How did “His Guns Could Not Protect Him” originate? What inspirations did you draw on?
This really happened to me! But without the monsters. When I was ten my father got in a bad motorcycle accident, and my mom had to rush up to Albany Medical and left us in the care of family friends who were significantly wealthier than us. It was terrifying (and fascinating), and the scars on my psyche festered into this story after about thirty-plus years.
What led you into writing genre fiction?
This is just how the world feels to me. Reality is a nightmare full of terrifying monsters, and we’re all lost scared children in a cold and irrational void, so . . . of course horror is the way to go! But also, life is magic, so sometimes fantasy is where I end up. And also, humanity is capable of great technological and scientific progress, but also unspeakable atrocity, so at times my stories land firmly in science fiction.
Is there anything you want to make sure readers noticed?
Just that Rem and his brother Win are both named for guns—Winchester and Remington, and those are their dad’s tattoos.
What are you reading lately? What writers inspire you?
So much great queer horror! David Demchuk’s Red X, Lee Mandelo’s Summer Sons, Micah Nemerever’s These Violent Delights (which is more thriller than horror, but I never did have much use for genre boundaries). I firmly believe that the future of horror is trans—read Hailey Piper’s Queen of Teeth and Andrew Joseph White’s Hell Followed With Us to see what I mean.
What are you working on lately?
A video game!! A while back, I was struggling with a story that demanded to be written, but it wasn’t a short story, and it wasn’t a novel, or anything in between . . . and then I realized it was rooted in my everlasting love for old-school 2D RPGs on the Nintendo Entertainment System and the Game Boy!
So I started out making a video game with no idea how difficult it would be, or that I’d need to basically teach myself programming to do it right. And I am very bad at programming. But two years later, I’ve almost got a playable demo version of Smokefall ready, and I’m thinking of doing a crowdfunding campaign to see if there’s enough interest to finance a proper full version. It’s about a boy whose boyfriend vanishes, so he has to follow him into the endless night city of Smokefall, which he thought existed only in his boyfriend’s imagination, and battle corrupt cops and an evil corporation and monsters spawned from his own trauma and his boyfriend’s. And make difficult decisions that will change the city around him. It’s a twisty story-heavy noir maze that attempts to recapture the emotional heft of the first video games that made me cry (like the brilliant Final Fantasy Adventure on OG Game Boy).
Here’s a screencap so you can get a sense of the vibe!
Spread the word!