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Interview with Steven S. Long - March 29, 2015


Please welcome Steven S. Long to The Qwillery. “Forest for the Trees” will be published in GENIUS LOCI: Tales of the Spirit of Place from Ragnarok Publications.

This is the ninth in a series of interviews with many of the authors and the artists involved in GENIUS LOCI. I hope you enjoy meeting them here at The Qwillery as much as I am!

Interview with Steven S. Long - March 29, 2015

I am a backer of GENIUS LOCI which is edited by Jaym Gates. You may check out the Kickstarter here.



TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery. What are the challenges in writing in the short form as opposed to the novel length? Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Steven:  Thanx for interviewing me. :)

Given that I’ve only semi-completed one novel (which is still in a long, drawn-out process of revising and rewriting), I may not be the most qualified person to answer. But I’d say that the trick with a short story is that you can’t really waste any words — you have a very brief amount of “space” to describe your character, set the scene(s), explain the dilemma, and resolve the situation. So you have to have a story idea you can deal with “quickly”; epic quests and galaxy-spanning sagas aren’t short-form types of tales, generally speaking.

On the other hand, you can write a fantastic short story about an idea that’s too basic or weird to support a novel. For example, Tom Godwin’s classic SF story “The Cold Equations” is a compelling short story, but would be pretty boring if he’d tried to stretch it into a novel.

I think I’m still far too much a pantser for my own good, but I’m trying to get better. ;) As fun as pantsing a story can be, it often leaves gaps I don’t realize are there, or results in me standing at my desk for long periods of time thinking, “So what the hell happens now?” The last short story I wrote was the first one where I had the whole sequence of events outlined (in my head, admittedly, not on paper) before I started writing, and it’s amazing how much easier and more fun it was for me to write it. One of the problems with my novel, and the reason it requires such extensive rewriting, is that I pantsed too much and thus didn’t structure the story properly.

(I think “to pants” has become my new favorite verb. ;) )



TQ:  You’re a game designer. How does this affect (or not) your short story writing?

Steven:  I’d like to think it doesn’t really have any effect, but roleplaying games have been such a central part of my life (both professionally and socially) for the past 30-odd years that I’m not foolish enough to think I can escape their influence entirely. ;) A Well-Known SF Writer Whose Name I Won’t Drop once told me that a fiction editor he worked said she could often tell which writers had a gaming background and which didn’t. A writer who didn’t play RPGs usually had well-developed characters and plot, but his setting and background were often vague or inconsistent. Writers with RPG experience tended to have very well developed settings with strong internal logic, but their characters and plots were often weak or poorly developed.

I’ve tried to keep that in mind and not let my RPG writing experience affect my fiction. I want to have well-developed settings (heck, I often teach worldbuilding at conventions, so I’d better!), but I want the characters and plot to show just as much attention to detail and quality. On the other hand, when my RPG experience can help fiction — such as in developing settings and magic systems that work well — I’m happy to draw on it.



TQ:  Which question about your writing do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Steven:  

Q: What’s your goal when writing Fantasy fiction?

A: To evoke the sense of wonder, majesty, and general “coolness” that I’ve so often felt myself upon reading great works of Fantasy (he said presumptuously). I’m not sure I can succeed, since I think the type of Fantasy that sells these days isn’t the type of Fantasy which accomplishes that (at least for me), but I try.



TQ:  Describe “Forest for the Trees”, which will be published in Genius Loci, in 140 characters or less.

Steven:  An encounter with a forest spirit in a beloved childhood haunt gives a dying man the inspiration and strength to go on fighting to live.



TQ:  Tell us something about “Forest for the Trees” that will not give away the story.

Steven:  It includes a pirate ship, a castle, a race car, and a space cruiser.



TQ:  What was your inspiration for “Forest for the Trees”? Have you ever encountered a Genius loci?

Steven:  I’ve never encountered a genius loci (or any other spirit) as far as I know, but “Forest for the Trees” is definitely inspired by my personal experiences. I live in the house I grew up in, which my family moved to in 1971. There’s a patch of woods (small by adult standards, large by a kid’s) about a hundred feet from the house. I spent countless hours playing down there as a kid; knew it from one end to the other like the back of my hand. That’s where the story takes place — in fact, I went into the woods for the first time in about twenty years to experience the “feel” of it before I started writing. It turns out that it’s a lot easier to clamber around in a hilly forest when you’re ten than when you’re all too rapidly approaching fifty. ;)

Here’s another odd sort of correspondence with my life. The protagonist is a form of me, obviously, but he has terminal cancer. About six months after I finished the story, I was actually diagnosed with colon cancer. Fortunately the doctors caught long before it became terminal and have pretty much completely taken care of it. But when I went back to revise the story, I came across that element (which I’d forgotten) and it sent a bit of a chill down my spine. Perhaps a genius loci of some sort was looking out for me!



TQ:  Give us one of your favorite non-spoilery lines from “Forest for the Trees”.

Steven:  “God I’m old. I’ve lived here so long I can measure my life by geological processes.”

Just a few months before Jaym Gates began soliciting submissions for GENIUS LOCI, I happened to walk along the road on one side of the forest. It was winter, so I could see down through the trees to the creek at the lowest level of the land. I thought to myself, “Wait a minute, that doesn’t look right. It should bend there, not there, and there should be a long straight run there,” and so on. A few seconds later it hit me that over the course of forty years, the natural processes of bank erosion had changed the course of the creek significantly. That line above popped into my head, word for word. ;) Jaym’s submission announcement brought it back to mind, and the whole story pretty much fell into place in just a few minutes.



TQ:  In which genre or genres does “Forest for the Trees” fit? In your opinion, are genre classifications still useful?

Steven:  I definitely think genre classifications remain useful for many purposes. If there’s any real problem with them, it’s that people use them without defining what they mean — so that one person’s “Epic Fantasy” is different from another person’s “Epic Fantasy,” and the whole analysis gets snarled up and becomes useless. Even serious, academic works about Fantasy by noted scholars usually fail to define their terms properly. Since I love talking about Fantasy fiction and want people to understand what I mean, I’ve actually written an article, “Defining Fantasy,” which you can find on my website, www.stevenslong.com, if you’d like to know more. ;)

“Forest for the Trees” fits firmly into what I call Urban Fantasy: Fantasy that brings magic and other fantastic elements into the modern, “real world.”



TQ:  What’s next?

Steven:  There are a several projects that, naturally, I can’t talk about yet, but fortunately a few that I can. I have a story, “A Singular Justice,” in Tales >From the Age of Sorrows, an anthology of stories for the Exalted roleplaying game from Onyx Path Publishing. I also did some RPG work for Onyx Path on the Wraith 20th Anniversary Edition, which is slated for publication later this year I believe.

Most exciting for me is that my first major work of non-fiction is due out in May from Osprey Publishing. It’s titled Odin: The Viking Allfather, and you can guess from the title what it’s all about. As someone with a lifelong interest in mythology in general and Norse mythology in particular, getting to write this book was a real joy.



TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Steven:  Thank you for the opportunity! There are few things I enjoy more than talking about myself and my work. ;)





About Steven S. Long

Interview with Steven S. Long - March 29, 2015
Steven S. Long is a writer and game designer who’s worked primarily in the tabletop roleplaying game field for the past twenty years. During that time he’s written or co-written nearly 200 books. He’s best known for his work with Champions and the HERO System, but has worked for many other RPG companies including Last Unicorn Games, Pinnacle Entertainment Group, Decipher, and White Wolf. In recent years he’s branched out into writing fiction as well, selling short stories to many anthologies and publications. Someday he may actually finish his novel. His Master Plan for World Domination has reached Stage 67-Delta.

You can find out more about Steve and what he’s up to at www.stevenslong.com.

Interview with Thoraiya Dyer - March 29, 2015


Please welcome Thoraiya Dyer to The Qwillery. “The Grudge” will be published in GENIUS LOCI: Tales of the Spirit of Place from Ragnarok Publications.

This is the eighth in a series of interviews with many of the authors and the artists involved in GENIUS LOCI. I hope you enjoy meeting them here at The Qwillery as much as I am!

Interview with Thoraiya Dyer - March 29, 2015

I am a backer of GENIUS LOCI which is edited by Jaym Gates. You may check out the Kickstarter here.



TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery. What is the most challenging thing about writing for you? Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Thoraiya:  Thank you! The most challenging thing about writing for me is being patient. I am a pantser by nature, but the benefits of plotting are not unknown to me, and the more pitches I write, well, I can see plotting in my future. ☺



TQ:  You are an archer, as well as an animal doctor. Do you bring the discipline of archery to your writing? Does working with animals affect your writing in any way?

Thoraiya:  The discipline of archery is building repetitive muscle memory, while writing is building a varied repertoire, you would hope. But I bring native stubbornness to both, haha!

I think working with animals makes me reluctant to give them cutesy voices in my fiction. They’re more dignified than that. One of the techniques I use to build a sense of place in my work is to always be specific about local wildlife in a setting, whether it’s the focus of the story or not. And being a scientist certainly helps me to research and write science fiction.



TQ:  Which question about your writing do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Thoraiya:  What is more important, a tidy house or a fertile mind? To which the answer, obviously, in the words of Tansy Rayner Roberts, is “write like the wind and to hell with the washing!”



TQ:  Describe “The Grudge”, which will be published in Genius Loci, in 140 characters or less.

Thoraiya:  We all wish we could build to block our snooty, entitled brother’s prime real estate view of a mysterious collision of worlds, don’t we?



TQ:  Tell us something about “The Grudge” that will not give away the story.

Thoraiya:  There are old places that have the eerie sense of never changing. Then, there are those where humanity has just piled on and piled on and piled on until you feel dizzy, just standing in the street and breathing, knowing that your own era is only a quick, barely noticed gasp in between two other layers of the continuum. Old Australian places give me that first feeling. In the Middle East, I get that second feeling, and that’s the setting I decided to go with.



TQ:  What was your inspiration for “The Grudge”? Have you ever encountered a Genius loci?

Thoraiya:  My inspiration for “The Grudge” was a very real building in Beirut (http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/17430/inhabiting-a-grudge) where the contested views are those of the Mediterranean (the sunsets are amazing!)

As for encountering a Genius Loci, I have a vivid imagination and many places seem to come alive for me, you know? Sadly, just wishing the kangaroo gargoyle at Sydney University could come alive, or that old Lebanese cedar trees could tell me what they’ve seen, doesn’t make it real. *sigh*



TQ:  Give us one of your favorite non-spoilery lines from “The Grudge”.

Thoraiya:  Mutt comes through the door frame, huffing like a boar that’s eaten another boar for breakfast and can’t breathe.



TQ:  In which genre or genres does “The Grudge” fit? In your opinion, are genre classifications still useful?

Thoraiya:  I think genre classifications are still quite useful. Prolific readers know what they do and don’t want. “The Grudge” is science fiction if you don’t need much scientific rigor in your fiction, and fantasy if you do, hahaha!



TQ:  What's next?

Thoraiya:  I’ll have a story in boutique Australian press Fablecroft’s upcoming unthemed anthology, “Insert Title Here.” (http://fablecroft.com.au/tag/insert-title-here) The book is entertaining and refreshingly dud-free, but besides that I’m quite proud of my specific story, “The Falcon Races,” which is set in an alternative, non-colonised, future-Sydney, and which was four years in the making. Which is quite a long time, for a short story.



TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Thoraiya:  Thank you! I hope you enjoy "Genius Loci"!





About Thoraiya Dyer

Interview with Thoraiya Dyer - March 29, 2015
Thoraiya Dyer is a three-time Aurealis Award-winning, three-time Ditmar Award-winning Australian writer. Her short fiction has appeared in magazines including Clarkesworld, Apex, Nature, Cosmos and Analog, and anthologies including “Long Hidden,” “War Stories” and “Cranky Ladies of History.” Her award-shortlisted collection of four original stories, “Asymmetry,” is available from Twelfth Planet Press. A lapsed veterinarian based in Sydney, her other interest include archery, bushwalking and travel.






Find her online at Goodreads, Twitter (@ThoraiyaDyer) or thoraiyadyer.com.


Interview with Haralambi Markov - March 29, 2015


Please welcome Haralambi Markov to The Qwillery. “The Town the Forest Ate” will be published in GENIUS LOCI: Tales of the Spirit of Place from Ragnarok Publications.

This is the seventh in a series of interviews with many of the authors and the artists involved in GENIUS LOCI. I hope you enjoy meeting them here at The Qwillery as much as I am!

Interview with Haralambi Markov - March 29, 2015

I am a backer of GENIUS LOCI which is edited by Jaym Gates. You may check out the Kickstarter here.



TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery. What are the challenges in writing in the short form as opposed to the novel length? Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Haralambi:  Thank you for having me!

Right, so I don’t have much experience with writing novels. However, I have written a lot of short fiction and the most difficult for me has been restricting myself when I worldbuild. I go for outlandish settings and scenarios that thrive on details and are fattened with backstory, especially when I do a secondary world. Cherry picking what goes on the page and what is a hint left for the reader to figure out has been my greatest hurdle.

I’m a plotter. I outline scene by scene. Then I chart character interactions and what each scene should accomplish for the plot, theme and character. I know some writers will find this a bit suffocating, but it has helped give my work focus.



TQ:  You've edited anthologies. How does this affect (or not) your short form writing?

Haralambi:  The keyword here is co-edited and assisted in the editing process, which is a different ball game altogether. I imagine that editing an anthology as a one-person-show with all its demands and twists would affect my own craft. Based on the two projects I’ve worked on, I can’t say that I’ve been affected beyond the obvious “this is how you should not do it.”



TQ:  Which question about your writing do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Haralambi:  I don’t know why, but this is the hardest question. Honestly, I can’t think of anything. I don’t get asked all that much about writing to have a particular question that I feel doesn’t get asked a lot.



TQ:  Describe “The Town the Forest Ate”, which will be published in Genius Loci, in 140 characters or less.

Haralambi:  Some sins against nature are never forgiven. The citizens of a small town spend years learning this in a forest that will never let them go.



TQ:  Tell us something about “The Town the Forest Ate” that will not give away the story.

Haralambi:  I’ve written a part of a folk song in English that comes close to echoing what a Bulgarian folk song ought to sound like. It’s not an exact science, but I think it evokes the melancholy.



