PW: The three stories in your new collection, My Work Is Not Yet Done, share the theme of the modern workplace as a breeding ground for horrors. What inspired them?

TL: I think it would be fair to say that these stories share the same source of inspiration as Scot Adams's Dilbert. It's uncanny how the world of that comic strip reflected my own work environment, and obviously that of many office workers in companies throughout the civilized world, in the last decade of the 20th century. Coincident with the first-written of these stories, "The Nightmare Network," was a typical Dilbertian reorganization that took place where I worked. This was 1994. Other reorganizations followed, along with the traumas that attend such upheavals in any company, and so did other stories. These reorganizations were more catalysts than causes—they made me aware, in a way I had not previously been aware, of the realities of working life.

PW: Is there something about the modern workplace that you feel lends itself to a macabre treatment?

TL: That depends on when you consider the advent of the "modern workplace" to have taken place. At the risk of playing amateur sociologist, I would date it to the early 1990s. A number of developments throughout that decade significantly changed the working world for a lot of people. Two of those factors were the rapid rise of technology in the form of computers and the proliferation of management handbooks. It seemed that every other year or so, companies were following a new technological or managerial paradigm, to use a word that has been forever spoiled by these trends. In 1996, Ralph Estes published Tyranny of the Bottom Line: Why Corporations Make Good People Do Bad Things. Clearly the modern workplace had made itself into fertile ground for writers of all types, and I understand that I'm not the only horror writer to have worked this territory.

PW: Do you think readers may identify with these stories in a way they might not have done with your other fiction—and that you may attract a bigger audience?

TL: Because I'm not entirely oblivious to the real world, this thought had occurred to me. But that's not why I wrote these stories. I can honestly say that I wish I had never been moved to produce this book.

PW: All of your past work has been short story length, but the title story in My Work Is Not Yet Done is a short novel. Did writing to this length pose challenges for you?

TL: For me, the main challenge of writing My Work Is Not Yet Done was maintaining the style and structure of a work of fiction, as opposed to letting it turn into a movie. I had previously written, actually co-written, a couple of horror movie scripts—unproduced, mind you—and the broad outline of the narrative is the same three-act structure of the popular Hollywood movie, which I had made a fairly close study of. But I don't think anyone reading My Work Is Not Yet Done would say, "Yeah, this is screen-ready as is."

PW: All three of the stories have darkly comic moments. Was it hard balancing the humor and the horror?

TL: The humor followed naturally from the horror, perhaps in much the same way that I saw horror in the humor of Dilbert. I would bet that Scot Adams shuddered not a few times in writing some of those comic strips.

PW: Why did you publish My Work Is Not Yet Done with a specialty press rather than a trade publisher?

TL: There's not a lot of money to be made either way, at least in my case. And with a specialty press you get a higher quality book. It took me some years to realize these blatant facts.