Saturday, June 30, 2012

Author Interview: Ken Chisholm

Editors' Note: We sent our authors eight questions, and asked them to answer five. Ken was the biggest over-achiever, and answered all of them, and told us to edit out what we didn't want to use. Well, we used them all. Because that kind of dedication has to be rewarded; and because we're all edited-out right now! ;)


Q: How long have you been writing, and what kind of stories do you most like to write?

A: Like a lot of writers, I started when I was a kid; handwrote a neighbourhood “newspaper”,  published my first story in my high school newsletter (edited by Douglas Arthur Brown), and then edited my college students’ newspaper (a formative experience). I’m fairly new to short story writing so, although I have written more speculative fiction than anything else, so I have to say I am still exploring what the form has to offer me.


Q: What sparked the idea for your story in Unearthed? Can you remember?

A: I was in my favorite coffee shop going for a re-fill and had the thought from out of nowhere I wanted to write a story about a character named “Mr. Dogg” and from there the other character names suggested themselves. I knew they were a team on an operation but it took me a long time to figure out what their task was. Writing the actual story happened very quickly.

Q: What was the hardest part of writing your story for Unearthed?

A: The characters were not quite human and I didn’t want to make them “cute” and their responses to certain “human” situations had to carefully calibrated. I lead storytelling workshops and always say that stories are about people so of course I had to write a story that wasn’t about people.

Q: What's the title of your story in Unearthed? In general, do you get the title first, or do you write the story first? Do you remember what prompted this particular title?

A: “Perfect Instruments” and it was the last thing I came up with for the story. I like inventing titles but rarely finish the stories to go with the titles. I have a dim memory of seeing or hearing this phrase somewhere when working on the story and it stuck because of the nature of the main characters.

Q: Please tell us: one book you've read recently, one book you're reading now, and one book on your to-read list.

A: In order of asking: The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller, A Good Man by Guy Vanderhaaghe, and The Honourable Schoolboy by John Le Carre.

Q: What's the best/worst writing advice you've ever been given?

A: The best writing advice is always “if you write this, we will pay you, so go home and write”. The worst advice is always when someone, when I do tell them what I am working on, with the best intentions, off the top of their head, tries to give me story ideas. I appreciate the effort but it’s always more fun to puzzle it out on my own. Or, in general, anyone who says “You should write a story/play/song about X”. No, you should write it if it’s that great an idea; I’ll follow my own
enthusiasms, thank you.

Q: What are you working on now, or what's your next planned writing project?

A: I am finishing a one act play using characters, three generations of Italian-Cape Breton women, my friend Paul MacDougall (author of Distinction Earned) and I created and used in five other one-act plays.

I have a couple of short stories I am re-working (one I intend to submit to the next Third Person Press anthology), and I want to test my stamina on a longer project. And I continue to think up great titles for stuff I’ll never finish.

Q: Have you ever read something and thought, “I wish I'd written that!”? What was it?

A: “The Sweetheart of the Song Tra Bong”, a short story by Tim O’Brien in his collection, The Things They Carried. A group of vets re-tell the story about an American soldier who figures out a way of getting his high school sweetheart to the remote medical aid base in the jungle where he’s stationed during the Vietnam War. Once there, she is consumed by the darkness of the war. It is a story as much about the nature of storytelling to help us figure out our lives as about the experience of Vietnam. Now I want to re-read it again.

Thanks, Ken!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Author Interview: Sherry D. Ramsey


Sherry D. Ramsey
Q: What sparked the idea for your story in Unearthed? Can you remember?

A: I think this was my third attempt at a story that would fit the theme for Unearthed! My story involves two characters who go geocaching, an activity which my family really enjoys. And geocaching is all about unearthing hidden things, so it all seemed to fit together nicely. Of course, we've never found quite what these characters find...

Q: What's the title of your story in Unearthed? In general, do you get the title first, or do you write the story first? Do you remember what prompted this particular title?

A: The title of my story is pretty simple: “The Cache.” I usually have a title pretty early on in the writing process, and sometimes I've had a whole story grow out of a title. This one just came attached to the story idea from the outset.

Q: Please tell us: one book you've read recently, one book you're reading now, and one book on your to-read list.

