Here's the deal: When I was in the first grade, my life goal was that I would grow up to be Batman. Because I thought it was a vocation—you know, policeman, fireman, Batman. Once my first grade teacher crushed the dreams of that little boy, I guess I decided I would do the next best thing and make up stories about Batman. And then somewhere after that I learned about things like "intellectual property" and "copyright law" and "cease and desist" and decided I would have to make up stories about my own characters.

So today, I do just that: Write stories about my own characters— whether it's a doomed hitman named Solomon Long or a grumpy old amateur sleuth named Earl Walker or an out-of-work smart alec crime reporter named Truman.