Would you consider yourself more of a photographer or writer? I feel more like a writer. I admit I do photography regularly because it's easier for me. Writing takes a lot of time and the visions but I feel more connected as a writer. Blood and gore or creepy and suspenseful? I enjoy both but I think creepy and suspenseful can be much more terrifying. People kind of become immune to blood and gore. The great thing is with creepy you're relying on your imagination which can be much more powerful than a blood and guts description. he sees families suffering from radiation poisoning. There are pits and things falling all over the ground from instability. I decided to have it set in the cold, that's why it's in the North and takes place in the winter. That's why it's called Numb, it's because they're in the cold of winter in their own minds as well as physically. "Pennyroyal Tea," the song from Nirvana, is also an inspiration. It really has nothing to do with my story but there was something striking about a guy sitting around drinking a cup of tea and mourning the loss of his mother. Do you attend events as an author and artist? I'm attending Imagine Other Worlds with Authors (IOWA, for short). It's like 30 some writers from a variety of genres and I'm the only writer there with a graphic novel out. It will be at Cedar Rapids at a mall and I'll be selling books, signing them and will have prints of my photography. Especially prints from my book The Last Days of Ophelia, which is my photography storybook. And I'm probably going to have some prints related to my graphic novel, "Numb." Do you have any advice for aspiring writers and artists? Don't give up. Keep writing. It's the only way to get better. It's always possible to improve more so keep at it. If you get stuck, just do some free writing. I've noticed that when I go to people that I respect for their opinions on a story, each one will give me three different opinions. Then you have like 20 opinions and they're the exact opposite of what other people have said. You really have to kind of go with your gut when trying to express what you're trying to say instead of what I'm telling you. I'm all for constructive criticism. You have to be able to take constructive criticism. Do you have any daily rituals that you do to summon the creative muse? Finding the right time of day is important. Until 11 a.m. I'm totally worthless. Part of that is because I feel like I'm at my best and most inspired between midnight and 3 a.m. for some reason. I have no idea why. During the day I am always tired which works out if your inspiration is dreams. Usually when I have an idea, I try to get up and go write it down immediately. I free write to get everything down even if it's out of order. I don't do outlines. I want to recreate the inspiration when I read it later. How "Numb" came about was actually from a dream. Back in the mid to late 90's, I had a dream about a nuclear apocalypse and this guy was traveling across the country trying to get back home. On the way The following pages contain illustrations by Manthos Lappas and conceptual art by Tera Lewis from the graphic novel "Numb"