A: I recently read Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, which actually lived up to the hype that seemed to surround it (I listened to the audiobook version, read by Wil Wheaton, and it was very entertaining). Currently I'm reading (among other things) The Art of War for Writers by James Scott Bell, and I'd definitely recommend it for fellow writers. I have a HUGE to-read pile, but near the top is Stephen King's 11/22/63. I've always been fascinated by this piece of history, so combining it with time travel makes it irresistible to me.

Q: What are you working on now, or what's your next planned writing project?

A: I'm usually juggling a number of projects, but once Unearthed is launched I hope to turn my attention to some final edits on a novel manuscript and finishing a few stories that are cluttering up my hard drive in various states of disarray.

Q: Have you ever read something and thought, “I wish I'd written that!”? What was it?

A: Yes! One was a science fiction short story in a book I had borrowed from the library (possibly one of the Nebula Award collections), with a title something like “The Girl With the Green Earrings”--except that wasn't it, because I've never been able to find it again. So maybe that wasn't the title, but there was definitely a girl in it, and her earrings were important. It haunts me, because I'd really love to re-read it and try to figure out exactly what I thought was so perfect about it. If you think you might know what story I mean...please email me!

You can visit Sherry's blog and website at www.sherrydramsey.com. Her collection of short stories, To Unimagined Shores, came out in 2011 from Third Person Press. Find out more at http://thirdpersonpress.com/.

Thanks, Sherry!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Author Interview: Bruce V. Miller

Bruce V. Miller
Q: How long have you been writing, and what kind of stories do you most like to write?

A: I've been writing since high school, so for about 15 years, but my output is pretty sporadic.  I'm not sure that I have a favourite kind of story to write in terms of genres, but most of my stories have been magical-realism, science-fiction, or realistic fiction.  Basically if I can come up with an idea and make it work in some sense, it makes me happy.  I do enjoy experimenting a bit with styles and genres, though.

Q: What was the hardest part of writing your story for Unearthed

A:  The hardest part of writing the story was making the letter-writing format work.  I knew I wanted to do it as a series of letters, but I had to write the story to figure out why that was.  And then with some help from some editors I was made to realize that I had to write the responses to the letters to provide enough insight to (hopefully) get the reader's attention.  

Another troublesome aspect was the time-travel component.  There is always the paradox issue, which I believe isn't really avoidable, but I did my best to minimize it.

Q: What's the title of your story in Unearthed? In general, do you get the title first, or do you write the story first? Do you remember what prompted this particular title?
 
A:  My story is called "Terminal," and I think I decided on that when I was half-finished.  In general my titles usually come after I've started the story, but it's a little different each time.  For this one, I liked the double-meaning of the word, and I feel that it sets the right tone for a number of things within the world of the story... though the story's not as depressing as that might sound.  What I like about titles is that they can sort of accrete meaning after you start using them.  In this case, I think there's a sort of terminal love going on, but that's not a thought I had before I came up with the title.

Q: What's the best/worst writing advice you've ever been given?
 
A: The best writing advice I've been given is: listen to criticisms.  I learned in university you're way better off listening to what people got from the story and what they didn't get, rather than trying to defend what you thought you were saying.  Of course, you don't take everyone's advice, but pretty often I learn that what I intended to say and what comes across are not the same, and the best way to find that out is to listen to your readers.

Q: Have you ever read something and thought, “I wish I'd written that!”? What was it?
 
A: I've certainly experienced the "I wish I'd written that" feeling.  Two instances that come to mind right away are  Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer.  Both are so creative and ambitious and the stories are very compelling.  

Thanks, Bruce!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Author Interview: Larry Gibbons

Larry Gibbons
Q: What sparked the idea for your story in Unearthed? Can you remember?

A: I was driving in my truck, listening to a show on CBC about a haunted railway tunnel. There was some serendipity here because my mind had become increasingly rattled over the fact that my favourite muse wasn’t coming up with a story idea and the deadline was fast approaching.  Anyway, as I listened to the show, I began to think about when I was a youngster and a bunch of us decided to crawl into a city drainage pipe as far we dared. We knew that this dark, corrugated tunnel ran under a large cemetery, a certain formula for scaring us out of our pants. That's how my story was conceived.

Q: Please tell us: one book you've read recently, one book you're reading now, and one book on your to-read list.
 
