Archive for the ‘interviews’ Category
You read their book, and you thought it was really cool. Why not learn more about the author? Here’s some recent interviews online of authors whose work has received rave reviews. Check ‘em out!
SFSignal has an ongoing series of interviews of the authors found in the Apex Book of World SF. So far they’ve interviewed Karin Tidbeck and Athena Andreadis, Silvia Moreno-Garcia and Benjanun Sriduangkaew, Myra Cakan and Nelly Geraldine García-Rosas, and Fadzlishah Johanabas and Ika Koeck. You can check this link for updates!
Also over at SFSignal, Neil Clarke (editor and creator of Clarkesworld Magazine) gets interviewed about his new anthology Upgraded.
My Bookish Ways interviews Dan Abnett and Nik Vincent about Fiefdom
Amazing Stories interviews Hal Duncan
Adventures of a Bookonaut interviews Michelle E. Goldsmith
Ebon Shores interviews Cheryl Morgan
Liberty Voice interviews Michael West
Dab of Darkness interviews David Lee Summers
Words and Pictures interviews Liz De Jager
The Black Library interviews David Annandale
Randomly Yours, Alex, interviews Kathleen Jennings
Bloody Cake News interviews Sebastien De Castell
I recently read and reviewed Pen Pal, a most extraordinary novel by Francesca Forrest. Click here to read my review of Pen Pal, but the super quick summary is that this epistolary novel focuses around the relationship between a girl named Em who lives in a floating community off the Gulf Coast, and Kaya, a political prisoner. Through Em’s letters and descriptions of her life, Kaya realizes she may have more in common with this girl than she thought. This is a powerful and profound story of marginalization and empowerment.
Francesca was kind enough to answer a few of my questions about the novel, living in Japan, indie publishing, and her passion for helping preserve native and minority languages.
Let’s get to the interview!
LRR: The novel is written in an epistolary fashion, with letters, diary entries, e-mails, even newspaper articles. Why did you decide to present the story that way?
FF: The novel grew out of a story that evolved on Livejournal. Em’s message in a bottle, was just as an idea that came to me one morning, and people wanted more. I had had the idea of Kaya in my head for years, and I thought, what if she were the one who answered? So a few days later I posted her response. And then, every few days, I’d post another letter. I really loved the format and thought it worked well for a serialization because the wait for the next post gave the readers the experience of waiting for the next letter, just like the characters.
When I decided to turn it into a novel, I decided to supplement the letters with diary entries and other “evidence” so I could tell a richer story. I think it’s interesting to think about what people choose to reveal where, and to whom, and I tried to play with that with the characters’ letters to different people, and with how what they write in their diaries differs from what they say in their letters.
LRR: Can you tell us a little about how this story came together, and what your inspirations were?
FF: Kaya’s story grew from two dreams I had: one in which a witch, or maybe a goddess, asked me to resurrect a defunct festival in her honor, and one in which a priestess was held prisoner in temple over a volcanic crater. I asked myself how those situations could be tied together, and that got me thinking about cultural suppression and why and how it happens—and then I could see how there’d be parallels to the situation of Em, whose community floats alongside, but keeps apart from, dry-land society. Other inspirations: I was enchanted, long ago, when I heard of jubilee, an event that happens fairly regularly in Mobile Bay, Alabama, and occasionally elsewhere: fish flood the shallow waters near shore so thickly that you can go out and just scoop them up by the armful. This became the dawn of seagifts in Pen Pal. And I was inspired, too, by the story of the pen pal correspondence I mention on the Pen Pal website, between Manuel Noriega, back when he ruled Panama, and Sarah York, a young American girl. That story raised so many questions about adult and child interactions, ulterior motives, and the intersection of the personal and the political.
After reading Jason’s short story collection Irredeemable (watch for the review later today!), I was brimming with questions for him. The interview below just scratches the surface of everything I wanted to know about the collection, where his ideas come from, all the other projects he’s involved in. Luckily I’ll have plenty of time to question and pester him later this year when I see him at ConText! And if you’ve got questions yourself, be sure to pester Jason on twitter, @apexjason. We should probably ask him when he finds time to sleep. ;)
Let’s get to the interview!
