As a child, major intellectual influences were L. Frank Baum and Edgar Rice Burroughs, both of whom I still read on occasion. I was also exposed to James Churchward, a strange man who wrote about the lost lands of Atlantis and Mu. I disagreed with most of my contemporaries and school teachers who believed too much imagination is a bad thing.
More than 20 years with a day job as social worker taught me there is nothing stranger in this world than human beings. On the side, I became involved in the study of anomalies in archeology, and unusual phenomena. I discovered that the study of history provides insight into many other strange happenings. Later influences were Charles Fort and Robert Anton Wilson, who inspired my Chapel Perilous.
Having grown up in San Francisco, I am intrigued by many of the odd characters who inhabit that city. In that respect it has not changed much since the 19th Century. The Gold Rush period was a grand story, full of mad actors, crazy artists and ordinary folk trying to get rich. As a writer, most of my stories originate with character rather than plot; this era of history overflows with material. Occasionally someone asks me about writer's block, or about where I find ideas. I always respond with a question: How can you NOT find ideas?