A: I have just finished reading, Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe.  I have been so impressed by the depth of character created in the classic novels I have read, and particularly in Middlemarch, which I read a few months ago, that I decided to read more of the classic novels.  I was intrigued by the way Moll Flanders slipped further and further into depravity as the only way she could survive the corruption and poverty of her surroundings.

I am presently reading, The Journey Prize Anthology, by McClelland and Stewart. This book contains some of the best short fiction from Canada's literary journals. I hope to read, One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

Q: What's the best/worst writing advice you've ever been given?

A: The worst writing advice I've ever received was to know my plot, setting and characters before I begin to write. To me, this is like drawing a map before I've travelled through my land of make-believe. Boring, boring, boring. Few surprises with the plot road lined with authority figures, literary specialists and yardstick-brandishing teachers all shouting out, "Don't write that way; it's not the correct thing to do. Oh, you’re so bad."

The best advice was that writing is like driving a car at night where you can only see as far as the headlights will allow. For me, this was liberating. Driving my car or truck down a dark highway, white lines blurred like ghosts in the distance, then speeding by the side of the vehicle in all their corporeal brilliance before vanishing. Taking with them dark buildings, grotesquely shaped trees, half read road signs and mysterious night forms and monsters, all fertilizer for my imagination and helping to drive the story forward.  I think this approach can draw authors into creative realms where they aren’t stifled by the need to begin with a plot, dot and jot.
 
Q: What are you working on now, or what's your next planned writing project?

A: Presently, I'm working on a series of short stories. I am grateful for the muse allowing me to continue working on this project. It is possible that Mr. Muse might even allow me to turn it into a novella. However, I have been sworn to secrecy as to what the stories are about. Maybe I can say this little tidbit:  they are about the residents of a town which appears not to be of this world or at least not of the world which seems to make sense to the solidly rational citizens.

Q: Have you ever read something and thought, “I wish I'd written that!”? What was it?

A: I have read endless shelves full of books, stories and poems that I wish I had written. Robert Frost's, 'The Road Not Taken', Tolstoy's, War and Peace, half of Stephen King's novels, oh hell, most of them and so many others I can and can't remember. My envy knows no bounds.

Thanks, Larry!
Larry's short story collection, White Eyes, was published earlier this year by Breton Books. Find out more at https://www.capebretonbooks.com/

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Author Interview: Katrina Nicholson


Katrina Nicholson
Q: What sparked the idea for your story in Unearthed? Can you remember?

A: There were two things that contributed to “One Word.” The first was that I'd written a story about some stealth fighter pilots who go up against a moon liberation army and I wanted to write some more stories in the same universe featuring different characters that could all go together to tell one big story. “One Word” is the prequel story about how they found out about the liberation army. It was inspired by the books I was reading about the Holocaust.

Q: What's the title of your story in Unearthed? In general, do you get the title first, or do you write the story first? Do you remember what prompted this particular title?

A: The title of my story is “One Word.” Usually I think of the title first and then the story that fits it – that's the easy way. But sometimes I write stories and the title stops being relevant halfway through or it's not catchy enough or I just don't have one to start with – that's when it's hard. Then I have to sit down and brainstorm all the story elements until one of them suggests a title. That's what I had to do with this one. After I thought of it I had to go back and make sure the main character only spoke one word in the whole story.

Q: Please tell us: one book you've read recently, one book you're reading now, and one book on your to-read list.

A: Recently I (finally) got my hands on a copy of Divergent by Veronica Roth – a dystopian YA novel about a society where sixteen year olds have to chose their whole life path according to just one personality trait. I just finished it and it was awesome. Right now I'm reading a graphic novel about WW2 called War Stories: Volume 1 by Garth Ennis, and after that I'll move on to Cambodia Calling by Richard Heinzl.

Q: What's the best/worst writing advice you've ever been given?

A: My film school instructors were always telling us that it wasn't necessarily the most talented people who made it in the writing business – it was the ones who were the most persistent, because almost nobody gets their big lucky break right away. That advice has gotten me through a lot of rejections.

Q: What are you working on now, or what's your next planned writing project?

A: Right now I'm finishing up a graphic novel script I started during Script Frenzy called 178 Seconds. It's about a pair of starfighter pilots struggling to survive after all their bases get wiped out in a big attack. After that I'll probably just be tweaking film scripts until November, when I plan to start a new novel for Nanowrimo about an archaeologist working in Cambodia who can see dead people.