LRR: You know those “book blind dates” at bookstores, where they cover a book in brown paper, and write things on the paper like “historical fiction!”, “dinosaurs!” and “ray guns!”? What should go on the outside of Irredeemable when it’s covered up to be a book blind date?
J.S.: “Just deserts!”
LRR: What are some of your favorite stories in the collection? Which ones were the most challenging to write?
J.S.: As a huge geek and software developer, I find myself interested in issues involving artificial intelligence and evolving consciousness. “Mr. Templar” is my post-apocalyptic take on that concept where humans destroy the world and only a small handful of androids and robots still exist. Mr. Templar is searching for his creator. It is a bittersweet, touching, and charming story, and by far my favorite.
The most challenging to write was “For the Sake of Pleasing.” I wanted to write something longer than 10,000 words outside a sub-genre I usually write in. At the time, I was reading the Night Watch series by Sergei Lukyanenko, and wanted to try my hand at a dark fantasy similar to his. It took me months to get “For the Sake of Pleasing” to a point that made me happy.
The other day I reviewed the second issue of a brand new short fiction magazine, Bastion Magazine. I was impressed by the quality of the short stories, but what was most remarkable was the sheer quantity of fiction the editor and staff insist on in each issue. Most of the stories are short, 5,000 words or less, but still, eight or nine in each issue? Great for the reader for sure, but that is a ton of work for any editorial team! I wanted to learn more about the magazine, and lucky for me, R. Leigh offered to tell me a bit about himself and answer a few of my questions!
R. Leigh Hennig recently moved with his wife and three young children from Rura Penthe, er, Rochester, NY to Seattle. Leigh works as a network engineer by day, and when he’s not working on Bastion in the night, he’s writing his own short stories as well. He’s also an avid soccer fanatic (center back for his Tuesday night team — a defensive rock, and about as fast as one as well) and is probably more dedicated to Arsenal than the Pope is to Jesus.
And as I just learned, Leigh and I are fellow beer snobs. But he lives within walking distance of the Diamond Knot brewpub. What a spoiled guy! But let’s get to the important stuff, shall we?
LRR: I have to ask. What possessed you to start you own genre fiction magazine?
RLH: I wanted to do something that mattered to people — both to writers, and readers. I love science fiction, and short stories in particular. As a reader, I could never seem to get my hands on enough decent short stories. I’d heard similar sentiments echoed from others. It seemed to me like there was room for another market. I think there’s probably room for even more. I also know a lot of writers who are putting out amazing stories, but for some strange reason they’re not getting published. It seemed reasonable that I could do my own small part to help out both parties: deliver fantastic new stories to the readers that crave them, and provide opportunities for talented authors, especially those who haven’t been published before, to get their work out in front of people. I’m passionate about the short story format. The publication only seemed natural.
LRR:What are your goals for the magazine?
RLH: In the short term, I’d like the magazine to be self-sustaining. Right now, I personally fund everything. Site maintenance, payments to authors, cover art, advertising, you name it. It would be nice if the magazine could stand on its own. Looking toward the future, I want to become a qualifying market in the Science Fiction Writer’s Association, and I’d like to be able to pay authors a decent rate. I’d also like to be known for putting out quality stories, where an author can be proud to have their story published. All of this I’m hoping we can do, and more, without losing focus on how we started: contributor oriented, providing meaningful feedback within a reasonable amount of time.
As part of Apex Magazine’s Operation Fourth Story (learn more here), I was lucky enough to score an interview with Sigrid Ellis, the Editor in Chief of Apex Magazine. You might know her from Chicks Dig Comics, Queers Dig Timelords, or Pretty Deadly. So, whaddya say, wanna better get to know Sigrid Ellis? I do!
Little Red Reviewer: How did you come to be involved with Apex Magazine?
Sigrid Ellis: I was asked.
I had worked with Lynne and Michael Thomas on other projects – co-editing Chicks Dig Comics with Lynne, and co-editing Queers Dig Time Lords with Michael. I liked working with them and I respect the work they do. When the opportunity arose to be a submissions editor for Apex, I was happy to help out. At the point where Lynne was looking to move on to other projects, work on Queers Dig Time Lords was just wrapping up. The timing worked out for everyone!
