Every now and then, some of you out there like to make use of the “Contact” link on my website–and I’ve gotta say that sometimes you folks ask some pretty interesting questions. I do try to answer personally as time permits, but sometimes questions are so relevant to today’s culture that I like to address them publicly. And hell, sometimes what I receive is off-the-wall enough that I figured it’d be fun to share. The following is a collection of both and in no particular order. I’ve reworded these for the sake of clarity and flow, but for the most part they’re true to spirit.
Who the hell are you?
You tell me! You did, after all, use the contact link on my website in order to ask me this. Does this help?
What are you working on now?
I’m not exactly sure, myself! The novel I’m currently writing didn’t begin with a pre-defined storyline, so I’m letting the story take me wherever it wants to go. All I can say is that I’m enjoying the ride, and once it’s finished it’s my hope that you will, too. Which leads me to…
When is your next book coming out?
Well, you see, it’s not my call to make at this point. It’s up to the book! It’s still insisting that it has more to say, so I’m inclined to keep the cameras rolling to see what it comes up with. Then comes a second draft, retooling, another draft, retooling, a final draft, proof reading, editing, cover design, blah blah blah… it’s coming–but it’s going to be awhile yet. If it’s any consolation, based on what I’ve got here so far it’s going to be well worth the wait!
What are you reading now?
My time for reading is always quite limited when I’m concurrently writing, but my daughter graced me with Stephen King’s If It Bleeds on Father’s Day. I’m looking forward to cracking into it this weekend.
What’s your take on JK Rowling’s statements about trans women?
What I think is that Ms. Rowling is entitled to have an opinion, just as her audience is entitled to either agree or disagree. I’m not a big fan of “cancel culture,” nor am I a fan of hero worship. As with most of my views, you’re going to find me somewhere in the middle. Here’s the scoop, troops: if you follow anyone around long enough, you’re going to find something he/she says/does which you’ll disagree with. You’re going to have to figure out how to deal with that.
To show you how I deal with things like this, let me give you a personal example by way of a different artist who is in a different field. I find certain statements which have been made by actor/director Mel Gibson to be absolutely abhorrent. That in no way means that I don’t enjoy movies in which he has involvement. If it interests me, I’ll see it. Sometimes I’ll like it, sometimes I won’t–but it’s always judged by the material itself, not by my opinion on… well, Mel’s opinions. And so I choose to disagree with him while not letting that disagreement suck away a source of entertainment from my life. I understand that some of Ms. Rowling’s fans are now boycotting her over her statements. Why? She’s likely still the same person she was when she wrote the books which drew them to her in the first place, and they loved her for it. I’d focus on the books, myself.
Which brings me to the idea of hero worship. We all look up to someone. Whether that someone is a parent, a sports figure, an actor, a writer–whatever makes your duck go “quack.” The thing is, our heroes within this context are human beings, not Gods–and every last one of us is flawed. We either grow and evolve, or we crumble away. Most of us do a little of both. Maybe the best approach is to embrace the things they do which builds (or adds to) you, and walk away from the rest. Think of it as a buffet.
Otherwise you will eventual wind up feeling betrayed. Yes, you will. In Ms. Rowling’s case, I think that’s what happened here.
Do you wear a face mask in public?
I’m a firm believer in taking medical advice from medical professionals rather than from politicians. So in answer to your question, yes I do–and so should you. Let’s all do our part to put a handle on this pandemic. I’ve been meaning to blog about this, and maybe soon I’ll get around to it.
You mentioned before that you’re a fan of Game of Thrones. What did you think of Season Eight?
I enjoyed it! I know there’s been some soreness from fans about how it ended, so I understand the implication of this question. But with seven seasons’ worth of character development, I can’t agree that it was rushed. I didn’t see anything about Thrones’ conclusion that wasn’t foreshadowed or built toward. Clearly there’s a lot of people who will disagree with me, and that’s certainly their right. I walked away satisfied, you asked me, so that’s how I’m going to answer. Will George R. R. Martin end his series the same way? Ah, time will tell.
Thanks for your questions, comments, critiques, observations, and just plain reaching out to let me know you’re there in the first place! It’s always nice to hear from you, and I’m sure we’ll do this again soon.