I imagine my characters as beings whose minds are layers of story, a sediment of murky experiences and memories buried in silt. I draw on lived experience. Even when considering futuristic settings, I root the story in what I have encountered in my life. I want the reader to connect with my flawed characters and the environments in which they interact. The reader will hopefully empathise even with those characters who make terrible mistakes.
I have - I hope - found a way to populate my own private traumas and obsessions with characters and situations that speak to strangers in a language they recognise from their own. The gauze used to treat a wound can cause damage if left in place too long. I prefer to remove the dressing, allowing air to get at what then also becomes a visible injury.
The world today is as frightening as the one I endured as a traumatised gay adolescent. It has the same level of dread for me as the London of the 80s and 90s. Surviving the Aids epidemic and legislation that effectively recriminalized homosexuality left me with a reflexive mistrust of power structures.
As I watch the planet I so dearly love and appreciate being abused, possibly damaged beyond repair, I feel driven to provoke discussion. I have no answers, only questions. I am not seeking to proselytize or evangelize a solution but simply to tell a story that feels relevant.