TQ:  What was your inspiration for “The Town the Forest Ate”? Have you ever encountered a Genius loci?

Haralambi:  As of recently, I’ve grown interested in Bulgarian folklore and the Genius loci concept does fit with several potential spirits and forest inhabitants. A little digging here and there offered me up the stories associated with the “samodiva” – a wood nymph, which nowadays is only known for her beauty. Turns out that’s not the case… Turns out the samodiva could very well take up Buffy’s mantle in the urban fantasy arena.

As for encountering a Genius loci, I’ve not been fortunate. Perhaps, I need to go deep into a forest or other wilderness, but that may be asking for trouble.



TQ:  Give us one of your favorite non-spoilery lines from “The Town the Forest Ate”.

Haralambi:  Not that it matters: the forest always does as it pleases.



TQ:  In which genre or genres does “The Town the Forest Ate” fit? In your opinion, are genre classifications still useful?

Haralambi:  I think this is the straightest horror story I’ve written. You have hauntings of sorts, body horror and the terrifying power of nature at night. At least that’s my definition of horror.

I think genres are a necessary evil. Genres have assumed a purely marketing role to effectively sell books and appeal to people who know what elements they like in fiction and want to go through the same rush. In the most romantic way to talk about genres as categories, it’s like coming home in a way.

However, what’s happened is that writers run the risk of catering to genre categories and spawn formulaic books. I’ve experienced this reading urban fantasy back in the early 00s and I hear people comment on the YA dystopia boom that cashes in on the Hunger Games. The marketing category is shaping the material.



TQ:  What's next?

Haralambi:  Right now, I’m working on several short stories and adapting my TOR.com short story “The Language of Knives” into a novel titled “The Mythology of Us”. Later this year, I also have stories coming up in Weird Fiction Review, Stories for Chip, The Near Now and Upside Down: Inverted Tropes in Storytelling.



TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Haralambi:  It’s been a pleasure!





About Haralambi Markov

Interview with Haralambi Markov - March 29, 2015
Haralambi Markov is a Bulgarian critic, editor, and writer of things weird and fantastic. A Clarion 2014 graduate, Markov enjoys fairy tales, obscure folkloric monsters, and inventing death rituals (for his stories, not his neighbors…usually).

He blogs at The Alternative Typewriter and tweets at @HaralambiMarkov. His stories have appeared in Geek Love, Electric Velocipede, TOR.com, Exalted 3 and are slated to appear in Genius Loci, Stories for Chip and Upside Down: Inverted Tropes in Storytelling. He’s currently working on outdoing his output for the past three years and procrastinating all the way.

Interview with Scott Edelman - March 28, 2015


Please welcome Scott Edelman to The Qwillery. “And the Trees Were Happy” will be published in GENIUS LOCI: Tales of the Spirit of Place from Ragnarok Publications.

This is the sixth in a series of interviews with many of the authors and the artists involved in GENIUS LOCI. I hope you enjoy meeting them here at The Qwillery as much as I am!

Interview with Scott Edelman - March 28, 2015

I am a backer of GENIUS LOCI which is edited by Jaym Gates. You may check out the Kickstarter here.


TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery. What are the challenges in writing in the short form as opposed to the novel length? Are you a plotter or a panther?

Scott:  I don’t think of short fiction as a challenge, but rather, a choice. And one, I think, not entirely of my own making. It’s a matter of taste -- and my taste rules me, rather than me ruling it.

I come away after having read most novels thinking they’re like bread dough which has been allowed to rise too long, filled with air — and not smelling too good either! There are exceptions, of course — I consider John Crowley’s Little, Big a novel which manages to maintain the precision and poetry of a short story for its entire length, but for the most part, novels seem to go on far too long, leaving me to think … couldn’t you have said the same thing in 8,000 words?

I could go on at novel length about the reasons the short story is the superior form, but at the same time I recognize this is only my opinion, and not empirical fact. I’m well aware that there are other readers who look at short stories and think, “Is that all there is? More, please!” But I’m not one of them.

As for plotting vs. pantsing, it depends on the story, but I lean toward pantsing, because I have no interest in building a bridge once I know what’s on the other side. I write the story primarily to find out what the story is and to learn how I feel about the characters and discover what I want the story to mean, and if I already know ALL those things, there’s no need to write it. And while there have been a few stories which have exploded full-blown in my mind, or for which I’ve plotted out each scene in detail before beginning, those are very rare.



TQ:  You've worked as an editor, among other things. How does this affect (or not) your writing?

Scott:  It’s affected my writing in two ways. The first can be applied to life outside of writing as well as writing itself — it’s time-saving to be able to learn from the mistakes of others rather than have to make them oneself. John Campbell, who edited Astounding/Analog from 1937 through 1971, once said that he’d read more bad science fiction than anyone in the world. And there’s a lot to be learned there. As you recoil from what shouldn’t have been done, you learn not to do those things yourself. There’s also a skill to be honed from the stories which are “almosts” as you try to figure out _why_ they didn’t succeed. It’s a valuable tool to then turn to one’s own writing.

But the other result is — I knew (or suspected, anyway) that as a working editor, writers would look at the stories I published and if those stories failed, think — who the Hell is he to think he can judge me? I didn’t want to give people the chance to think that. So I worked even harder to make sure any stories I sent out were the absolute best they could be. Which, of course, one should always do anyway. But that added motivation was helpful to me.



TQ:  Which question about your writing do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Scott:  Sadly, I’m going to fail you here — my interviews have always been so spot-on that I have no burning answer I yearn to give to a question as yet unasked.



TQ:  Describe “And the Trees Were Happy”, which will be published in Genius Loci, in 140 characters or less.

Scott:  That story you had read to you as a kid, that got your parents all weepy? Here's what happens next -- and now it's YOUR turn to get weepy.



TQ:  Tell us something about “And the Trees Were Happy” that will not give away the story.

Scott:  I have read this story live in front of audiences three times, and I've gotten so emotional each time at the story’s ending that I’ve had to pause, or apologize, or had my voice crack and tremble. It’s THAT personal and emotional a story to me. I’m looking forward to find out whether others will be equally as moved.



TQ:  What was your inspiration for “And the Trees Were Happy”? Have you ever encountered a Genius loci?

Scott:  Though I had no idea at first where the story would lead, the setting and protagonist and opening popped into my head the instant I learned of the concept of Jaym’s anthology. That alone was the catalyst I needed, and there was no struggle for an idea. Then it was a matter of living the story with the character until we both came to the inevitable conclusion.

As for personally encountering a genius loci, I believe that all places are haunted, only we are the ones who will the haunting into being. Which — as an aside — is one of the reasons I left New York. There wasn’t a single street I could walk down without memories of all the other times I’d walked there coming to mind. Those past incidents and emotions were always present, always strong, and allowed for no fresh self to be layered over them. So it was time to strike out for a new, blank frontier.



TQ:  Give us one of your favorite non-spoilery lines from “And the Trees Were Happy”.

Scott:  Let’s go with this —

The weight of them was a living thing, and he wondered ... if he rose, if he reached out his hand to pluck one, if he held it to his lips, touched it to his tongue ... would it be as sweet as memory? Could anything ever be?


TQ:  In which genre or genres does “And the Trees Were Happy” fit? In your opinion, are genre classifications still useful?

