In the age of social media, it seems almost superfluous to write a bio for your own website. Why bother when there are Wikipedia and Facebook? On the other hand, each of these outlets serves a slightly different purpose. This website is, more than anything else out there, the Marshall Show: literally and always, it's all about me.
My hometown is Greenville, North Carolina. I was a kid in the 70s and a teen in the 80s, which puts me squarely in Generation X. I inherited all the doubt and disconnect that accompany my generation. The divorced parents, the advent of HIV/AIDS, the Reagan White House, the first Gulf War, the proliferation of the Internet and IT… these things formed the backdrop to my coming-of-age.
Early on, I knew writing would be a big part of my life. From about the third grade, I was writing short stories one after another. I think I discovered Writer's Digest in high school. I might have started submitting short stories to various markets in college, but the details are murky now. It's equally hard to say when I wrote my first novel, because I bought those lined, hardbound notebooks and filled them up, one after another. Long story short: I've been writing for most of my life. There were years of rejection letters before I made my first sale back in the late 90s. That's when the dam broke, and I've sold (or at least had published) one short story after another since then.
My novel The Concrete Sky (I wrote it in 1999 - 2000, and it was published in 2003) came about because of the frustrations of being a struggling GenXer in the urban US, not really fitting in anywhere, anxious about the writing on the wall. I'd written other novels, and fragments of novels, before it. When I sold TCS back in 2001, though, everything changed. Another publisher approached me about doing my second book with them, and that's how my collection Black Shapes in a Darkened Room came to be published (in 2004).
I wrote another novel called Invisible Hands after The Concrete Sky, too, but all the pieces never quite came together. It's probably on my hard drive somewhere.
My next novel, An Ideal for Living, grew out of an idea I'd been mulling over for years; I wrote it between 2003 - 2004, if I remember correctly. My second publisher accepted it with enthusiasm, but for various reasons the book remained in limbo for three years. Despite repeated assurances that it was going to be published, it was dropped – along with the novel I wrote next, Bitter Orange – in early 2009. An Ideal for Living was released by Lethe Press in April 2010.
My fourth book will be a second short story collection: The Infernal Republic. This comprises stories published between 2003 - 2009, as well as a few unique to the collection. It will be released by Signal 8 Press, the publishing company I founded here in Hong Kong, on Valentine's Day 2012. Bitter Orange will follow sometime in 2013, unless the world ends next year. Since I seem to alternate between novels and collections, it's probably safe to say that my third collection will appear a year or two after that. I already have a title in mind, too.
As always... thanks for stopping by, and thanks for reading!