1. When did you become interested in writing fiction, and what do you enjoy most about it?
I started very young. I wrote my first novella at age 12 and short stories even earlier. I enjoy being able to build a world of my own, but yet one I can share with others. I love being able to fix on the page, problems that are intractable in real life. I also love immersing myself the pure romance of heroic relationships.
2. What gave you the idea for Dark Awakening?
I've had a thing for vampires ever since I saw Frank Langella's Dracula. I have two sons with autism, so writing about an autistic vampire came naturally.
3. Would you tell us a little more about the main character of Dark Awakening and how he is similar to and different from other vampire characters readers might be familiar with?
The main character in Dark Awakening is Grayson Miller PhD. He has autism. His sensory symptoms and communication problems are lessened by becoming a vampire, but he still retains social awkwardness and a very strong sense of right and wrong. He refuses to kill, and works out a way so there is no need for him or other vampires to do so. There is also a scientific basis rather than a supernatural one for his vampirism. He doesn't turn into a bat or hypnotize people. He just needs blood, heals quickly, and can be burned or killed by the sun. Becoming a vampire allows him to find love in scientist Tina Chow, but he also discovers great danger to himself and Tina. They work together to develop a way to fight ancient evil vampires so their love can survive.
4. What are the unique challenges--and pleasures--or writing fiction and nonfiction?
One challenge that writing fiction and nonfiction share is just the act of sitting down to do it. In either case, there is also quite a bit of research involved. I try to be as accurate as possible in terms of both settings and whatever science I use. I have to decide when to use whatever is out there or when it is appropriate to just make something up. A shared pleasure of both kinds of writing is in the act of creation, producing something unique. I also enjoy helping people understand and cope with the challenges of autism, and that is the focus of much of my work.
5. How do you find the time to write (not to mention to edit your work and collaborate with publishers!)?
I've always made a point of fitting writing into the interstices of my day. When I set up an experiment to run, or let materials mix, I write. These days, I work only with non-toxic, edible materials, so I can do almost anything from home. I've also turned over my latest technology to larger entities who can take care of much of the grunt work. I am very disciplined in terms of setting aside time for writing, allocating specific parts of the day to specific projects. I also have daily goals for writing and/or editing, and I don't go to sleep until they are met. Fortunately, I don't seem to require a great deal of sleep.