Scott:  I would classify it as a fantasy, but not of the elves and dragons sort, more the Twilight Zone type, and to parse it further, the bittersweet Twilight Zone type.

I recognize that genre classifications are useful to others, but I tend not to heed them, following writers whose voices I like, rather than the genres in which they write. I will follow a favorite author anywhere.



TQ:  What's next?

Scott:  My other upcoming publication in addition to my Genius Loci story is a 13,000-word zombie tale titled “Becoming Invisible, Becoming Seen,” which will be in the next issue of the quarterly horror magazine Dark Delicacies, currently being printing. Plus there are many written but unsold stories circulating in search of future homes. When they do sell, those who follow my blog will be the first to find out.



TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery!





About Scott Edelman

Interview with Scott Edelman - March 28, 2015
Scott Edelman has published more than 85 short stories in magazines such as Postscripts, The Twilight Zone, Absolute Magnitude, The Journal of Pulse-Pounding Narratives, Science Fiction Review and Fantasy Book, and in anthologies such as Why New Yorkers Smoke, The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction: Volume Three, Crossroads: Southern Tales of the Fantastic, Men Writing SF as Women, MetaHorror, Once Upon a Galaxy, Moon Shots, Mars Probes, Forbidden Planets, Summer Chills, and The Mammoth Book of Monsters. His most recent short story was published in the anthology The Monkey’s Other Paw: Revived Classic Stories of Dread and the Dead.

A collection of his horror fiction, These Words Are Haunted came out from Wildside Books in 2001, and a standalone novella The Hunger of Empty Vessels was published in 2009 by Bad Moon Books. He is also the author of the Lambda Award-nominated novel The Gift (Space & Time, 1990) and the collection Suicide Art (Necronomicon, 1992). His collection of zombie fiction, What Will Come After, came in 2010 from PS Publishing, and was a finalist for both the Stoker Award and the Shirley Jackson Memorial Award. His science fiction short fiction has been collected in What We Still Talk About from Fantastic Books.

He has been a Stoker Award finalist five times, both in the category of Short Story and Long Fiction.

Additionally, Edelman worked for the Syfy Channel for more than thirteen years as editor of Science Fiction Weekly, SCI FI Wire, and Blastr. He was the founding editor of Science Fiction Age, which he edited during its entire eight-year run. He also edited SCI FI magazine, previously known as Sci-Fi Entertainment, for more a decade, as well as two other SF media magazines, Sci-Fi Universe and Sci-Fi Flix. He has been a four-time Hugo Award finalist for Best Editor.

Website  ~  Blog  ~  Twitter @scottedelman  ~  Pinterest

Interview with Laura Anne Gilman - March 28, 2015


Please welcome Laura Anne Gilman to The Qwillery. “Heartbeat” will be published in GENIUS LOCI: Tales of the Spirit of Place from Ragnarok Publications.

This is the fifth in a series of interviews with many of the authors and the artists involved in GENIUS LOCI. I hope you enjoy meeting them here at The Qwillery as much as I am!

Interview with Laura Anne Gilman - March 28, 2015

I am a backer of GENIUS LOCI which is edited by Jaym Gates. You may check out the Kickstarter here.


TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery. What are the challenges in writing in the short form as opposed to the novel length?

Laura Anne:  It's very similar to the difference between running down to the store for something, and taking a week-long road trip. For the first, you have a pretty good idea of what you're going to get (say) and where the store is, but sometimes you get there and you discover oh, I needed to say that, too, and pick up this and... and sometimes you get delayed by traffic, but you're pretty sure you'll get home in time for dinner.

For a novel, you've got to make sure you've got your shit in order. Is the car gassed up? Do you have maps? Your AAA card? Music playlist? Idea of where you're going to stop each night, even if only a vague area, and a list of things you want to do along the way? And you're pretty sure you know where you're going but are aware that if something catches your eye, you can take another day or so to follow up on it, and oh hey, look at that, we thought we were on a road but we're actually driving across a field in the middle of the night light only by the headlights, let's try to get back on the road, and who ate the last protein bar?

That's the difference, pretty much.



TQ:  Which question about your writing do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Laura Anne:  eeeek. Um... the magic systems in your book seem to have, at heart, a logical, almost scientific origin - the "electrical base" of the Cosa Nostradamus, the agricultural magic of the Vineart War trilogy. Why is that?

Everyone, when they try to create a fantasy world, they know to build the magic into the culture, the daily lives... but a lot of times people forget to build it into the science of the world, too. So when I work on a magic system, I start with the natural sciences, and build up. It's fun for me (geeky research!) and I've found that once I have the scientific basis for something, my research keeps turning up new, cool things that fit within that world...

I am all about the geeky researching.



TQ:  Describe “Heartbeat”, which will be published in Genius Loci, in 140 characters or less.

Laura Anne:  Out in the middle of nowhere, some things look too closely at the human soul...



TQ:  Tell us something about “Heartbeat” that will not give away the story.

Laura Anne:  Geology buffs might get an extra kick out of it. And by kick I mean a shiver down the spine.



TQ:  What was your inspiration for “Heartbeat”? Have you ever encountered a Genius loci?

Laura Anne:  The inspiration was a road trip I took through Kansas last summer. A spur-of-the-moment side trip took us down a long dirt road....

I can't swear that I ever have encountered one... but I'd lay good money I've been in the presence of a few, if you see the difference. There was a pine forest where I went to summer camp; it was entirely human-planted and maintained, but there was a sensation there, especially late at night, that wasn't human at all. And I'm convinced that there's something very old, and very angry, deep in the sands under Jerusalem. The city, beautiful as it is, gave me the spooks.



TQ:  Give us one of your favorite non-spoilery lines from “Heartbeat”.

Laura Anne:  "Only the curious come down here, past the chestnut-red bulk of cows and the narrow ditches, down the long long road."



TQ:  In which genre or genres does “Heartbeat” fit? In your opinion, are genre classifications still useful?

Laura Anne:  Oh.... ghost story, a little. And yeah, classifications are useful - it's like any classification system, it gives you a general area to start looking. But I don't take it seriously, beyond that. Most of my work, it straddles categories, sometimes it square dances with a bunch of them. Swing your partner, do something new.



TQ:  What's next?

Laura Anne:  Next up.... my alter ego, L.A. Kornetsky, has a mystery coming out this spring - Clawed. The series is set in a Seattle bar, and they're a lot of fun - and had a lot to do with me moving to Seattle last year. and then in October, there's SILVER ON THE ROAD, which is something new for me - playing with North American history, divergent history, and a touch of what I've been calling magical practicalism, about a young woman in a world where the fantastic is completely entwined with the pragmatic. There have been a couple of short stories set in this world, the Devil's West, but this is the first novel-length work, and I'm really rather obnoxiously excited about it...

And it has the most perfect, gorgeous cover!



TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.





About Laura Anne Gilman

Interview with Laura Anne Gilman - March 28, 2015
Photo © 2009 Elsa M. Ruiz
Laura Anne is the author of the popular Cosa Nostradamus novels and novellas, and the award-nominated The Vineart War trilogy. Her next project is SILVER ON THE ROAD, the first in the Devil’s West series from Saga / Simon & Schuster, beginning in October 2015.

