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 David Hammond

Q: Do you ever feel bad for what you put your characters through?

A: No, I don’t feel bad. The main reason is that I don’t generally put my characters through anything that horrible. The worst experiences in my stories tend to be things that I have experienced myself: alienation, intense embarrassment, unrequited love. To pity my characters would be to pity myself, and I’m not about to do that. Instead I always try to leaven things with humor, which is my own best coping mechanism.

David Hammond’s story “Making the List” was published on Friday, 6 October 2017.
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A question for Kathryn Hammond

Q: What’s better: illustrating or having illustrated?

A: I think both are very important. I love the process of painting, creating, trying new things. Having illustrated is also very critical, because looking back at your old work and learning from it is one of the most valuable parts of art. I wish to continue drawing and painting all my life, expanding my repertoire and learning new techniques. A wonderful part of the illustration portion of creating is that I can translate my emotions onto paper, express my feelings and ideas. Once something is drawn, I look back at it from time to time to see how much I have grown, both as a person as an artist and remember the emotions I felt while drawing. Drawings get old really fast for me, as something I drew yesterday I can already draw better today. Moving on and just constantly practicing is what I enjoy most about art. So I guess my answer is both.

Kathryn Hammond‘s image “Fire” is the cover art for our October 2017 stories.Metaphorosis

A question for Angie Lathrop

Q: How do you generate story ideas, and how soon do you act on them?

A: I nerdishly carry a notebook at all times, and whenever I come across something really interesting in reading or in life (a phrase, a concept, a quote, almost anything) I write it down in my current notebook. I also use the notebook for to-do lists and brainstorming and practically everything I need to refer to or keep in mind, for my professional, personal, and writing lives. I don’t separate the notebooks into sections, so as I’m perusing the pages for a phone number, I’ll come across fragments of ideas that could turn into stories, so I’m constantly feeding those bits back into my mind to incubate. It might be months or even years after I record an idea in my notebook that I write a story about it.

Angie Lathrop’s story “Radical Abundance” was published on Friday, 29 September 2017.
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Another question for Simon Kewin

Q: How often do you think about writing during a day?

A: Some days, when all the background noise of daily life gets in the way, I guess I don’t think about writing that much. Other days, when there’s a bit more space, I think about it a lot, playing with ideas in my head, coming up with scenes and dialogues. There’s probably a lesson there: to write you need to give yourself time to let the words and ideas flow. As someone once said, “You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.”

Simon Kewin’s story “What the Darkness Is” was published on Friday, 22 September 2017.
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A question for Michael Gardner

Q: What’s your favorite non-SFF book?

A: The New York Trilogy by Paul Auster. It’s beautifully written, and strange and compelling. Auster puts himself in the stories. Literally. Paul Auster is a character. Another character pretends to be Paul Auster. Yet, these meta-references never detract from the three stories. To me, Auster wants you to be aware that the characters you are reading about are simply reflections of his mind, and yet, despite being conscious of this throughout the book, I was still caught up in the twisting, confusing narratives, the uncertainty between fact and fiction, the ambiguity of the language, and the sense of obsession and loss of identity.

On the off chance someone thinks I’m cheating by calling something as strange as the New York Trilogy a pure, non-SFF book, then my back up would be Brighton Rock by Graham Greene. On the surface, it’s an excellent gangster novel. But dig a bit deeper and you also find these great musings on the juxtaposition between religion and atheism, between good and evil, and right and wrong.

Michael Gardner’s story “Renewal”  was published on Friday, 15 September 2017.
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A question for Laura E. Price

Q: Why do you write speculative rather than realistic fiction?

A: The very first time I was ever asked this question, it was as part of a workshop during my final semester of college, posed to the entire class by our professor, in a tone of voice one usually associates with the exhausted parents of unruly teenagers. It boiled down to, “this story is good, why is it science fiction?”

The story was mine, by the way. I didn’t really take the complimentary part to heart at all. I did take the other half of it more to heart than I should have. I spent a good chunk of my graduate school years and beyond writing realistic fiction and feeling really, really defensive any time I wrote anything even a little speculative. “It’s literary!” “It’s magical realism!” “It’s outsized reality!”

Around ten years ago–right around the time I had my son, so maybe the sleep-deprivation helped lower my inhibitions–I stopped writing any realistic fiction. I started writing things because I wondered if I could–can I write steampunk? Epistolary steampunk? How about a superhero story? Sea monsters? Giant fight scenes and a homunculus? Love story complicated by time dilation? I don’t know–let’s find out!

And I realized something that is, ultimately, the answer to the question posed above. I write speculative fiction because it’s cooler, and it’s way more fun.

Laura E. Price’s story “The Lost Languages of Exiles” was published on Friday, 8 September 2017.
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