Q: Have you ever considered writing a sequel to any of your horror novels?
A: I suppose a sequel can be made to anything. Cripes, in Star Trek III they brought Spock back to life after Trekkies revolted! But mine have so far been stand-alone stories. I mean, how many people get the calling to help spirits move on to the next world (Fire Dance and The Burning Ground), or drive demons back into the hell that spawned them (Demon Shadows and The Modoc Well) more than once?
Q: In what way do you feel this book stands apart from the rest of your catalog of work?
A: When I dug farther back into the decimation of California’s indigenous population I became appalled at the extent of this genocide, beginning with the arrival of the Spanish missionaries and encompassing the decade or more after the Gold Rush. While my other two Native American-themed novels, Demon Shadows and The Modoc Well, have a comment or two about the treatment of Indians, none come close to The Burning Ground. This includes an Author’s Note and a significant plot adjustment with regard to the Maidu spirits—though sharing that here would be revealing too much.
Q: Are there any writers or books that were influential in this particular novel...or in your career in general?
A: Not this particular story. But for my career? That answer is always the same: Edgar Rice Burroughs. Tarzan, John Carter of Mars, Pellucidar—all of his 100+ books were among my favorites. Without ERB I would have never become a writer.
Q: Looking back at the books you've written over the years, how has your work developed with time and experience?
A: I re-read many of my early works over the past year or so in preparation for making them available again under my own imprint, Atoris Press, via my second website, Swords and Specters. Most of them made me want to hurl. Each one will require extensive revisions before I would ever let anyone see them. As a teacher, editor, and writing coach these past couple of decades I also learned a great deal. With every book—with every page—that you write, you should be improving your craft.