She has also dipped her pen into the mystery field as well, writing as L.A. Kornetsky (Collared, Fixed, Doghouse, and the forthcoming Clawed).

A member of the writers’ digital co-op Book View Cafe, she continues to write and sell short fiction in a variety of genres, selling most recently to the anthologies Genius Loci and Temporally Out of Order (2015).

Website ~ Blog ~ Twitter @LAGilman ~ Tumblr



Interview with Rebecca Campbell - March 28, 2015


Please welcome Rebecca Campbell to The Qwillery. “The Other Shore” will be published in GENIUS LOCI: Tales of the Spirit of Place from Ragnarok Publications.

This is the fourth in a series of interviews with many of the authors and the artists involved in GENIUS LOCI. I hope you enjoy meeting them here at The Qwillery as much as I am!

Interview with Rebecca Campbell - March 28, 2015

I am a backer of GENIUS LOCI which is edited by Jaym Gates. You may check out the Kickstarter here.


TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery. What are the challenges in writing in the short form as opposed to the novel length? Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Rebecca:  Economy. I’m not an economical writer, so short fiction is a necessary discipline for me. I like the sprawl of a novel, but for the last two years I’ve focused on short fiction because I need that discipline.

And I’m absolutely a pantser! If I know too much about where a story is going I lose interest in writing it.



TQ:  Who are some of your favorite authors and literary influences?

Rebecca:  My favourite authors: Haruki Murakami, George Eliot, Angela Carter, Ursula K LeGuin, Kazuo Ishiguro. I hope they’re influences, but mostly I think I’m just a happy fan of their work.

I also don’t think I’ll ever get out from under the shadow of my early favourites: SF and Fantasy novels by Susan Cooper, John Wyndham, E Nesbit, Alison Utley. I feel a lot of their influence in my speculative fiction.



TQ:  Which question about your writing do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Rebecca:  I had to think about this one. I wish someone would ask me about how my academic research informs my creative work, because I’m interested in the question. But I don’t quite know what the answer is, except that my research has left me thinking about how we manage information, how we digest it and make sense of when we’re overwhelmed by the massive archive available. Sometimes I feel like I write fiction because it’s easier to make sense of ideas through stories than through the kind of analysis I’ve been trained to do.



TQ:  Describe “The Other Shore”, which will be published in Genius Loci, in 140 characters or less.

Rebecca:  “The Other Shore” is about someone who has lived on British Columbia’s south coast for a very very VERY long time, and has seen a lot of people come and go.



TQ:  Tell us something about “The Other Shore” that will not give away the story.

Rebecca:  I wrote the story because I wanted to capture this feeling I’ve found in literature about encounters with other sorts of beings. Daphne DuMaurier’s “Not after Midnight” and the poem “The God Abandons Anthony” by CP Cavafy (and the anecdote about Mark Anthony that inspired it) are really excellent examples. I love stories about the qualitative difference between human and superhuman consciousness, the sense that both texts describe entities that have a different way of knowing the world, which may overwhelm a regular human consciousness if we are unlucky enough to meet it at the wrong time.



TQ:  What was your inspiration for “The Other Shore”? Have you ever encountered a Genius loci?

Rebecca:  My inspiration is almost always my exile’s love for the Pacific coast. I grew up in a fairly rural area on an island, and my dream topography is still there: the stretch of road between my house and my grandparents’ home, the parks and beaches, the trees, the mountains.

As for whether I’ve met a Genius loci… maybe? I wouldn’t want to presume to say…



TQ:  Give us one of your favorite non-spoilery lines from “The Other Shore”.

Rebecca:

“…the kids are now emerging from the afternoon, caped in beach towels, their parents laden with coolers, laden also with radiation and its malignant gleam. On my way to Charlie’s table with ketchup bottles and malt vinegar I stop to watch the kids climb toward the ice cream shop and wish I could tell them to fill their mouths with seawater and then order a double cone, so salt might render the ice cream sweeter than anything that has ever existed.”



TQ:   In which genre or genres does “The Other Shore” fit? In your opinion, are genre classifications still useful?

Rebecca:  “The Other Shore” is definitely fantasy.

I like genre classifications a lot. I think they set up readers’ expectations, and they also invoke a whole literary history in their conventions and concerns. That said, they’re also pretty fluid, and there’s a lot of crossover—I’m sure a lot of us would like to write with Alice Munroe’s insight and economy, Ursula le Guin’s scope, and Angela Carter’s sense of the ridiculous, right?



TQ:  What's next?

Rebecca:  I’m excited to say I’m headed to Clarion West this summer. And I have some stories coming out in Lackington’s and Beneath Ceaseless Skies that touch a little on the same landscape. Maybe I’m haunted?

And I kind of can’t wait to sit down with Genius Loci and read it!



TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Rebecca:  Thank you for having me! And thank you for supporting what will be, I know, a really original and beautiful anthology!





About Rebecca

Interview with Rebecca Campbell - March 28, 2015
Rebecca Campbell is a Canadian writer and academic. NeWest Press published her first novel, The Paradise Engine, in 2013. Occasionally she posts things over at whereishere.ca.











Twitter @canadianist


Interview with Chaz Brenchley - March 28, 2015


Please welcome Chaz Brenchley to The Qwillery. “Afterparty” will be published in GENIUS LOCI: Tales of the Spirit of Place from Ragnarok Publications.

This is the third in a series of interviews with many of the authors and the artists involved in GENIUS LOCI. I hope you enjoy meeting them here at The Qwillery as much as I am!

Interview with Chaz Brenchley - March 28, 2015

I am a backer of GENIUS LOCI which is edited by Jaym Gates. You may check out the Kickstarter here.


TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery. What are the challenges in writing in the short form as opposed to the novel length? Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Chaz:  I’m totally a pantser, at any length. I like to start with a title, a first line and preferably a last line too; between those points, the story is the journey and the author and the reader take the same path at the same pace, hand in hand. For me, the challenges of the short story all hinge around that seductive weasel-word “short”. The briefest of encounters has implicit back-stories the length of the characters’ lives; I always want to explore more than the space allows. Which means that I overwrite, every time, and have to cut back: which means (a) that I’m really good at cutting, and (b) that my stories are almost always at the maximum length for any given publication.



TQ:  Which question about your writing do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

Chaz:  “Chaz, when are you going to write a cookbook?” - oh, no, wait. People ask me that all the time. Similarly, when am I going to write the third Ben Macallan book (in either iteration, as novelist or character). Actually what I’d really like right now would be for someone to ask “Chaz, have you finally stopped writing about Quin? Now that you’ve described his dying, his death, his funeral and what came after? Frequently more than once?”

Because then I could say “When I wrote ‘Afterparty’, I did actually think it might be the last of the Quin stories. Except... I have this novel in my head. I have always had a novel in my head, to be honest, that all these stories were preludes to; but now I have it fairly solidly fixed, and I would quite like the chance to write that. No hurry, though.”



TQ:  Describe “Afterparty”, which will be published in Genius Loci, in 140 characters or less.

Chaz:  In 140 characters or fewer [he corrected, smugly]: “Afterparty” is a disconcertingly hopeful story set in the aftermath of a death long awaited and the break-up of a household. It’s all about continuity and survival. [And that - more smugly still! - is 139 characters, and I didn’t have to cut a single letter. Maybe I’m getting the hang of this writing-to-length, after 38 years in the trade...?]



