CONTRARY to the title of this anthology, working with such a talented cast of writers is an opportunity that usually comes once in a lifetime. From best-selling to greenhorn, independent or traditionally-published, the authors in this anthology span all ranges in addition to spanning the globe—from England to Australia and all over the United States. I've had the privilege of getting to know each and every one of them, and they have become a part of my extended family. I've even caught a glimpse of a secret side of them that only another writer...editor...is privy to witness through their words.
Through this series of posts, I plan on introducing you to my new family through a mini-interview of each. You may not get a chance to see their secret side, but you'll get a sneak-peek into their minds, their passions and inspirations, and what made them the writers they are today.
..The Mini Interview..
1. At what age did you start writing?
I loved comic books as a kid—anything that showed a world that was more mysterious, more fabulous than my school-bus/school-day existence. But I was never satisfied with reading other people’s stories, so I wrote my own. As far back as I can remember, I wrote thinly-veiled autobiographical tales of superpowers and magic. I illustrated them, folded them into booklets, and shared them with friends and family. As I got older, the stories matured and I began to experiment with different genres and media, including music.
2. Which book introduced you to Speculative Fiction?
There are so many great books that planted spec fic seeds in me, but, if I was forced to choose one, it would have to be The Phantom Tollbooth. Why? Because that story brought magic to the real world. To think that an ordinary kid just like me could stumble upon something so fantastic, so magical—really?!?! Sign me up.
3. Do you have an all-time favorite book? What about it makes it your favorite?
My all-time favorite book ... hrmmm ... that’s a hard one because I love so many stories for so many different reasons. But pressed to decide from among my darlings, I guess I’d have to go with Mary Doria Russell’s The Sparrow. Why? I suppose it was her use of realism and human drama as a frame within which she unfurled a wild science fiction tale. Reading the book, I felt as if I was experiencing that crazy planet and alien life because I was so connected to the character’s emotional arcs. It was very effective; images from that book have haunted me for years.
4. Which author and/or book inspired you to start writing?
I can’t really point to any one author who inspired me to start writing. I come from a family of story tellers—there wasn’t a day that passed by that wasn’t made more interesting by some creative embellishment. Writing came naturally to me. It was a way to explain and respond to the word. That said, there are several authors whose unique use of language inspires me when I put pen to paper, including Karin Tidbeck, China Mieville, Kathe Koja, and August Strindberg.
5. What would you say is the most important lesson all writers should learn?
Don’t be afraid. You will constantly hear voices telling you that you can’t do this or you can’t do that. Listen and understand why we have so many “rules” to art. But don’t fall into blind obedience. Experiment. Make mistakes. Be Bold. Most of all, write your truths. Never, ever let anyone make you afraid of your own voice.
6. Of the entire publishing process, which would you say is the most difficult aspect to endure?
Without a doubt, waiting for responses to submissions is the hardest part of the publishing grind. I love writing. I love editing. I hate waiting. When I’m done with a story, I’m a proud dad. I want to post pictures of my wriggling, pink story all over my social media channels, but I can’t. I have to lock that baby in a dark closet and let it squirm all cute and bubbly until it’s finally selected for showcasing in a magazine or anthology. Sometimes, it’s still a little darling (like Eyes of Woods, which thankfully was selected while it was still an infant). Other times, the tale is grey and grizzled and almost unrecognizable from age.
7. On what projects are you currently working?
I have a literary Sci Fi story, A Song Unheard, coming out later this year in the anthology, Startling Sci Fi, to be published by New Lit Salon Press. Tissues are a necessity. Several of my fantasy and magical realism short stories are in the submission/publication process, including my fantasy novella (which subverts the mage’s apprentice trope).
Read Brian's story, Eyes of Wood, in your very own copy of Twice Upon A Time today!