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How it all began

I began writing JOY in February of 2017. I had taken my dog, Spike, for a walk around Spy Pond (I was living in Arlington, MA at the time). I was musing on the trendy new VR headsets and an article I'd read exploring whether we were all going to have them strapped to our heads in the future. I began to wonder about the most basic purpose of entertainment – pleasure – and the the natural extension of the human journey toward ever more immediate experiences. From books, to silent films, to talkies, to technicolor, to 3D, to video games to VR. I began to wonder if games in future would have more experiential elements than images and sound and maybe the shaking of a controller. Would we add smell and touch, and eventually emotion? Would we finally just take the story out of the equation and just focus on the pleasure? Suddenly, the whole world of the novel opened up before me. I knew the story, how it began, how it ended, much of what happened in between; the characters, everything. I had tried to before – screenplays, short stories, that sort of thing. But I came home from my walk with a conviction I hadn't felt in a long time: "I'm going to write this novel."

Spike, and inspirational dog

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