Choke is one of my favorite books, the plot is so intricate and disturbing (in a great way). What inspired you to write a book about addicts/addiction, and how did you come up with the concept of faking near death to make the person who helps feel like a savior?
True story — I’ve told it often, so forgive me for telling it here. When my father was murdered, I felt overwhelmed by life. And driving home from one phase of the murder trial, I was distraught as I navigated this almost-deserted highway through wooded mountains. I wore a suit and tie from the courtroom, and began to fantasize about pulling over onto the gravel shoulder. I’d leave my motor running and my headlights on. I’d leave the driver’s door open and walk a few steps up, then lay facedown on the highway shoulder. Eventually, someone in authority — with a gun, a badge, a uniform — would find me and gently feel my neck for a pulse. There, spotlighted in the headlights, late at night, that authority figure would bring me back to life by saying, “You’re okay. Everything will be okay. Help is on the way.” That’s the fantasy that morphed into ‘Choke.’