Frequently Anticipated Questions

I think it’s a little ambitious to talk about questions I’ve actually been asked. So here are a bunch of questions I think you’ll probably have. Have a question not listed here? Ask it.


Who are you?
How did you get here and not know that? We are off to a terrible start. Okay, see that ‘About’ button at the top? What? No, not the very top. The bit right below the big ‘JPL’. Yes. Click it. You will learn things about me.

Why Jet Propulsion?
My initials are ‘JPL.’ These are also the initials of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab, frequently referred to as ‘JPL.’

Look, it seemed clever at the time. Just go with it.

Will I like your book?
I don’t know. I obviously want you to, but how could I possibly know your personal tastes? No, don’t start listing them, just… tell you what. Remember that whole ‘About’ page from before? There’s another one called ‘New Book.’ There are four whole chapters from my book there, for free, for your enjoyment. If you decide you like it–buy it!

What else is in the pipeline?
Lots. I’m currently writing a story more solidly lodged in that Fantasy genre, and I have a long-standing labor of love and frustration that is considerably more difficult to categorize in a handful of words. I’m also considering a serial novel I can put online here, entirely for free, on a regularly updating basis.

I really have no shortage of ideas or inspiration, I just lack an overabundance of time. But rest assured, more projects are underway.

Why did you write this book?
I like to write stories. I mean, they come to mind anyway, and writing them down lets me keep them! It’s a win-win. A win-win-win if I count you. Lots of winning.

But to be a little more specific, Into That Good Night was a story I did not know I was going to publish until about halfway through when what I wanted to say with it was clear. When that was clear… well, it had to be said.

What influences were there?
Man, these questions are getting deeper. There are a few levels here. The metaphysical rules come from a crude combination of things I’ve picked up over the years from mythologies, theories, other worlds, and so on. Someone else could probably pinpoint specific influences better than I can. A lot of it is based on the strength of emotions, thoughts, belief, and the human mind–which should come as no surprise if you’ve read the book.

The physical world is simpler. I was born and raised in the D.C. Metropolitan Area, so it made sense to set the story there. The places that appear in the book are based on places I have been to and seen firsthand (if they are not in fact the actual places). I wanted a story that showed off some of my home turf, and in doing so, I got to dig deeper into said turf than I had previously. It is shockingly easy to overlook things about one’s own home.

And the characters. I never base characters on any specific people I know, but I inevitably draw pieces from everybody I know. I am in love with dialogue, both real and imagined. My interactions feed my characters.

So I guess I’m influenced by damn near everything, but that’s a horrible answer, so think on this: Into That Good Night is about death, and about not being quite dead yet. That is the core issue being addressed.

Who else do you read?
Oh, thank god, we’re back to the easy questions. I have read and enjoyed (in no particular order): Joe Hill, Neil Gaiman, H.P. Lovecraft, Robert W. Chambers, Jim Butcher, Stephen King, Patricia Briggs, Jonathan L. Howard, Kat Richardson, Bill Willingham, Brian K. Vaughan, Mike Carey, Richard Kadrey, George R. R. Martin, Isaac Asimov, Larry Niven, Margaret Weis, Tracy Hickman, Mercedes Lackey, the Pinis, The Oatmeal, Piers Anthony, Bryan Lee O’Malley, Jules Verne, Mary Shelley, Robert Heinlein, L.E. Modesitt–

Whoa. That is a lot of names. And a lot of genres.
Well, you asked. There are also a lot of things I have read and did not like, but that’s rude to mention.

What do you sound like?
What? How did this question sneak in here? I… I don’t know. I sound like me. Ask my wife.

When is the audiobook coming?
Do people want an audiobook? I haven’t looked into what’s involved, but if there’s a market for it, I’m happy to oblige.

I have seen you in costume in Maryland, is this you?
You ask that question like you already know, so… Yes. I do some reenactments, and have appeared at the Maryland Renaissance Festival. I wear very awesome and flamboyant 16th century clothes. Feel free to say hi, but don’t ask me to sign anything unless you have a pen on you, because I won’t.

Wow, that’s a pretty impressive Mass Effect 3 Multiplayer Manifest!
Okay, there’s no way you could know this, but my pseudo question-asker clearly wanted you to know that I am a shameless, shameless video gamer. I have a soft spot for RPGs.

(And yes, my manifest is pretty awesome. If you know what I mean. And I think that you do not.)

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