interview by Joe Vaz

From Issue 13 (Sept 2011)


Where is home?

Tallahassee, Florida.  I was born and raised here, travelled across the United States and Canada, then lived in Oregon for several years before returning home, when my daughter, now 14, was born.


Are you a full-time writer?

With grants and scholarships I was able to write full-time for a number of years. Now, I own a political strategies firm. Writing is still a large part of my day-to-day work, in the form of op-eds and commentaries.


What inspired this story?

This story was inspired by late nights in the country. For some reason, science fiction seldom takes place in the south (at least in the U.S.). I wanted to evoke a southern setting and watch the characters I knew growing up respond to alien contact.


There is a beautiful poignancy to this story. From the first line, one can’t help but feel sorry for Herman. How did his character come about?

Herman is victimized in the story by everyone around him. He never had a chance. In far less spectacular fashion, this was all too true for many of the kids I knew growing up in similar settings.


What made you decide to tell this story from the point of view of a 12-year-old girl?

Herman is too young and too divided (literally). His mother is the antagonist in the story. The alien is, well, too alien. I needed an observer who was invested in the outcome but could report from inside, so to speak.


Will Herman keep his word?

I don’t claim to know that any more than you, the reader, but I certainly hope so.


What was the most recent short story you read?

On a recent visit to Salt Lake City I had the good fortune to find Absinthe by Jack Ketchum and Tim Lebbon. It’s a signed and numbered chapbook containing short stories by both authors.


Are you working on anything right now?

Yes, a screenplay about classic Caribbean pirates transported to wreak havoc on a modern day cruise ship.


Where might we be able to read more of your work?

My short story collection, From Blood to Water, is available through Amazon. A short story entitled ‘Rachelle’s Denial’ is online at

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Joe Vaz

Joe Vaz is the founder and editor of Something Wicked, which occasionally affords him the honour and good fortune to hang out with really cool people.
In his other life he is a film and television actor who gets small parts in big movies, most recently in Dredd 3D, due to be released in September 2012.

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