You can visit Kat at her website: www.refrigeratorbox.org.

Thanks, Kat!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Author Interview: Joyce MacDonald


Q: What sparked the idea for your story in Unearthed?
A: I was thinking about my student loans, and I started imagining a future where kids sign up for indentureships in space in exchange for their education. There were some other things spinning around in my mind: Cape Breton as Unamak’i, the difficulty of communicating with aliens when they are so very alien, unrequited crushes; and it all came together in Motion Words.
Q: What was the hardest part of writing your story for Unearthed?
A: Possibly it was putting all the diacritical marks over the z in ┼Żarko’s name. I can never remember Unicode keyboard shortcuts, so all the carons were inserted the long way.
Q: Please tell us: one book you've read recently, one book you're reading now, and one book on your to-read list.
A: I recently finished Ben Aaronovitch’s Midnight Riot, about a young cop in London who is also a wizard, and who questions ghost witness and breaks up disputes between river spirits. It was a fun read. Right now I’m reading Na Beanntaichean Gorma, a collection of Gaelic short stories from Cape Breton, with translations by John Shaw. It’s slow going because I’m reading the Gaelic side of the book. In Gaelic, I’m very much a sound out the words aloud sort of reader. A lot of Gaelic stories have fantasy elements to them, come to think of it. The next book I’m waiting for is Carla Speed McNeil’s latest graphic novel, Finder: Voice, which is coming to me in the mail! She does science fiction in a strange and beautiful way.
Q: What's the best writing advice you've ever been given?
A: Kill your babies. I had a professor in journalism school who used to say this frequently, always in the sweetest, most cheerful voice. Sometimes a writer just has to take out that clever sentence or that beautiful phrase because it just doesn’t work. Letting go of things you love can make a story stronger in the end.
Q: What are you working on now, or what's your next planned writing project?
A: I’m working on a story about a person who is a fantasy-standard Destined Hero, who also is clinically depressed. How can you save the world when you can barely get out of bed?
Thanks, Joyce!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Author Interview: Nancy S.M. Waldman

Nancy Waldman
Q: How long have you been writing, and what kind of stories do you most like to write?

A: I've written since the 70's (yes, that's the 1970's!), but seriously began to tackle fiction in the late 90's. It's been a long apprenticeship. It took me forever to begin to market what I wrote, so while I've been writing a long time, I consider the last ten years to be the ones that count the most. Incidentally, that's the time I've been living in Cape Breton. Good writing must be in the air on this island.

I write mainstream and speculative fiction. I'm most interested in human behaviour and relationships including societal and cultural relationships. Sometimes the stories that come to me are based in our everyday reality and sometimes they aren't. If you write both, however, it soon becomes completely obvious that writing speculative fiction, particularly science fiction, is much more challenging than writing reality-based fiction. My writing apprenticeship continues on that learning curve!

Q: What sparked the idea for your story in UnearthedCan you remember?

A: I wanted to write something on the lighter side for this anthology. The childhood memory of making mud pies came to me first, but I had no story to go with it. Independent of that idea came this question: if a family had magic at their disposal, would they ever use it to control each other? Those were my starting points and it turned into a fun mix. Read the story to find out how they blended!

Q: What's the title of your story in Unearthed? In general, do you get the title first, or do you write the story first? Do you remember what prompted this particular title?

A: The title of the story in Unearthed is "Mud Pies." Considering that was my initial idea, this story was an easy one, but titles aren't always that obvious. I have started stories based entirely on a title that came to me, but that is the exception. The story folders in my computer are often filled with multiple revisions--all with different titles. I consider the title to be extremely important and it feels like magic when the exact right one comes to me, but let's face it, it's not the most important part. The title is the curb appeal, what's inside sells it.

Q: Please tell us: one book you've read recently, one book you're reading now, and one book on your to-read list.
A: Hugh Howey's Wool (a novella), The Windup Girl by Paul Bacigalupi, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.

Q: What's the best/worst writing advice you've ever been given?
 
