you really coach women’s volleyball at one point?
Yes, which means I’m used to being the shortest person in the
makes you qualified to write about things like cops, furries, gay activists,
BASE jumpers, or Hollywood actors?
I think the old saying “write what you know” is a pile of
crap. Between the Internet, e-mail, and telephone, anybody can write
about anything if you’ve got enough curiosity and willingness
to pick up dinner tabs. For ‘Katz Cradle’, I interviewed
over 50 people who were to a man (or woman or wolf) incredibly generous
with their time and helped guide the story.
the references to X-Men & Spider Man comic books?
That, I’m afraid, required very little research. Anybody want
to buy 500 comics from the early ‘80s? They’re in my garage
and still in plastic…
you related to that old Raiders quarterback?
No, that was Jeff Hostetler. And as a lifelong Chargers fan, I cringe
at the implication.
Does ‘Katz Cradle’ share any similarities to Kurt Vonnegut’s ‘Cat’s Cradle’?
No, although I was once tempted to name a character ‘Newt Hoenikker.’ Also, like Vonnegut, I’m a big fan of ending my sentences with a period.
did you come up with the idea for ‘Katz Cradle’?
Back in college, it struck me that you’ve seen every variation
of the buddy cop formula – white cop/black convict (48 Hours),
white cop/Russian cop (Red Heat), whitecop/drug-sniffing dog (K-9) – but nobody had introduced homosexuality
into the mix. That idea percolated for a decade, and after finishing
my first novel “Camille Spa,” I decided to pursue it.
As a straight dude, it seemed like a huge challenge, and I feel you
do your best work when scared to fail. In many ways, sexual preference
is the final taboo – now that it’s no longer cool to discriminate
against religion, race, and gender. During my initial research, I came
across authors like Michael Nava and Richard Stevenson, who wrote mysteries
written specifically for a gay audience – but you’ll find
remarkably few mainstream novels with strong, gay protagonists. Jonathan Kellerman, Suzanne Brockmann, Tami Hoag, and Joe Lansdale are four who deserve
kudos for breaking into this territory.
What was your first novel “Camille
“Camille Spa” was written between 1993-1999, and centers
around a small group of wealthy travelers paying $150,000/day for the
ultimate Caribbean vacation. Once they arrive, the guests find unexpected
hardships and a spa director who may or may not have taken hospitality
lessons from Idi Amin. Unfortunately, shows like ‘Survivor’
and ‘Lost’ eventually came along and mined this territory
to depletion. But if you’d like to read this proverbial ‘first
novel’, you can find it here.
Why so long between books?
You try working a full-time job and writing a novel in your free time,
DOOR a real organization?
DOOR is a figment of my imagination, but based on real activist groups
like ACT UP and Queer Nation. Former members of both organizations –
including Michelangelo Signorile, Gabriel Rotello, Michael Petrelis,
Greg Scott, and Jay Blotcher – helped make sure I didn’t
totally mangle the details.
character in ‘Katz Cradle’ are you more like in real life?
Personally, I share more qualities with Z. Katz. However, I’m
not as much of a thrill-seeker, and at some point, learned the value
of a mental edit button. Also, unlike Katz, I love shopping for Kenneth
Cole shoes and have been known to get teary during Les Miserables.
you think Tom Cruise is gay?
No idea… ask Xenu.
are your biggest influences?
Nobody does better dialogue than Gregory McDonald. I also like how Carl
Hiassen’s subversively packages his message with entertaining
characters. Robert Crais’ “LA Requiem” influenced
my shifting, multiple perspectives. And I still think Michael Connelly’s
“The Poet” is the tightest procedural ever.
Book #2 in the Zero Katz saga, titled “Fly Out.” It will
be a bit of a departure from “Katz Cradle” in that the central
theme will be baseball. However, at least one character from DOOR will
be coming back.