The matter is in each one different. One might say that some of it is autobiographical, but that holds only for Crazy Were We in the Head, and even there, few of my characters are based on real persons: the descriptions of Onkel Abe Hamm, for example, are clearly of my father’s eccentric uncle. One might say that much of my writing concerns matters religious, and here I would plead guilty as charged. Everything from Crazy to Just Another Dead White Male to The Church of the Comic Spirit to Benedict XVI (soon to become The First American Pope) to Sacred Books & Sky Hooks shows the influence of my days as a professor of comparative religion. Dancing Over the Rays of Light is something of an exception, though the main character’s search for his true self could be said to be a pilgrimage.
As for the style, there is not much holding my works together, with the exception of the fact that they are all written in the comic mode. But I could never write a series of novels with a main character, or a set of characters, appearing throughout. I write for the challenge, and the challenge is to find another and different style for each single piece. In Crazy, for example, the challenge was to emulate the voice and style of a boy in different stages of his growth, from the first grade to his high school graduation. In The Church of the Comic Spirit, the challenge was to retell the old biblical stories in a variety of genres, from short story to greeting card to diary to screenplay. In Just Another Dead White Male, the challenge was to tell a common story from two perspectives, then to shift the tale into a virgin area. And so on.