Sunday, November 13, 2011

From the Mailbag

I learned a long time ago not to publish email addresses on web pages because there are nasty spammers out there who use things called "scrappers" to collect email addresses off sites to add to their mailing lists. Yet, my clever readers have figured out they can email me through the Amber Book Company website. (Hmm, since the email link is listed in every book and ebook, maybe they're not that clever, after all). Nonetheless, on occasion I receive emailed questions that I feel deserve a wider audience, so from time-to-time I'll peruse the mail sack and post a few here.

Q: I read your posts on Dark Shadows and I was a fan of the series too. Would you ever consider writing a Dark Shadows story or book?

A: I might consider it but it will never happen. Dark Shadows is a licensed property and legally I can't market a Dark Shadows story or book without authorization of the rights holder. I don't write "fan fiction", although I did come up with a premise for a Dark Shadows tale but that's as far as I can go.

I enjoy creating my own characters and universe and working with them, so I hope to create a generation of ardent "Halos & Horns" fans who are as enthusiastic about my fantasy series as I was about Dark Shadows.

Q: Are you an ax-murderer? You must be a depraved person to have created a character like Nathaniel Thornhill in "Paved With Good Intentions".

A: Readers must learn to distinguish an author from his characters. It's fiction; they aren't real people. A fictional character is not a portrayal of the author. If I write about a cannibal, it does not mean I am writing from personal experience of dining on passersby. If I write about a rapist, or a sadist, or a murderer, it does not mean I am one. I do a great deal of research to make my characters appear realistic, but they are not real and they are not self-portraits. It reminds me of soap opera actors who complain fans would accost them at restaurants and lambast them with a harangue about "their" despicable behavior toward another character on the show, not realizing the TV show was make-believe and its characters actors.

Having said that, I do believe Nathaniel Thornhill is the most evil character I've written; and that's saying a lot, considering he is a mortal who appears in a book filled with vampires and demons from Hell. Most of my villains have some redeeming quality that humanizes them, but Thornhill was pure evil.

Q: Do you worry about offending readers?

A: No. I don't set out to offend anyone, but everyone has some topic or concept they find offensive. If a writer censors himself in a futile effort to be nonoffensive, he will produce only pablum.

Pablum is defined as "worthless or oversimplified ideas" and "a soft form of cereal for infants". I write for grownups.


Keep sending those emails! I'll need more material for another blog soon.

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