to write “The Red Light Is Blinking”? Online bullying is a frequent topic of conversation these days. Was it inspired by any particular real-world event?
The story was inspired by a number of things, primarily the fact that it seems every Internet comment section, no matter what the article, observation, video, post, or meme, attracts people who seem dedicated to offending, insulting, or bullying others. How such things sometimes graduate to real-life violence is something that interested me, particularly in light of perennial news stories which detail how young people are often driven to suicide by troll attacks. The power of words, the psychology behind it, and the toll bullying takes is something that doesn’t always seem to be taken very seriously by the authorities. After watching the exceptional documentary Bully, I felt compelled to tackle the subject myself. I’m also a contributor to the filmmakers’ charity, which exists to raise awareness of bullying.
Have you tangled with trolls yourself?
Yes, more often than I like to admit. There is one particular troll, with whom many of my colleagues are no doubt familiar, who seems to have no purpose in life but to threaten, stalk, and harass authors he believes have persecuted him simply by not agreeing to work with him. On the one hand, I feel bad for him as he clearly has some severe mental problems. On the other, his harassment and treatment of people is horrendous. And he never quits.
You’ve got a novel coming out this summer. Care to tell us a bit about it?
This summer should see the release of Night Falls on Memory Lane, the first book in the Cassandra (daughter of Timmy) Quinn series. It begins with an epidemic of amnesia in a small town in Pennsylvania. Cassandra, who has the unique ability to see people’s memories simply by touching them, is drafted in to solve the mystery.
What are you working on these days?
In addition to stories owed to various editors, I’m currently writing an apocalyptic monster novella entitled “The Landlords,” and both a sequel and a prequel to my novel Kin.
What’s your favorite monster in modern media?
I’m not a huge fan of many of the monster tropes, as I feel they’ve pretty much been done to death, but I’m a sucker for Lovecraftian monsters, and the idea that something exists that’s so horrendous and unnatural that simply seeing it is enough to drive you mad.
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