Creepy clown imagery seems to play a dominant role in the novel. What’s up with that?
It started off as Happy Jack, an original creation based off of [the movie] Puppetmaster, ’cause I love the [Puppetmaster character] Jester. The reason that he has a smile and everything is a mask of how he feels inside. It’s about contradictions. It’s kind of gothic. It’s what I was like as a teenager. The book is split into [two parts], “Onyx” and “Pearl.” The “Onyx” part is when I was a kid and it’s dark and that’s just kind of what I was into at the time.
How long was the self-publishing process?
I finished it in October of last year; it was supposed to take longer than it did. The publisher really pushed it through, kind of jumped over a lot of stuff for me to get it out there, and what was supposed to take six months only took two months. It really hit fast. Lucky me. I also had a friend who is the most critical, anal person read it. I needed a horrible person to nitpick and edit.
Why did you write this book?
I started writing when I was 14. Poetry was originally my outlet. This book is a metaphoric biography. So all these events that go on the book are events in my life. It was to get it out of my system. My intent was not really to write a book or publish a book.
Why did you choose to set your story over such a huge expanse of time?
Enigmatarium comes from enigma and sanitarium. Over the 15 years I’ve worked on this, I’ve grown so much. Between “Onyx” and “Pearl,” it’s really written by two different people, because who I was at 18 when I started it is a completely different person than who I was when I started “Pearl” at 24. I’ve matured, and “Onyx” and “Pearl” are a clashing of my youth and my maturity. A lot of that is an outlet for growing up gay in a very small community.
What has this process done for you?
I wanted the work I had done to be in the book. I essentially got out of the Enigmatarium. It’s about being trapped and trying to get out. It’s about love, overall. It’s more sad than scary. It’s a roller coaster of emotions, and I didn’t want it to have a happy ending. The connections the readers are getting out of it is a surprise, though.