Q: What made you start writing?
A: I got the urge to write as soon as I learned to read, but I was in college before I wrote a story I liked. My attempts before that ended with frustration, pencil-smears, opening lines too dumb to write past. What broke me through was discovering Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar”. The story started in clinical detachment and ended in one of the most disturbing gore scenes I’d ever read—exactly the sort of scene my teachers had told me to quit writing. It wasn’t the gore itself that impressed me. It was how much Poe made it mean, how powerful it felt, how seamlessly he led me through reasonable-seeming steps to a monstrous conclusion. He became my model.