I was profiled in the San Francisco Chronicle as one of the young, upcoming neo-beatnik poets. The first time I tried to write a novel, it was science fiction. I couldn’t figure out a way to end it. Many years later, after a nervous breakdown and a series of personal tragedies and mental health issues, I started to write horror as a way to process what I’d been through. The genre lends itself well to exorcising metaphysical demons, and since I’ve read it more than any other, I know how it works.
But other than her fashion sense, Red is not very much like me. She’s more like teenage runaways I have known over the past twenty years living in the Bay Area. I would say that my story more specifically addresses the plight of the homeless in the San Francisco Bay Area. Homelessness is different here than in other parts of the state. Young homeless people tend to gravitate towards places like Haight Street in San Francisco, or Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley because there is safety in numbers. Homelessness is very dangerous for women. Many women become homeless escaping domestic violence, only to become victimized again on the streets. Here is some information about that: http://www.endhomelessness.org/pages/domestic_violence
It has all of that: the relatable character of the concerned parent, the plot twist, and the underlying moral message that connects it to deeper concerns about mortality and the world we live in. It is a simple moral: nothing in life is free, beware the hidden costs. It frightens us because we can all relate to the character’s error in judgment, because deep down most of us know we would make the greedy money choice if we had three wishes. It’s also a story about making things worse trying to fix them, and that is also a common fear.