One question interview

We ask the author a single question, drawn randomly from our database. We present them all here for your reading pleasure. Think of it as an interview of the magazine itself.

Have a question you wish we’d ask? Submit it in the comments, and if we like it, we’ll throw it in the mix.

A question for Ryan Fitzpatrick

Q: What would your animal totem be?

A: Totem
a natural object or animal believed by a particular society to have spiritual significance and adopted by it as an emblem.
(Thanks, the Oxford English Dictionary Online!)

I’m not sure about spiritual significance, but I can tell you that I have a bit of a thing about sloths. Three-toed or two-toed, brown-throated or pale-throated, I love ‘em all, and if you read my short piece “The Cure for Cancer”, you’ll notice that the slow-moving, moss-covered bradypus makes an appearance right there amongst the foliage, brushing up against the eponymous mushroom itself.

A couple of years ago, when I released my first few solo pieces of music into the world (spoiler: I’m not very good), I chose a cartoon picture of a sloth as the track’s ‘album art’. When I should be writing but I begin to doodle instead, it’s a sloth I draw. And, when I worked in Peru, for a few short minutes I was elated to finally see one in the flesh; a disappointingly shapeless brown blob at the top of a distant tree.

Oh well.

I don’t know what it is about them. I love animals in general, and can barely fall asleep without the soothing tones of a nature documentary somewhere in the background. Learning about the natural world is bad ass, and I suppose I could have chosen any animal to rub up against the cure for cancer in my story. But I didn’t.

I chose a sloth. And maybe that’s enough to make it my totem.

Ryan Fitzpatrick’s story “The Cure for Cancer” will be published on Friday, 1 December 2017.
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A question for Melissa Kojima

Q: What was your favorite children’s book?

A: Do I only get to choose one? That is hard, if only one. When I was a kid, I read all the fairytale books in my library. I couldn’t get enough of them. I also loved “The Boxcar Children”. I think I could relate because I grew up with 3 brothers and 1 sister and I wished we could go on adventures like them. Of course, I loved Maurice Sendak and Edward Gorey too. Their illustrations were just too amazing not to spend hours gazing at them.

Melissa Kojima‘s image “Magic in the Wytchen Woods” is the cover art for our December 2017 stories.Metaphorosis

A question for Mariah Montoya

Q: Do you read more fantasy or SF (hard or soft)?

A: While SF is something I’d love to delve into, I definitely read more fantasy. My high school math teacher once told the class that he loves calculus because you can find real answers by using non-real numbers. Well, I think fantasy is like that too: we find truths within non-truths, and reality within magic.

Mariah Montoya’s story “The Wife of Fabian Vitalik” will be published on Friday, 24 November 2017.
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A question for Joachim Heijndermans

Q: What’s your favorite type of pie?

A: My favorite would be ‘appel taart’, or apple pie. While we don’t really call it a pie in Dutch (‘taart’ can also apply to cake, and while ‘vlaai’ is closer to a pie, this certainly doesn’t fall under it), I am very fond of our apple pie. Though don’t confuse it with ‘Dutch Apple Pie’, because trust me, it is nothing like that.

Joachim Heijndermans’s story “My Book Report on Starlight” was published on Friday, 17 November 2017.
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Another question for Gerald Warfield

Q: What’s a typical writing day like for you?

A: I work late, very late. Somehow, my life gets going in the course of the day, and I don’t usually start writing until the afternoon. It may be something to do with being old. A day is like a reflection of my life. I seem to be most productive at the end.

Gerald Warfield’s story The Number of the Tribe” was published on Friday, 10 November 2017.
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A question for Patrick Doerksen

Q: What made you start writing?

A: One of the first fictions I wrote was on the back of a church bulletin when I was around ten, because it was more fun that listening to the sermon. So: boredom, first of all.

But though it’s true enough, I’m not content with that answer. Looking back, I can see a motive just as important, if less obvious: the urge to communicate what I felt could not, for whatever reason, be contained in face-to-face conversations.

When you look at fiction in the context of human communication in general—gestures, speech, image-making, writing—you can see right away that it gives you something none of the others give. In conversation, you get an idea of the opinions of another person. With fiction, you get an idea of what it is like to be another person. Fiction communicates experience directly through the process of character-reader identification.

Why should we want this? I don’t know. When we have an interesting idea, we want to share it. When it’s experience, or the qualia of an experience, or the way a bunch of experiences are strung together, why shouldn’t we want to share that too? And all the more sense it makes to crave sharing what it is like to be ourselves—what it’s like for me to be me, or for you to be you.

So I guess I started writing because I wanted that, and fiction was the most practical way of going about it. I suspect that a lot of writers are people who are dissatisfied with their ability to communicate and so turn to a medium that allows revision, demands sustained attention, and can be ignored but not interrupted. I think a person senses all that when they begin writing, and it’s exciting. No one is telling you the rules. It’s just you and the words, and you can take as much time as you need to figure out how to say what you want to say.

Patrick Doerksen’s story “Notes Towards a New Fairytale” was published on Friday, 3 November 2017.
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