What’s the story behind the story? What inspired you to write The Silver Stranger?
I reread the first appearance of Spider-Man from 1962 and noticed how it reads almost like a supervillain origin story until the twist at the end. That got me thinking about how some superheroes are not inevitable—once they gain their powers, they could easily go either way.
Everyone has the potential for both good and evil within. It’s easy to point the finger at other people when they do wrong. But confronting our own potential to do wrong seems much more difficult and therefore, much more interesting in a story. And it’s a more interesting way to explore what superheroes are all about.
If you had to pick theme songs for the main characters of The Silver Stranger, what would they be?
The title character’s theme song would be almost too obvious: “The Stranger” by Billy Joel.
What’s your favorite genre to read? Is it the same as your favorite genre to write?
I enjoy many genres, pretty much anything other than pure romance or gory horror. But I frequently keep returning to historical nonfiction and biographies. History is important for everyone, and writers in particular can learn a lot about characterization and human nature by studying what people have done throughout history.
What books are on your TBR pile right now?
I’m currently reading “The Romanov Sisters” by Helen Rappaport (nonfiction). I just picked up “I Am Legend” by Richard Matheson, which I’ve been looking forward to after having read some of his novels and short stories last year. I also grabbed a couple of Doctor Who novels just for fun, and for a more serious read, Fyodor Dostoevsky’s “The Idiot.” And I’d like to reread some of the history books I’ve read in recent years to help bolster my retention.
What scene in your book was your favorite to write?
I was a theatre major in college and did a lot of playwriting. One scene toward the end of this book wound up feeling like the best of both worlds in terms of playwriting and novel writing. It’s too late in the story for me to go into much detail here, but it’s a tense conversation over brunch in which some things that have been simmering below the surface finally boil over, with telepathy adding an extra dimension to everything.
Grounded scenes like this can help balance out other scenes where I, for example, send a couple of characters plunging into an upside-down world, dominated by talking monkeys (which was also fun to write).
Do you have any quirky writing habits? (lucky mugs, cats on laps, etc.)
I’ve flip-flopped quite a bit on being a morning writer and an evening writer as I’ve tried to figure out what my optimal writing time is. There is no perfect time, and yet I keep trying to find one.
Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?
“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” The internet attributes this quote to Aristotle. I don’t know whether that’s accurate. Either way, the sentiment is correct, and being able to get into the heads of people who think differently is important for any writer (and everyone else, for that matter).
If you could choose one thing for readers to remember after reading your book, what would it be?
Hopefully that they had a great time reading it.
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