TQ:  Tell us something about “Afterparty” that will not give away the story.

Chaz:  There’s always another boy, coming out of the wood. And always someone there for him to find, a house to find his way to. Is that too cryptic? Let’s take another angle: Quin has died and been buried, that story’s over; and now his partner is selling up and moving on, another story over, and the team of friends who nursed Quin through his last illness has gathered one last time to help Gerard pack up the house and say goodbye. With all that that implies.



TQ:  What was your inspiration for “Afterparty”? Have you ever encountered a Genius loci?

Chaz:  Twenty years ago I spent a year doing exactly this, helping an old friend die in his own home, and then dealing with the damage afterwards. I’ve been writing about it ever since; there’s a whole sequence of stories about Quin and the people around him. So there’s that.

But all the best stories have more than one source - and I grew up in Oxford, back in the ’60s and ’70s, before it became a London dormitory. Half the city is mediaeval, and in those days you could run in and out of the colleges at will; every other building had its own particular spirit, and not only the buildings. My mother’s best friend lived - in a wheelchair, with her female partner - in a row of houses bordering a park, with a wild wood at the end of the lane. I did a lot of my growing-up in that wood, one way and another; and I totally stole it, for this story.



TQ:  Give us one of your favorite non-spoilery lines from “Afterparty”.

Chaz:  There’s enough wood there for kids to scare themselves, for teenagers to hang out and hide up, for older men - us - to take a walk, take a break when things got too much with Quin and the park below was just too open and exposed. Trauma nurtures the furtive in all of us; at one time or another we all need to run for cover.



TQ:  In which genre or genres does “Afterparty” fit? In your opinion, are genre classifications still useful?

Chaz:  Oddly for stories about Quin, it’s really not a ghost story; the dead make no appearance. I’m not sure “packing up and moving on, with echoes” is actually a genre in itself, though maybe it ought to be. But I always have straddled genres rather awkwardly; people used to say that my mysteries were really horror, my horror stories were really fantasy and my fantasies were really mysteries. Me, I just call them all stories; they come from the same place, and speak to the same truths. What would be the point of writing about the supernatural, if not to describe the mundane and everyday?



TQ:  You're a "notorious foodie" according to your website. Which dish should be served with "Afterparty"?

Chaz:  Easy one. Quin’s one of the men who taught me to cook; the story talks about that. With an example. It’s the first meal I remember his cooking for me, way back when: pork tenderloin and mushrooms, sautéed and then flambéed in brandy, sauced with cream; green beans in butter; a loaf of fresh bread and a bottle of Sancerre. Dead simple, utterly delicious, and I stood in awe.



TQ:  What's next?

Chaz:  Right now I have two books out: a queer-themed short story collection, Bitter Waters, which includes many of the Quin stories; and a short novel, Being Small, which is again about Quin (and about growing up with a dead twin and a mad mother). But what comes next is Kipling on Mars. That’s actually shorthand for a whole huge project that I’m calling Mars Imperial, which postulates that Mars is a province of the British Empire. Which includes aliens and aetherships and all sorts. The first story will be in Gardner Dozois’ Year’s Best SF anthology; the second will appear shortly; and meanwhile I’m working on the first novel, Mars Beneath. Featuring Rudyard Kipling. But I keep getting interrupted by - ooh, y’know? if Mars were a province of the British Empire, T E Lawrence would so have gone there! And so would Oscar Wilde! And, and, and...

Seriously, I could write this stuff for the rest of my life and not be done.



TQ:   Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

Chaz:  Hey, thank you for having me. It’s been fun.





About Chaz Brenchley

Interview with Chaz Brenchley - March 28, 2015
Chaz Brenchley has been making a living as a writer since the age of eighteen. He is the author of nine thrillers, most recently Shelter; two fantasy series, The Books of Outremer and Selling Water by the River; and two ghost stories, House of Doors and House of Bells. As Daniel Fox, he has published a Chinese-based fantasy series, beginning with Dragon in Chains; as Ben Macallan an urban fantasy series, beginning with Desdaemona. A British Fantasy Award winner, he has also published books for children and more than 500 short stories in various genres. 2014 saw publication of two new books, a short novel - Being Small - and a collection, Bitter Waters. His time as crimewriter-in-residence on a sculpture project in Sunderland resulted in the earlier collection Blood Waters. His first play, A Cold Coming, premiered and toured in 2007. He is a prizewinning ex-poet, and has been writer in residence at the University of Northumbria. He was Northern Writer of the Year 2000. Chaz has recently married and moved from Newcastle to California, with two squabbling cats and a famous teddy bear.

Website  ~   Facebook  ~  Twitter @ChazBrenchley

Interview with J. Daniel Batt - March 28, 2015


Please welcome J. Daniel Batt to The Qwillery. “Ouroboros in Orbit” will be published in GENIUS LOCI: Tales of the Spirit of Place from Ragnarok Publications.

This is the second in a series of interviews with many of the authors and the artists involved in GENIUS LOCI. I hope you enjoy meeting them here at The Qwillery as much as I am!

Interview with J. Daniel Batt - March 28, 2015

I am a backer of GENIUS LOCI which is edited by Jaym Gates. You may check out the Kickstarter here.


TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery. What are the challenges in writing in the short form as opposed to the novel length? Are you a plotter or a pantser?

JDB:  The biggest challenge of writing short fiction is the “short” part. The story I’m working on now was intended to be only 4000 words. I’m not even halfway through and I’m at about 5000 words. I think that’s why I lean towards flash fiction. Either I’m going to write something that’s truly short (1000 words) or it drifts past the 10k mark fast. I do like flash fiction however. I like the ability to create an entire world in a very short space. I find I’m a bit more experimental in my flash fiction pieces. Perhaps it’s because it’s so short, I can risk do something different. I tend to be too safe in my longer fiction.

I do flip between plotting and “by-the-seat-of-my-pants” writing. The Tales of Dreamside series was fully plotted and stayed remarkably close to what I had outline. My upcoming novel, The Young Gods, was completely thrown on the page as it came to my mind. There were moments after moment I was surprised by what happened. I remember coming out of my office halfway through, shocked and silent. My wife comes running over, asking, “Are you okay? What happened?” I answered, “________ just died.” She stepped back and snickered, “That’s just a character in your book.” And I replied, “Ya, but I wasn’t expecting it.”



TQ: Who are some of your favorite writers and literary influences?

JDB:  I like works that bend the borders of genre. I am a fan of Ken Scholes’ The Psalms of Isaak because of the mix of fantasy and science fiction. For the same reason, The Book of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe is highly influential. Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series also does a brilliant blend of fantasy, science fiction, western, and horror. I enjoy reading works that push these boundaries. I’m also a fan of non-western inspired fantasy and mythologies. For authors that have influenced me, the list is too long. Often it’s what I’m reading at the moment. On my bedstand, I have Anne Rice’s latest, a copy of Let Me In, a Terry Pratchett book, and a diary from the Terezin concentration camp. I have a feeling all of these will end up mixed together in the next thing I write. Without a doubt, King is probably the most significant influence on my writing. I’ve turned to Stephen King’s work. Truly, King is my “unmet” mentor and the master craftsperson I’ve followed. I’ve read all of his works (multiple times over) and diligently absorbed all of his writing advice and guidance. It’s difficult for me to think of a better text to start this discussion with as for years (far over a decade), I’ve seen King as the model of the master writer and have tried to glean all I can from him. I’ve taken his works, in particular The Gunslinger, and scribbled my thoughts about his technique in the margins. I’ve actually diagrammed sentences of his I found particularly effective. I’ve sat for years at his feet.