A: Good advice - "Don't think," from Ray Bradbury. His point is that over-thinking, intellectualizing, kills not only spontaneity, but creativity and makes for self-conscious, and therefore, bad writing. All that thinking also includes the worst writing enemy: self-censorship. Turn it all off for that first draft. Thinking comes later in the revision stages.

Bad advice - One of my early writing teachers told me that whenever a writer--no matter how experienced--starts a new story it is always as a beginner. While I think her point had to do with each story being a journey of its own, the idea that there could be no learning from experience in writing was extremely discouraging to me as a true beginner. Luckily, I've found this bit of "wisdom" to be completely false. Some writers would like you to believe that writing is a mystical, unlearnable craft, but this is simply not true!

Q: What are you working on now, or what's your next planned writing project?
A: I have a handful of stories in various stages of completion plus a YA novel that is finished but needs tweaking before being marketed. I hope to begin a new novel in the fall. It's been a couple of years since I've worked on a longer piece and I'm itching to get into a story with more complexity than short stories allow. 

Nancy's writing blog is at nancysmwaldman.com 

Thanks, Nancy!



Saturday, June 23, 2012

Author Interview: Mona Anderson

Mona Anderson
Q: How long have you been writing, and what kind of stories do you most like to write?

A: My grandparents gave me a typewriter when I was about 8 years old, so I guess I could say I've been writing since then. Most of my working career was as a writer, staff correspondent in one form or another, newsletters, business reports, correspondence etc. About 15 years ago I started working seriously on my own stuff.  I tried songs and poetry but seem to have settled in on short stories, sometimes crime, westerns, some speculative fiction, and fantasy.  I loved fairy tales as a kid, and apparently still do. 

Q: What's the title of your story in Unearthed? In general, do you get the title first, or do you write the story first? Do you remember what prompted this particular title?

A: The title of my story in Unearthed is "The Dwarf Under The Step".  I generally get the title first, as the basic idea for my stories.  I sometimes change the title later but use the first thought as a working title.  The idea came to me quite clearly when I was reading over the submission guidelines for Unearthed ...  The Dwarf Under The Step literally 'popped' into my head. I knew that would be my story and started writing it down.

Q: Please tell us: one book you've read recently, one book you're reading now, and one book on your to-read list.

A: Most recently, I read all six Jane Austen novels.  I started with Emma and finished with Pride & Prejudice.  It was a goal I set for myself back in March after watching the movie The Jane Austen Book Club (also read the book).  Most worthwhile adventure reading Miss Austen.  Brilliant author.  Great sense of humour.
 
Right now I am reading To Unimagined Shores by Sherry D. Ramsey.  Alas, just one more story to go.  I'll be sorry to reach the end of this little book.  It's a great adventure.
 
Mine is more of a "To Read" pile. I collect books that other people suggest or lend me, things that catch my eye at the library, or the Award Winners shelf at the book store.  Book Club helps.  I like books where I come away with a new idea about something, a new thought, or a new way of looking at things.  I like to learn something from the books I read. I don't waste time reading books I don't like or have trouble getting into. I just go on to something else.  We simply don't have enough time to read everything.
 
Q: What are you working on now, or what's your next planned writing project?
 
A: I've been working on a fantasy novel (generally referred to as the albatross) for over 5 years now, and I wish I could say it's nearing completion but that would be a bit optimistic.  I have a lot to learn about projects of this magnitude, so it's still very much a work in progression, assuming that I am in fact moving forward.  It doesn't always feel that way. 
 
Thanks, Mona! 

Friday, June 22, 2012

Author Interview: Peter Andrew Smith

Q: How long have you been writing, and what kind of stories do you most like to write?

A: I have been writing speculative fiction for over a decade now. I write what I like to read which means that my stories range in tone from the very complicated and serious to the very silly and humorous. On occasion I write a story that is actually all of those things.

Q: What sparked the idea for your story in Unearthed? Can you remember?
 
A: I was driving home from the launch of Airborne and decided it would be fun to write a story where buried treasure gets dug up at the very start instead of the end. Once I had that initial scene in mind the rest of the story followed quite easily.

Q: What's the title of your story in Unearthed? In general, do you get the title first, or do you write the story first? Do you remember what prompted this particular title?

A: I title a story when I start writing but usually change it as I finish each draft. My contribution to  Unearthed actually went through three titles until I finally decided on "Wherever You Call Home."  I knew that title was the one I wanted because it captures George's struggle to be find meaning in his life as well as mirroring the different supernatural creatures trying to get along in their adopted land.

