Does your work with comics have any crossover into your fiction writing, especially in this novel?
When I transition from comics to novels, I find a leanness in my prose. Comics demand that I tell a story in four to six snapshots per page. It lends itself to dramatic, visual storytelling. When I delve into a novel, I’m more expansive, but I tend to gravitate to stark, arresting images. The Survivor‘s opening, for instance: A man, Nate Overbay, on the eleventh story ledge of a bank building, about to jump to his death. Gunshots within the bank. Blood paints the window to Nate’s side. Rather than leap off the ledge, he goes back through the window into the bank and faces the gunmen. While there’s a (I hope) poetry to the writing and we dip into Nate’s head more than might be appropriate for a graphic novel, I can also visualize the scene as I’d lay it out in a comic—heightening stakes, cascading images, each panel growing more intense.
Living in L.A., what do you think it is about the city that lends itself to being the backdrop for plots like the one in The Survivor?
It is a city of dreams and aspirations, of endless promise and reinvention. Everyone can be—or wants to be—someone else. It’s a brilliant Petri dish for personalities of all types to ferment, evolve, sour. It’s a microcosm of the country itself and of our own psyches, all the twisted alleys and dark corners of our minds. What do we hope for? What do we long for? What are we willing to do when those dreams prove just out of reach? Nate Overbay is a man who thinks he has nothing left to lose—and he’s about to find out just how wrong he is. He has to reach for a new type of dream and in that reaching, he will find life again.