TQ: Which question about your writing do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

JDB:  What’s the novel you haven’t written yet that’s burning to be written?

I have a novel idea of a young boy that wakes up alone on an interstellar ship. There are others, but they’re all dead. It’s him. Him and the robots. It’s a Robinson Crusoe in space. And then the knocking begins.



TQ: Describe “Ouroboros in Orbit”, which will be published in Genius Loci, in 140 characters or less.

JDB:  Far above our world, the world-serpent Ouroboros floats, waiting, protecting each life below as if it was its own.



TQ: Tell us something about “Ouroboros in Orbit” that will not give away the story.

JDB:  Why have we not met the voyagers from other planets? What prevents them from coming here?



TQ: What was your inspiration for “Ouroboros in Orbit”? Have you ever encountered a Genius loci?

JDB:  “Ouroboros in Orbit” came about from the theme of the anthology. The idea of a spirit attached to a physical space was interesting and I wanted to stretch that as far as possible. The first ideas was a haunted house but I wanted to go bigger. A spirit of the land? A country? The world? I know the Gaia myths, but thought that risked being cliche. In so many mythologies and early belief systems, the idea of a great world serpent is present. In Norse myth, it is Jormungandr. In Egypt, Ouroboros. There are tribes is South America that belief the waters that circle the world are inhabited by a giant anaconda. How amazing would it be to come upon a planet with a giant spirit snake in orbit?



TQ: Give us one of your favorite non-spoilery lines from “Ouroboros in Orbit”.

JDB:  Yet, there had been nothing like this. A world guarded by a spirit. A world whose soul wrapped around itself in wait.



TQ: In which genre or genres does “Ouroboros in Orbit” fit? In your opinion, are genre classifications still useful?

JDB:  The story spun out from my fascination with mythology and science fiction. So it’s part fantasy and part science fiction. It really doesn’t fit a single genre. Genre is important so we can help others find more things they enjoy reading (“if you like this, try this”). It also gives us rules that we can bend and break. Crossing genres is a great writing tool!



TQ: What's next?

JDB:  I’m in the middle of a few short pieces. My upcoming novel The Young Gods will be released later this year from Realmwalker Publishing. I’m editing an anthology that will be published by the Lifeboat Foundation titled Visions of the Future with some great works from some absolutely amazing authors like Greg Bear, Allen Steele, and Alan Dean Foster. A bit geeked over this project!



TQ: Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.





About J. Daniel Batt

Interview with J. Daniel Batt - March 28, 2015
J. Daniel Batt is a recovering high school English teacher with a degree in Language Arts. He is finishing his MFA in Creative Writing through National University. Jason and his wife Karen have three children: two boys, Tristan and Keaghan, and one girl, Aisleyn.

He works with the 100 Year Starship as their Creative and Editorial Director. In this role, he works to bridge the gap between scientists and science fiction writers. He is also the editor for the 2012, 2013, and 2014 Symposium Conference Proceedings, a collection of nearly 2000 pages of the latest research and thought about interstellar exploration and travel. He is the organizer of their annual Science Fiction Night, “Telling the Story,” bringing science fiction authors and scientists together to discuss the impact of science fiction on space exploration, and the lead for the upcoming Canopus Awards, celebrating the best in interstellar writing, both fiction and non-fiction.

He serves on the Advisory Board for the Lifeboat Foundation with their Media/Arts Board, Futurism Board, and the Space Settlement Board. He served as a judge for the Lifeboat to the Stars award for science fiction literature presented at the 2013 Campbell Conference. Through the Lifeboat Foundation, he is currently editing their science fiction anthology titled Visions of the Future with stories from a wide array of authors including Greg Bear, Allen Steele, Robert Sawyer, Alan Dean Foster, Hugh Howey and many others.

His short fiction has appeared in Bastion Magazine, Bewildering Stories, and in the upcoming anthology (Genius Loci). He also does marketing writing for television and film. In this role, he has written viewer discussion guides for the History Channel for The Bible mini-series, marketing material for Netflix’s Veggie Tales in the House, social justice viewer discussion guides for The Good Lie film starring Reese Witherspoon, and the full marketing kit for the upcoming film Little Boy starring Kevin James.

He is on Twitter at twitter.com/jdanielbatt and online at jdanielbatt.com.

Interview with Damien Angelica Walters - March 27, 2015


Please welcome Damien Angelica Walters to The Qwillery. “In the Water, Underneath” will be published in GENIUS LOCI: Tales of the Spirit of Place from Ragnarok Publications.

This is the first in a series of interviews with many of the authors and the artists involved in GENIUS LOCI. I hope you enjoy meeting them here at The Qwillery as much as I am!

Interview with Damien Angelica Walters - March 27, 2015

I am a backer of GENIUS LOCI which is edited by Jaym Gates. You may check out the Kickstarter here.


TQ:  Welcome to The Qwillery. What are the challenges in writing in the short form as opposed to the novel length? Are you a plotter or a pantser?

DAW:  Thank you! I prefer writing short fiction. While writing a novel allows you to spend more time with a character or group of character, short fiction allows you to experiment with form and voice and tense and points of view in ways you can’t with longer work.

For a long time, I was a pantser. Over the last year or so, though, I’ve been doing more planning and more note-taking before writing, but I’m not certain if that truly qualifies me as a plotter. I suspect I’m somewhere in between.



TQ:  You've worked as an editor. How does this affect (or not) your writing?

DAW:  I think it’s helped me craft stronger stories, and it’s definitely made me a better editor of my own work.



TQ:  Which question about your writing do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!

DAW:  Longhand or keyboard and Word doc? I used to rely solely on the latter, from first draft to final, using Track Changes and rarely printing things out. Now I do most of my first drafts longhand and when I’m ready to do my final edits, I print the story out and attack it with my pen of doom. Said pen must be fine point and must have blue ink.


TQ:  Describe “In the Water, Underneath”, which will be published in Genius Loci, in 140 characters or less.

DAW:  Will it send you screaming if I admit that my nickname for the story is 50 Shades of the Chesapeake Bay?



TQ:  Tell us something about “In the Water, Underneath” that will not give away the story.

DAW:  It was an uncomfortable story to write because the tone and some of the language is intentionally provocative and disquieting.



TQ:   What was your inspiration for “In the Water, Underneath”? Have you ever encountered a Genius loci?

DAW:  I stumbled upon an article about the last house standing on Holland Island in the Chesapeake Bay and the accompanying photograph was haunting: a single house on a bit of land that was slowly eroding around it.

I think places often have a feel, especially places that have seen turmoil or the ugliness of humankind, but I suspect it’s more that our memories and knowledge of what took place there have imbued such places with feeling rather than the place itself. That being said, large bodies of water always hold a sense of peace for me. I’m lucky to live near Annapolis in Maryland and have friends with boats, and even when the Chesapeake Bay is choppy, there’s something innately calming about it.