Q: What's the best/worst writing advice you've ever been given?

A: "Keep writing." I can't remember who told me that but honestly I have never heard better advice. If you don't actually sit down and put words to paper then you can never tell the story you want to tell or experience the joy of having your work read by others 

Q: What are you working on now, or what's your next planned writing project?

I tend to work on multiple fiction projects at the same time. I'm almost finished a short story about a supernatural guardian tormented by the failures of his past, about a third of the way through a novella about a man and an AI ship thrown together in a twisty intergalactic plot, and just starting a curious tale about a man who discovers the voice in his head belongs to his toaster (who doesn't like him.) 

You can visit Peter online at his writing site: http://www.peterandrewsmith.com/

Thanks, Peter! 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Author Interview: Steph Snow

Steph Snow
Q: What was the hardest part of writing your story for Unearthed?

A: Doing the research. Dog fighting is a brutal sport, and, like many people who are ambivalent towards humans, I love animals. Reading the underground magazines published by the people who participate in dog fighting was a sickening yet oddly fascinating experience, like watching a car crash in slow motion. Over and over.

Q: What's the title of your story in Unearthed? In general, do you get the title first, or do you write the story first? Do you remember what prompted this particular title?

A: Dogfight was an idea first, but there was really only one title it could have. When I get the right title for a piece, it fits into place like a key into the right lock. And this one did it all: described without giving away, set a tone of violence, and called up thoughts, not only of the fighting dogs, but of the bravery and recklessness of aerial combat and warfare. 

Q: Please tell us: one book you've read recently, one book you're reading now, and one book on your to-read list.

A: Recently I read Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition by Daniel Okrent, a very good history of a fascinating time. Currently I’m reading My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me, a short fiction collection of new fairy tales and retellings of old ones. Like all collections, it’s a mixed bag so far: some very good, some that I wish I could have the time it took to read them refunded to my life. And next up to the plate will probably be either Canal Dreams by Iain Banks (on the recommendation of a friend), the fourth volume of the excellent Locke and Key series by Joe Hill, or The Poisoner’s Handbook by Deborah Blum (for…research purposes. Yes.)


Q: What's the best/worst writing advice you've ever been given?

A: The two best pieces of advice came, strangely enough, from the father and son pairing of Stephen King and Joe Hill. King’s was the well-known advice to writers: “Kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings.” (Yes, I know it was originally a Faulkner quotation, but I first read it in King. And I like his phrasing better.) And Hill’s was about what needs to be in a manuscript: “I hate writing. I just want story. Story and a little music.”

Q: What are you working on now, or what's your next planned writing project?

A: I have around half a dozen pieces in various stages of completion at any time. Checking my desktop, today’s list is a novel that’s being rewritten, another novel that I’m outlining, two beginnings of short stories, a blog post, and a small cut scene for a friend. Oh, and this interview. But the biggest project is a horror novel titled Strangers about a man who realizes that the voices his crazy brother hears are real. And now they’re talking to him.
You can visit Steph online at her writing blog: http://www.bareknucklewriter.com/ 
Thanks, Steph!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Author Interview: James F.W. Thompson

James F.W. Thompson
Q: How long have you been writing, and what kind of stories do you most like to write?

A: I've been writing stories basically since I've been writing. My parents have “books” that I wrote when I was 4. Back then they were mostly about aliens and mutants. Sci-fi stuff...with lots of page-filling pictures and spelling mistakes. Nowadays I most enjoy writing comedy. I really enjoy it when people laugh because of something I came up with.


Q: What's the title of your story in Unearthed? In general, do you get the title first, or do you write the story first? Do you remember what prompted this particular title? 

A: My story in Unearthed is 'Fitting In.' I usually come up with the title almost immediately after I come up with the initial concept. Usually it's a joke about the story itself, which is probably why it pops into my head so quickly. Then I just have to hope the rest of the story fits with it. I remember I thought of that title because it is usually the last thought you would have when you are in... the situation my character (or characters) find themselves in in my story. No spoilers here!

Q: Please tell us: one book you've read recently, one book you're reading now, and one book on your to-read list.

