With less than a week to go until the debut of Walkaway, my next novel for adults, Portland’s Powell’s Bookstore has run a long Q&A with me about the book, my writing habits, my favorite reads, and many other subjects.
I’ll be at Powell’s on May 14 with Andy “Waxy” Baio as interlocutor — it’s one of 20+ cities I’m visiting on the US/Canada tour (the UK tour schedule is coming shortly!).
Besides your personal library, do you have any beloved collections?
A shocking number of them. I collect all my conference badges in a huge, sagging garland that threatens to pull my bookcase out of the wall; I collect neolithic stone axe-heads; I collect human knucklebones from dismembered Victorian articulated anatomical skeletons; I collect 1970s/’80s merchandise from Disney’s Haunted Mansions; I collect (and wear) vintage striped pajamas; I collect tiny service lapel-pins from engineering institutions, fraternal orders, etc; I collect stickers and cover everything I value in multiple layers of them; I collect vintage mechanical watches, skull rings, and fidget toys; I collect swizzle sticks, bourbon and fine bar glassware; I collect interesting tiki vases; and many, many other things.
What’s the strangest or most interesting job you’ve ever had?
I was the night watchman at a pizza parlor/petting zoo in Baja Sur, Mexico; I slept on a mattress on the floor of the pizzeria while the zoo animals wandered in and out. The building had previously been a brothel and sometimes drunks would show up in the middle of the night and I’d have to explain the change of use to them.
What scares you the most as a writer?
Being forgotten by history.
If someone were to write your biography, what would be the title and subtitle?
Privilege: Another White Guy Who Wrote Some Books.