I recently reviewed King David and the Spiders from Mars, and last year I got a kick out of She Nailed a Stake Through His Head, the first two anthologies in Tim Lieder’s series of Biblical horror story collections. It’s easy to say “The Bible is full of violence”, because yes, it is. But what about the violence we don’t see? What about the horrific reasonings behind why people did the oh so strange things that they did? Is that *really* the a Temple of Dagon over in the next valley? Why yes, yes it is. This is what makes historical fantasy so much fun – the authors have free range to take the tiny details that speak to them and go crazy with them. The result? Stories that speak to me.
In my interview with Tim Lieder, we discussed lessons learned in the publishing industry, the Bible as Literature (and seeking different translations), the importance of diversity in your TOCs, and more. So let’s get to it!
LRR: Tell us a little about yourself.
T.L.: I’m a writer. I live in New York. When I was in college I decided to convert to Judaism which was a surprise to everyone, including me, especially since the original inspiration was from an academic class on Biblical literature. I did convert but it took a long time. I have four cats. I started Dybbuk Press (Dybbuk Press facebook page) back in 2004 and I have published 9 books through it. I named it after the Ansky play The Dybbuk which takes liberties with the Jewish legends of the Dybbuk put is one of the spookiest plays ever written (the movie was put on by the 1939 Warsaw Yiddish Theater so that adds even more disturbing subtext). Currently, I make a living at writing but most of the writing is freelance for several clients and includes personal statements, editing jobs and term papers. Still, I manage to sell a few stories every year and I keep working on the fiction.
LRR: How did you get involved with editing and publishing? Any big lessons you’d like to pass on to anyone thinking of a career in editing?
T.L.: Ten years ago, I thought it’d be fun to edit a multi-author anthology and stick my story in it. I was unpublished and thought that it’d be my big break. I think I made every mistake that you could make when trying to edit an anthology. I didn’t offer much money. I tried to work with friends who were also amateurs. I agreed to work with a small press publisher whose only interest was self-publishing (something I learned when I realized that he had thought that his girlfriend’s terrible vampire story was going into the anthology). I didn’t even copy edit. About the only thing I did right was naming the book Teddy Bear Cannibal Massacre. I think that’s the only reason why it ever made a profit.
This interview is part of the Book of Apex Blog tour. Want to win a copy of the book for yourself? Click here for some give aways!
What a great experience to get to interview Tim Susman, author of Erzulie Dantor (read the story here, read my review here). I knew that Tim was involved with small press publishing, but until now I had no idea it was his press that published Ursula Vernon’s Hugo Award winning Digger! How cool is that? You can learn more about Tim at his website, but before you click on that, let’s do the interview, ok?
LRR: Your story “Erzulie Dantor” takes place in a disaster ravaged Haiti. Can you tell us what inspired this story?
T.S.: My sister-in-law organized a relief effort from the hospital in Denver where she worked and went with them to Haiti in the aftermath of the earthquake. We followed the pictures and stories she sent back, which painted a vivid picture of the devastation and desperation there. That was in the back of my mind when I was researching werewolves of different cultures and found the Haitian je-rouge. It was a mysterious creature in legend and also on the Internet; I could find very little about it. So it occurred to me that where there is disaster and tragedy, there are also people willing to take advantage of the disorientation of others. From there, a story about jealousy and voodoo took place, and when I found Erzulie Dantor in the pantheon of Haitian gods, I had the last piece of the story.
LRR: What is your favorite type of fiction to write? Are there certain ideas or themes you enjoy writing about?
T.S.: I have in the past couple years written science fiction, fantasy, contemporary fiction, mystery, and horror…but if you pin me down to one, I like writing contemporary fantasy. A lot of my longer fiction is written with anthropomorphic animal characters (“furry” stories, about which more below); no matter what the setting, it’s always the characters that push me to finish stories. My works often involve questions of self-discovery or self-actualization, especially in the areas of sexuality or creative inspiration. I don’t like “message” stories, but I think that the best works do contain something that the reader can take away to make his or her life better, and that’s something I try to include in all my work.
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