A: A book I've read recently is That is All by John Hodgman. A book I'm reading now is God Emperor of Dune by Frank Herbert. A book on my to-read (or rather to re-read) list is Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, but I've currently got a very tall stack of to-read books, so the next book could be literally anything. Literally. Books. Awesome.

Q: What's the best/worst writing advice you've ever been given?

A: The worst writing advice I ever got was “you can't treat everything like a joke. You have to treat some material very seriously.” This was in reference to a project in junior high where we had to write an alternate ending to a fictional story from a “Reader” (anyone remember Readers?) so obviously it was very serious stuff. Writing itself should be taken very seriously, but not always the content. I have made a point of making jokes about most things I can think of since then. It works okay.

Q: Have you ever read something and thought, “I wish I'd written that!”? What was it?

A: When I read the play 'Variations on the Death of Trotsky' by David Ives I instantly wished I had written it. If you haven't read it, you should. If you have read it but you forget who wrote it... I did.

You can visit James online at his website/blog: http://www.puddingstore.com/ 

Thanks, James!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Author Interview: Donald Tyson


Donald Tyson
Q: How long have you been writing, and what kind of stories do you most like to write?

A: I've been writing horror and suspense stories for more than thirty years. They are not as well known as my nonfiction occult work because I haven't been attempting to sell them -- it's a reality of the writing profession that nonfiction sells more easily and pays better, so that's where most of my energies have gone over the years. Even so, my heart has always been with weird fiction.

Q: What sparked the idea for your story in Unearthed? Can you remember?

A: I started with the idea that horror can be found in the most unlikely places, and with the most mundane of objects. Then I asked myself, what is the most everyday, harmless thing anyone can imagine. The story evolved from there. There is a kind of awe that verges on panic (in the classic sense of the word) in solitary settings far removed from any human trace. While walking in the deep woods, I've sometimes felt this myself. That's why I set my story in the north woods of Manitoba, up near the tree line. To be further removed from the ordinary reality we all live in is to be nearer to the uncanny and extraordinary.

Q: What's the title of your story in Unearthed? In general, do you get the title first, or do you write the story first? Do you remember what prompted this particular title?

A: Usually the titles for my stories come automatically, so that I don't even need to think about them. I favor short titles that get to the point, without giving the plot of the story away. In the case of my story "Grass" it was a no-brainer. The story could not be called anything else.

Q: Please tell us: one book you've read recently, one book you're reading now, and one book on your to-read list.

A: This is fun -- I like talking about my reading. A book I've read recently is the novel The Tomb, the first in the Repairman Jack series by F. Paul Wilson, the author best known for his novel The Keep, which was made into a popular horror movie. The book I'm currently reading is actually three novels combined into one -- it's The Turner Trilogy by the mystery writer James Sallis. In the near future I'd like to read the novel Neuromancer by William Gibson. It's a modern classic that somehow has escaped me until now.

Q: What's the best/worst writing advice you've ever been given?

A: Probably the worst advice that I've taken seriously at one time or another is the famous advice given by the great science fiction writer Robert A. Heinlein. His three rules for writing are as follows: 1. You must write. 2. You must finish what you write. 3. You must never rewrite except to satisfy the demands of an editor. The first two rules are fine, but the last one is terrible! Every story or novel needs to be rewritten not just once, but at least several times, before it is even halfway worth keeping. The best advice I've ever been given is the old saw "Write what you know." I'm following it more and more these days. Many of my recent horror stories are set in my native Nova Scotia, and the last two I wrote take place right here in Cape Breton.

You can visit Donald online at his website: http://www.donaldtyson.com/


Thanks, Donald!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Author Interview: Meg Horne

Q: How long have you been writing, and what kind of stories do you most like to write?

A: I have been writing for about four years.  No matter the genre, I like to write stories with a 'twist to the tale'.

Q: What sparked the idea for your story in Unearthed? Can you remember?

A: When my husband and I moved to Cape Breton in 1970, we lived in an old farmhouse on a hill quite a distance from the road.  Years later (after we vacated, of course), the house was burned and the ground smoothed over the stone basement.  Now there is a large depression where the place once stood.  I often wonder if the space was completely filled in or is there still a hole underneath.  When Third Person Press sent out a call for submissions for the anthology, Unearthed, I just had to make some connection.

