Here is the the first part of the interview:

Once you’ve removed God from the equation of your life, where do you find meaning? Why bother getting up and going through the day if everything is random and chance?

Everything is random and chance with or without God. If God exists his laissez faire attitude towards man’s struggles would make the question just as relevant. I think that if God existed and this was all just some little game to see who got into heaven I’d refuse to play. Every child who suffers and dies in pursuit of heaven would make it too much of an injustice. I love humanity too much for that. Besides, as a Black Man I would find the entire notion of this blind unquestioning obedience/slavery offensive. For 400 years our people suffered and toiled under the White man’s yoke and now we suffer under his God. All we’ve done is moved the overseer from the plantations to the pulpits and into our very hearts and minds.

I think the fact that a Supreme Being that is acutely concerned with the affairs of man probably does not exists makes the possibility of seeking out some type of meaning for ourselves possible. Because, “it’s God’s will” was never a good enough answer for me. It’s like when a parent answers a child’s question with “Because I said so.” That’s a guarantee that that child will disobey as soon as your back is turned. The answers most religions provide don’t do it for me. I’m not the type for blind obedience. I want real answers.

And let’s face it, by the time we are old enough to ask the question, “Why are we here?” we have already invested too much sweat and tears to give this existence up without first squeezing all the joy we can out of it. When we reach the point where the effort and struggle it takes to maintain our existence exceeds any joy we could possibly derive from it than it would be quite logical at that point to consider giving up the struggle.

If you had the chance to ask God some questions, what would you ask Him?

I have thought about it quite a bit and I guess the biggest questions I would want answered would be:

“Why are we here?”
“Why do we suffer? What is there to gain from all the pain in this world?”
And most importantly…
“Do you care? And if you do why do you do such a horrible job of showing it? What type of parent stays hidden from the children he claims to love when they so obviously need him?”

It seems like you are working through some serious, spiritual questions in your work. How do you approach intertwining writing and your beliefs? How do your beliefs come through in your writing?

My beliefs are what inspire me to write, or should I say my lack of belief, my thirst for answers. Arguments are my biggest source of inspiration. A lot of what I write are hypothetical situations designed to illustrate some question I am trying to work through in my own head or some point I’m trying to make. I can’t stand people who think they have all the answers because it is so clear to me that everyone is floundering around in the dark just like I am. That’s probably why you and I get along so well, because we are both at least somewhat open to the possibility that we might be wrong. My writing is my attempt to make people look at and confront the things they claim to believe and admit their own ignorance. I may not have all the answers but it’s obvious to me that most everyone else who think they do are even more ignorant than I am. At least I “Don’t think I know what I do not know.” to quote Socrates.

Why horror? What sort of questions/demons are you trying to work through in your work? Why have you chosen the more graphic end of the horror spectrum to work in? Do you think that limits you or your potential audience?

The beauty of horror is that it envelops just about every other genre Sci-fi, Fantasy, Mystery, Romance, Thrillers, so-called Literary Fiction. It allows for absolute freedom. I tend to like to drive my points home with a sledgehammer and horror allows me to use extreme examples to get my point across. I can show you a human going through unimaginable torment and then ask, “Now what kind of God/political leader/ parent/friend/Lover/or fellow human being would do or allow this to be done to another person? I think it sobers people up and makes them really think about themselves and this world we live in when they read my stuff and realize that no matter how extreme the examples I use are there are people out there doing or suffering through the exact same things I’m describing and worse..Not everyone of course wants this sobering experience. Many people just want simple distraction and escapism and horror is good for that too though perhaps not my writing.

The readership for horror is very small right now compared to what it was but I do believe that it’s because most people are just unaware of what’s out there. Books have immense competition now between TV, movies, DVDs, and video games and the Book publishers have not responded well to this increased competition. They still do not market authors well if at all. They seem to be in denial or simply resolved to the idea that each new generation is reading less and less. It’s sad but true. So, yes, being a horror author limits my readership, but being a writer of any kind right now outside of maybe Westerns and Romance novels means a smaller readership than it did just a decade ago. For me it will always be a labor of love anyway. I’m petrified of the day when I need to do this in order to pay bills.

As writers, we’re gods after a fashion: we create worlds, people it, and often direct the characters actions as much as the characters take on lives of their own and do their own thing. My question is, as “their god,” how do you justify doing what you do to your characters?

The same way you do, anything is permissible if it helps tell the story and I am just grandiose enough to believe that what I have to say is worth torturing and butchering my characters for. Not being a Christian I don’t feel the need to pretend to be humble in that or any regard.

What’s up next for you?

I have a novella coming out this summer from Delirium Books called “His Pain”. I’m looking now for a publisher for my magnum opus, “Yaccub” a novel that deals with everything from crime and poverty to race, religion, and family. I’m currently working on a novel about inter-racial relationships and slavery titled “400 Days of Oppression”. I am taking the advice of the late great Richard Laymon and writing the stories that only I could have written.