Q. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your experience with Wild Cards.
A. Born in Minnesota, raised in Wisconsin, schooled in Arizona. My father was a coach and teacher, mother an English teacher who introduced me to SF.
Like most of the Wild Cards team, I am an SF writer who also loved comic books. I had the great fortune to start reading them just as Marvel’s 1960s Golden Age commenced… AVENGERS #3 was my first. I was a huge fan of SPIDERMAN, HULK, X-MEN and others. Occasionally I even lowered my standards to read D.C. books.
My first published works were SF stories, in such magazines and anthologies as AMAZING, FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION, and UNIVERSE. I’ve also published five novels, beginning with THE STAR COUNTRY in 1986, and most recently, TANGO MIDNIGHT in 2003.
I have written a considerable amount of non-fiction, most of it dealing with space flight—three editions of a massive biographical encyclopedia, WHO’S WHO IN SPACE, and collaborations with astronauts Deke Slayton and Tom Stafford on their autobiographies (DEKE! and WE HAVE CAPTURE).
Most of my writing, however, has been for television, from the 1980s version of THE TWILIGHT ZONE through MAX HEADROOM and EERIE, INDIANA and other genre (and non-genre) series, most recently THE DEAD ZONE.
My association with WILD CARDS goes back twenty years—I was not part of the original discussions between George, Melinda, Walter Jon and the others, but George and I became friends while working on TZ together in 1986. It was George, no doubt influenced by my wit and way with words—as well as the fact that I showed him how to snake a studio?office out from under more senior writers—who encouraged me to develop a story for Volume IV, ACES ABROAD, using my knowledge of espionage and the USSR.
Later stories, in DUECES DOWN and CARD SHARKS, grew out of my interest in space flight.
So it was inevitable that a WILD CARDS book about a reality television series would suit me.
Q. Tell us about the inspiration behind your story for Inside Straight.
Stuntman is the type of young man—Wild Card to one side—that I have seen for years in the entertainment business. He’s bright, talented, but frustrated at the way he is pigeon-holed. Throw in a little of my own history with my father, the gifted athlete, and you have a character.