Q: What's the title of your story in Unearthed? In general, do you get the title first, or do you write the story first? Do you remember what prompted this particular title?

A: I write the story first and add the title later.  If you read my story, you'll know why it's called 'Overheard'.

Q: Please tell us: one book you've read recently, one book you're reading now, and one book on your to-read list.
 
A: One book I've read recently is The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.  The book I'm reading now is West With the Night by Beryl Markham.  One book on my to-read list is The Soujourner by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings.
Q: What's the best/worst writing advice you've ever been given?
 
A: The best writing advice I've ever been given is, instead of telling, put the reader in the scene with the use of dialogue and actions.
Thanks, Meg!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Author Interview: Walter Carey

Q: How long have you been writing, and what kind of stories do you most like to write?   

A: I started writing when I was fourteen.  Back then a lot of what I wrote was Stephen King- or Dragonlance-inspired stuff.  The stories that I most like to write are usually speculative fiction because sci-fi, fantasy and horror stories have always entertained me.

Q: What's the title of your story in Unearthed? In general, do you get the title first, or do you write the story first? Do you remember what prompted this particular title?

A: My title for my story in Unearthed is ‘Rainclouds on her Face.’  I tend to write the story first and the title comes out of writing the piece.  This title came out of a piece of dialogue early in the work where the child character is talking about his dreams and how a woman was crying as if her eyes were rainclouds on her face.

Q: Please tell us: one book you've read recently, one book you're reading now, and one book on your to-read list.

A: A book I’ve read recently was Gene Wolfe’s The Shadow of the Torturer.  It was fantastic.  The book I’m reading now is Bradbury Stories: 100 of Bradbury’s Most Celebrated Tales.  Ray Bradbury died recently so I decided borrow some of his works from the library.  I love how easy he makes writing look and how much fun he is to read.  On my to-read list is Minor Complications: Two plays by Brendan Gall.

Q: What's the best/worst writing advice you've ever been given?

A: The best writing advice that I’ve come across again and again, in different forms, is ‘Writing is work.’

Worst writing advice I’ve ever read came from a ‘How to Write’ book, back when I was reading every ‘How to Write’ book I could get my hands on.  I don’t remember who wrote it or what the book was called.  The author wrote that if a story began with dialogue, to put the book down as it is not well written.  No story should ever start with dialogue and if dialogue lasts for longer than a page, put the book down as it is not well written.  His how to write book was so well-written, I stopped reading it ten pages in.

Q: What are you working on now, or what's your next planned writing project?
 
A: The piece I’m working on now is called ‘Graveyard of the Gulf’ which is about a community of gravediggers living on St. Paul Island.

Thanks, Walter!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Author Interview: Kerry Anne Fudge

Kerry Anne Fudge
Q: How long have you been writing, and what kind of stories do you most like to write?

A: I've been writing stories since second or third grade. As a kid, I wrote fantasy and some ghost stories. Now as an adult, I usually stick to dark fantasy/supernatural romance. I would like to give horror a try soon.

Q: What's the title of your story in Unearthed? In general, do you get the title first, or do you write the story first? Do you remember what prompted this particular title?

A: My story is called "Harvest". I usually get the title after I've started writing or once I finish the story. One of my lovely editors helped with the title. It's very fitting. But if I told you what prompted it, it would give too much away. ;)

Q: What's the best/worst writing advice you've ever been given?

A: The best advice I've been given, is to turn off the inner critic when writing the first draft. It's best to sit and get your rough draft written before worrying about editing. I think the worst advice is when someone told me I should just write when I'm inspired. If that was the case, I'd never finish a project.

Q: Please tell us: one book you've read recently, one book you're reading now, and one book on your to-read list.

A: I currently re-read The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon by Stephen King. I'm currently reading A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin. The next book I plan to read is The Hunger Games.

Q: What are you working on now, or what's your next planned writing project?

A: I'm editing a short story I wrote a few months ago, and I've recently started researching for a new project.

Thanks, Kerry!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Author Interviews

We thought it would be fun, in the days leading up to (and probably following) the launch of Unearthed, to ask our authors a few questions and post their answers here. So, starting on Saturday, June 16th, we'll be adding these brief interviews so you can get to know the authors a little bit before reading their wonderful stories.

So keep checking back, and enjoy!