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 Allison Epstein

Q: Do you use critique groups or other resources to polish your writing?

A: I swear by critique groups—my writing output would probably decrease by half without them. When you’re writing by yourself, it’s easy to get discouraged and think no one’s ever going to read your work-in-progress. But when you know your critique group is going to read it, plus it has to be ready in three days, it’s serious motivation to get off Twitter and back to work. I belong to a stellar writing group in my neighborhood, where writers of various backgrounds and genres meet up weekly to talk craft, navigate plot holes, and drink too much wine. I’m also notorious for running story ideas past friends with no invitation whatsoever. My friends are used to getting phone calls that open with “Hi, so, question: octopus-people. Yea / nay?” I have very patient friends.

Allison Epstein’s story “Pandemonium” was published in Metaphorosis on Friday, 18 November 2016. Subscribe to our e-mail updates so you’ll know when new stories go live.

A question for Caleb Warner

Q: What’s better: writing or having written?

A: Both. It depends. That question is hard to answer because writing (at least for me) is very much story to story. What I mean by that is each story is its own world that informs the process involved in creating it. Sometimes the first draft of the story is the best part of the process, where you’re just banging out page after page in some kind of whirlwind, but after that, I usually find myself dreading the revision of said story. So ‘having written’ in that context is not as good as the actual writing. Then there are those stories where it feels like pulling teeth just to get a few words down. So writing is not at its best then either. At the end of the day, I think they’re both great and they are both awful.

Caleb Warner’s story “The Cartographer” was published in Metaphorosis on Friday, 4 November 2016. Subscribe to our e-mail updates so you’ll know when new stories go live.

A question for Jared Leonard

Q: What made you start writing?

A: My pursuit in writing was initially sparked by reading. I loved losing myself to new worlds and ideas and places, but as I grew older, I realized that the books I read didn’t always have what I wanted in them. I didn’t like when the villains were always so evil and the heroes too virtuous, or when endings were too bleak or happy. It was after realizing that I could make whatever story I wanted that I began to write more seriously. Now it’s just a matter of figuring out what I want in a story, which unfortunately, is the much harder part.

Jared Leonard’s story “Undertow” was published in Metaphorosis on Friday, 21 October 2016. Subscribe to our e-mail updates so you’ll know when new stories go live.

A question for Amelia Aldred

Q: What other writers inspire you?

A: Recently, I’ve been inspired by the nonfiction writing of Isabel Wilkerson and Ta-Nehisi Coates.  Wilkerson blends impeccable research with vibrant storytelling and I admire Coates’ commitment to delving into difficult questions.  When I read his articles, he reminds me to focus on the messy truth over snappy soundbites in my writing.

In fiction, I’ve been reading a lot of James Baldwin this year and his language and characters blow me away.  He writes about human beings’ fallibility with such compassion and insight.  He’s one of those writers from which I read a line and then stop and sit with the line because it’s that beautiful.

In speculative fiction, I really like Catherynne M. Valente’s use of language, I love N. K. Jemisin’s world-building, and I love Mary Robinette Kowal’s character relationships and character arcs.

On a professional level my mother, Carrie Newcomer, is a songwriter and I learned the basics of what is means to be a working artist from her: work hard, be collegial, and never stop growing.  On the same note, my friend and fellow Hoosier Michael R. Underwood is one of the hardest working people I know and I’ve watched him grow with every novel.  His passion for stories and the writing community has inspired me to keep writing through the ups and downs of life and I look forward to whatever he writes next.

Amelia Aldred’s story “Shine” was published in Metaphorosis on Friday, 14 October 2016. Subscribe to our e-mail updates so you’ll know when new stories go live.