Why do you write horror as well as more conventional thrillers?
Conventional wisdom says you should write what you know. I disagree with that. I believe you should write what you love
and for me that means horror and thrillers in equal measure. Stephen King likes to say he writes "suspense," rather than "horror," and if that's good enough for the guy who's perhaps the most accomplished writer of our time, it's good enough for me.
How long did it take to write your first book?
I've never really finished. I'm a compulsive reviser, which means I have to stop myself from continually going back and re-examining my manuscripts. It takes somewhere between two and three months to complete a first draft, but then comes revising, editing, etc, which can take at least as much time, if not more. The entire publishing process is a long, slow one, much more so than I ever realized until I started writing.
When did you know you wanted to write novels?
For as long as I can remember, I've been fascinated by people who had the incredible ability to string words together in ways that keep us spellbound. From the time I discovered the Hardy Boys and Sherlock Holmes when I was maybe eight years old, and then Stephen King roughly ten years later, I've known I wanted to write.
What is the single most important trait for a writer to possess?
Perseverance. The barriers to success as an author are many, and they often seem overwhelming. Rejection is an almost constant companion, and you have to possess an unshakeable belief in yourself to continue submitting work against very long odds. But writers write. It's what we do. We can't help it.
Which do you prefer writing, short stories or novels?
I love them both. There is nothing that can compete with the sense of accomplishment that comes with typing THE END after 90,000 words of suspense, but the process of writing an entire novel is time-consuming and draining. A short story can be completed in a matter of days or weeks, but presents difficulties of its own. It's not easy creating characters a reader can care about and putting them into situations that require resolution, preferably with a twist or a surprise, and doing it all in a few thousand words!