TQ:   Give us one of your favorite non-spoilery lines from “In the Water, Underneath”.

DAWI struggle to hold what’s left, but he is relentless and hungry, always hungry.



TQ:   In which genre or genres does “In the Water, Underneath” fit? In your opinion, are genre classifications still useful?

DAW:  “In the Water, Underneath” would be either dark fantasy or horror, depending on your definition of such things. I think genre classifications can be useful for readers but sometimes limiting to writers.



TQ:  What's next?

DAWSing Me Your Scars, a collection of my short fiction, was just released from Apex Publications, and later this year, Paper Tigers, a novel, will be released from Dark House Press. I also have short fiction forthcoming in several anthologies and magazines, including the UK zine Black Static, Cassilda’s Song, edited by Joe Pulver, a King in Yellow anthology of all new stories written by women, and The Mammoth Book of Cthulhu: New Lovecraftian Fiction, edited by Paula Guran.


TQ:  Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.

DAW:  Thank you very much for having me here!





About the Author

Interview with Damien Angelica Walters - March 27, 2015
Damien Angelica Walters’ short fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in various anthologies and magazines, including The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror 2015, Year’s Best Weird Fiction Volume One, Nightmare, Strange Horizons, and Apex. “The Floating Girls: A Documentary,” originally published in Jamais Vu, is on the 2014 Bram Stoker Award ballot for Superior Achievement in Short Fiction. You can find her on Twitter @DamienAWalters or online at http://damienangelicawalters.com.



Guest Blog by Seth Skorkowsky - So We Saved the World...Now What? - March 21, 2015


Please welcome Seth Skorkowsky to The Qwillery. Seth has a two novels out this month: Hounacier (Valducan 2) and Mountain of Daggers (Tales of the Black Raven 1). Both novels are published by Ragnarok Publications.



Guest Blog by Seth Skorkowsky - So We Saved the World...Now What? - March 21, 2015




So We Saved the World...Now What?

It seems that many sequels subscribe to the formula that every installment should up the stakes from the previous one. We need a bigger threat, a harder foe, and a greater risk for the heroes — that's the formula. Hollywood has made billions with it.

Dämoren was an international action novel that (SPOILERS) ends with the surviving heroes saving the world from a giant monster/demigoddess and an army of demons. It doesn't get much bigger than that. So what now? Am I to offer my readers TWO giant demigoddesses and an even bigger demonic army to escalate the stakes? That sounds like a bigger obstacle, sure. It also sounds terribly boring.

I don't want my Valducan books to be something that can be summarized as the, "Save The World From Monsters" stories. The series is about the Valducan knights and their demon-hunting adventures with their holy weapons. So instead of making the stakes bigger, I decided to make them personal.

Hounacier changes the game by focusing a different knight: Malcolm Romero. Readers will remember Mal from Dämoren, but he was a character that we never really got to know that well. He butted heads with Matt Hollis and because of that, he butted heads with the readers, too. Now we get to follow him and learn who he is and where he came from. The novel follows Malcolm as he attempts to solve the murder of his adopted father and mentor, and then as things go from bad to worse, Malcolm struggles to save his very soul.

While Dämoren took place in five countries, the majority of Hounacier is set in the city of New Orleans. I'd hinted at Malcolm's expertise on that city in the first book, and of his relationship with voodoo. Now we get to fully explore those things, and see how he operates in that particular world.

We still have monsters, actions, and twists, but we're not plotting along the same path as before. We're expanding the world that we've already been introduced to, and we're going to see it much more intimately than we could have before.

The stakes are big, the emotion is intense, and (in my slightly biased opinion) the story is engaging. Bigger does not mean better. Better means better.





Valducan

Hounacier
Valducan 2
Ragnarok Publications, March 14, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 287 pages
Cover by J.M. Martin

Guest Blog by Seth Skorkowsky - So We Saved the World...Now What? - March 21, 2015
Eleven years ago, atheist MALCOLM ROMERO met a god. Now he’s a demon-hunting voodoo priest armed with a holy machete named Hounacier.

After the murder of his mentor, he returns to New Orleans to catch the killer. But more is at stake when Malcolm finds himself betrayed, and his holy blade stolen. Now Malcolm’s only hope to save his soul and to recover HOUNACIER, is the Valducan knight sent to kill him, MATT HOLLIS, the wielder of the holy revolver DÄMOREN.


Dämoren
Valducan 1
Ragnarok Publications, April 14, 2014
Trade Paperback and eBook, 320 Pages
Cover by J.M. Martin

Guest Blog by Seth Skorkowsky - So We Saved the World...Now What? - March 21, 2015
Fourteen years ago a pack of wendigos killed Matt Hollis’ family and damned his soul. Now, Matt is a demon hunter armed with a holy revolver named Dämoren.

After a violent series of murders leaves only fifty holy weapons in the world, Matt is recruited by the Valducans, an ancient order of demon hunters. Many of the knights do not trust him because he is possessed. When sabotage and assassinations begin, the Valducans know there is a spy in their ranks, and Matt becomes the core of their suspicions. Desperate to prove himself, and to protect Dämoren, Matt fights to gain their trust and discover the nature of the entity residing within him.




Tales of the Black Raven

Mountain of Daggers
Tales of the Black Raven 1
Ragnarok Publications, March 9, 2015
Trade Paperback and eBook, 294 pages
Cover by Alex Raspad 

Guest Blog by Seth Skorkowsky - So We Saved the World...Now What? - March 21, 2015
Some call him hero. Others, a menace. But everyone agrees that Ahren is the best thief in the world. Whether he’s breaking into an impregnable fortress, fighting pirates, or striking the final blow in political war, Ahren is the man for the job.

After being framed for murder, his reward posters named him the Black Raven. To survive, Ahren finds himself drafted into the Tyenee, a secret criminal organization whose influence stretches across the world. Their missions are the most daring, the most dangerous, and the penalty for failure is death. When no one else can do it, they send the Black Raven.





About Seth

Guest Blog by Seth Skorkowsky - So We Saved the World...Now What? - March 21, 2015
Seth Skorkowsky was born in Texas in 1978. He currently lives in Denton, Texas, with his wife, and works for the University of North Texas. His short story "The Mist of Lichthafen" was nominated for a British Fantasy Award (long list) in 2009. Dämoren is Seth's debut novel and was recently nominated and shortlisted for the Reddit Fantasy Stabby Award for "Best Debut Novel."

He recently signed a two-book deal with Ragnarok for his "Black Raven" sword-and-sorcery collection. When not writing, Seth enjoys travel, shooting, and tabletop gaming.


Website  ~  Twitter @SSkorkowsky   ~  Facebook

Interview with Steven S. Long - March 29, 2015Interview with Thoraiya Dyer - March 29, 2015Interview with Haralambi Markov - March 29, 2015Interview with Scott Edelman - March 28, 2015Interview with Laura Anne Gilman - March 28, 2015Interview with Rebecca Campbell - March 28, 2015Interview with Chaz Brenchley - March 28, 2015Interview with J. Daniel Batt - March 28, 2015Interview with Damien Angelica Walters - March 27, 2015Guest Blog by Seth Skorkowsky - So We Saved the World...Now What? - March 21, 2015

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