I try to keep any close discussion of my writing career as separate from this blog as possible. Mostly, this is because given the nature of the claims I am making, I want to make a good faith gesture that I am not here just to sell books. My books will sell themselves and even if I do include elements of my experience in my work, I don’t use the claim that it’s based on a true story to sell the work; I believe a story should sell itself on its own merit or it’s not worth writing. I have no plans on publicly admitting anything in my books is based on actual events until I’m already making a living as a writer.
Without telling you who I am or what specific genre I write in, I will say that it’s a subset of LGBT fiction and my books, prior to my experience in September 2012, were mostly gay or bisexual-themed action/adventure-romance stories. Predictably, my first two published books are not the sort of work you’ll find just anywhere and, for that matter, the second one (a book I’d been working on for years and the first project I started back in 2003) took too long to finish and was too long and too boring for most readers. But the first one I published actually is the interesting one.
That book had a dieselpunk theme (sci-fi set in a mid-century setting), and was basically about a gay character on the run from a regime that on the surface looked like 1930s European fascism but in reality was actually a commentary on the Bush administration. I had conceived this project before I had even heard of Philip K. Dick.
That book was nominated for a couple of small awards among LGBT and niche fantasy circles but didn’t win either of them, and was criticized for being too brief and skeletal- a criticism I have also heard of Philip K. Dick’s writing style. I also share his tendency toward short paragraphs and, as the dieselpunk theme illustrates, a literary fetish for mid-century kitsch.
What it didn’t have- the one element my writing had been missing until recently- was that element of striking and dysphoric postmodernism that Phil’s writing had. I feel I fixed that in the sequel I wrote by treating modern certainties as a trap that the characters fall into only to discover the absurdity of their predicament, but that was an idea I had only after discovering Phil’s work. My hope is that adopting this element feels as natural for the reader as it felt for me.
Another factor where I share some similarities with Phil is that some of my work from 2009 and 2010 has a Lovecraftian slant after I discovered his work. I later discovered that Lovecraft was one of Phil’s early influences. What I lack- at least directly- is the influence of French Realists. If there is anything of their style in my work it is because I tried to recreate their work from a general description of some plots of famous works. I really think I owe it to myself to at least attempt to read A Recherce de Temps Perdu, but I seem unable to find enough time to read such a massive work.
Sadly, to say much more about the small things I’ve noticed in my writing from prior to my memories- from word choices to the names of characters and places- would give me away completely. I have, however, noticed things in my writings from as early as 2003 that seem to hint at some of my possible past lives.
Also, the name I now publish under post-transition is a name that I picked out some months before I remembered Phil’s life that an astute person might pick up on if they saw it. I was remotely aware of the possible esoteric connotations in the name by late 2012, but that was not my intention originally. The first name was actually modified and shortened from an earlier idea for a name I had so that it was less old-fashioned, and the last name came from my fiance’s artist name.
I wish I could tell more. There are a lot of small but intriguing details I just can’t post here because it would give too much away. I want give my writing a chance to speak for itself.