FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

 

It’s Lebanese, and it’s pronounced like “Hey, you.”
That’s Maggie, who’s not as sane as she looks.
I wouldn’t have spent several years working on Shadow Menagerie if I didn’t think it was good enough. Nor would I have taken the time and effort to self-publish it if I didn’t wholeheartedly believe in it. I’m well aware of the stigma that self-published books carry in many readers’ minds. I’m okay with losing those readers if I can’t win them over.
I’m a perfectionist who works slowly. (I also have a full-time day job I can’t afford to quit. And I do my own dishes, laundry, grocery shopping, yardwork, and housework. And I have a family and friends and life outside of writing. And I’m as prone to watching TV, playing video games, and wasting time online as anyone. Sometimes I’ll even read a book.) However, I will try to work faster. I swear I will.
“I don’t know” is the only honest answer. It’ll be done when it’s done, and I’ll be sure to crow about it on this site before crowing about it anywhere else.

It’s very basic, and there’s nothing mysterious or romantic about it:

a. Set aside time to write apart from the errands and obligations that consume the day.
b. Write until I’ve completed a first draft, grudgingly accepting that it sucks.
c. Revise and rewrite that draft until I know it’s the best I can do.
d. Set that polished draft aside for a few weeks (or months), revisit it, and marvel at how much better it could be.
e. Repeat c. and d. until I finally admit that I’ll never do any better, which usually takes a few years.

No. I’m no guide through the world of traditional publishing. The conventional wisdom says you must have an agent in order to work with a major publisher. I published my first book with a major publisher and without an agent. That book was not a hit, and so my second book ended up right back on the slush pile until I self-published it.

In fact, perhaps you can help me, dear reader. If you know of any agents looking for a non-prolific pornographer of violence who writes unpopular books, be sure to send them my way. Thanks.

This might be the most popular question in this FAQ, and yet it’s the most baffling to me. I don’t see the need to explain Mercy’s ending because I think it’s already clear. I don’t know why it’s unclear and/or infuriating for some readers. I should also mention that nobody at St. Martin’s pressured me to write an ambiguous ending to leave the door open for a sequel. I came up with the ending myself, didn’t think it was overly ambiguous, and never intended to write a series.
No. I never wanted to write one, and the public hasn’t exactly clamored for one.
Oh, but I do. If you can’t see the hilarity and ebullient joy in my fiction, you’re reading it all wrong. Also, life is meaningless, there is no God, and you’re going to die one day. As will I, as will everyone. For many of us, it will be excruciatingly painful. Try not to think about that as much as I do.