Lurk began as a short novella titled “The Pictures Under Sunny Hill,” about a depressed college student who finds a box of Polaroids buried under his house that change to let him spy on his friends. I realized as I was writing that the story worked better as a novel, so I used the old name for Part One, and started calling my early drafts of the full-length story Lurk. I liked it, so it stuck. At one point an agent tried to get me to change the name to The Lurker… I didn’t end up working with her.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
My fiction tends to be about fringe characters, because they interest me. Lurk is a study of madness told from the point of view of an unreliable (and sometimes unlikable) narrator; you are seeing his psychological downward spiral through his own eyes. I knew when I was writing certain scenes that they would make many readers uncomfortable. That was deliberate. This book is an examination of a type of mentality that I see becoming exceedingly common in the age of internet and social media oversaturation, which can lead to us having unhealthy ideas about the lives of others. My primary goal in this story is to scare and entertain, but I also wanted to say something about one of the more dangerous pitfalls of modern life.
What books have most influenced your life?
My top three are The Shining, Blood Meridian, and Book of the New Sun.
Quick update to let you all know that LURK is out on audiobook, exclusively for Audible! I’ve been an Audible fanboy for years, probably since within about a month of when they launched, so this is pretty exciting for me personally. The audiobook is read by the incredible Kevin Meyer.
I usually yawn at these bullshit holier-than-thou types of rants about this that or the other thing, but this was very funny to me, so here we go. I don’t have a car (by choice) and usually take the bus to work. I haven’t owned a car since I moved to Europe in 2013. I moved to LA earlier this year, but despite the ease of travel a car provides, decided to stick with the challenging, weird lifestyle of being car-less for a few reasons. I used to have a nice car, an Audi A6 that was luxurious and fun to drive, and you know what? I never saved any money, because maintaining that thing was more expensive than a small country, and I always got parking tickets. Besides, the Northern Californian in me doesn’t like smog and if I can do my tiny little part to make sure my kids and their kids grow up in a world with redwood trees instead of a scorched post-apocalyptic wasteland, that’s cool, too.
Practically, public transportation is better for cities than massive loads of commuters all driving their own vehicles, anyway, so why not use it? It reduces traffic on the roads, lowers pollution, and if buses and trains are consistently full it gives the city a reason to build and run more of them. And personally, I think riding public transportation at least for a work commute is simply a lot less boring. If you’re going to spend a huge chunk of your day sitting around waiting, would you rather do it in your own vehicle where you have to drive a few feet every five or ten minutes, or someone else’s, where your hands and eyes are free to read a book, play Super Mario Run, or look at dank memes?
So I was walking to my bus stop today and there was gridlocked traffic all up and down Sepulveda Blvd as far as the eye could see. My bus was five cars past the stop and not moving. So I said frog it I’m walking to the next stop. Four stops/two miles later, the bus is still behind me and I’m listening to the Devil Makes Three bobbing along the sidewalk with my coffee and a smug smirk on my face while a bunch of pissed-off ladies give me dirty looks from their BMWs, some of which are plastered with Democrat or pro-environment bumper stickers. Some of whom are angrily scrolling on their cell phones probably blasting some friend or family member on social media for having the wrong opinions. Some of whom are at that very moment writing Facebook essays about how the Republicans are going to ruin the planet.
Turns out the traffic was unusually bad this morning due to a messed up traffic light, which is why I was able to walk farther in an hour than the entirety of the Hermosa/Manhattan Beach section of Sepulveda Blvd was able to drive. But still. Forget about daggers. Some of those folks were staring glaives.
Now, my beliefs on politics these days are pretty open and I mostly try to keep them to myself. Seven billion people, seven billion realities. But. And this is a big but. The car issue has dimmed my view somewhat about the “open-mindedness” of others. Specifically certain people I’ve met since moving to this great city of sun and sand, the vast majority of whom have been awesome, but a small segment of whom have, upon learning I don’t drive a car, given me that not-so-subtle smirk to quietly inform me they think I am subhuman. Let’s not even mention the run-of-the-mill blonde BMW ladies who rocket around right turns on a red light when the walk sign is on and almost kill me on a regular basis then flip me off and yell at me even though their windows are up, like being a pedestrian is some form of cancer.
What’s up? And why here, of all places, where anyone who has been stuck in traffic all of once can recognize that the future of Los Angeles needs to look beyond the automobile as a primary mode of transportation?
C’mon. Guys. You will talk until you’re blue in the face about how those BAD PEOPLE are sooo going to destroy the environment… but I am a crab-person for not driving when it is literally faster to walk?
Hiya friends. I’m pretty thrilled right now. As of tonight, the Kindle version of LURK will have a new cover, which I think is pretty phenomenal. Take a lurk:
Why change it, you ask? Quite simply, I didn’t think the old cover was perfect for the book. In the vast literary jungle that is Amazon, there are hundreds of thousands of novels both traditionally and self-published that all have good covers, and to even get a click-through for someone to read your blurb these days, your cover can’t just be good… it needs to be eye-popping.
So… there it is.
Paperbacks will be updated sometime next week. And as always, if you haven’t read it yet, Part One is free to read here.