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 Samuel Chapman

Q: What is your favourite short story?

A: “Night Meeting” by Ray Bradbury from The Martian Chronicles. Nothing much happens in it–just a guy driving to a party and meeting a Martian on the way. During their conversation, however, Earthling and Martian realize they cannot tell the difference between future and past, and that therefore the only thing we can count on is the beauty of the present. Bradbury uses simple images to immensely moving effect. The whole book is great, but this is the one I can read over and over.

Honorable mentions: “Seasons of Glass and Iron” by Amal El-Mohtar, “Idle Days on the Yann” by Lord Dunsany, “Oh, Whistle, and I’ll Come to You, My Lad” by M.R. James.

Samuel Chapman’s story “The Foaling Season” was
published on Friday, 1 June 2018.

Subscribe to our e-mail updates so you’ll know when new stories go live.

A question for Gloria Wickman

Q: Do you often include children in your stories? What role do they play?

A: I haven’t included many children in my stories, but when I have it’s usually been to illustrate an episode early in a character’s life. I don’t think of writing children any differently than any other characters, so they could play any role depending on the context of the story.

What’s most important to me when writing is that every character, even minor ones, has a sense of agency in their actions so I’m always wary of stories that treat children more like talking props or symbols of innocence rather than fleshed out individuals.

Gloria Wickman’s story “Chasing the Light” was
published on Friday, 25 May 2018.

Subscribe to our e-mail updates so you’ll know when new stories go live.

Another question for David Hammond

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

A: My critique group consists of my wife and my mother, who are both writers. They offer invaluable feedback, but I realize that it may not always be impartial or thorough. I have a Scribophile account, and I think it would be a very useful resource if I could manage to use it more often. I go back to Scribophile every once in a while to give it another try, and when I do I generally manage to do one critique, and then when I try to do another one I slip into a state of paralysis and self-doubt. Who am I to analyze this story? Am I being too harsh, too picky, too glib, too nice? I don’t manage to finish the second critique, because I run out of time, and I rationalize my behavior by reasoning that I am better off using my time reading the books on my Goodreads list and writing my own stories than critiquing the stories of others. This is true to some extent, but it’s also selfish and maybe self-defeating in the long run.

David Hammond’s story “Suzy’s Friend” was
published on Friday, 18 May 2018.

Subscribe to our e-mail updates so you’ll know when new stories go live.

Another question for Kathryn Yelinek

Q: What’s easier for you – imagining a happier world, or a darker one?

A: If we’re talking about a future for our own world, sadly it’s easier for me to think that this world will get darker, at least in the immediate future. However, if we’re talking about an imaginary story world, then it’s easier for me to imagine a happier one. I write and I read fantasy to experience places unlike the world I inhabit every day. Why not make those happier ones?

Kathryn Yelinek’s story “On the Scales of Dragons” was
published on Friday, 11 May 2018.

Subscribe to our e-mail updates so you’ll know when new stories go live.

A question for Adan Berkowitz

Q: What is your writing schedule?

A: It depends. For a longer work like a novel, I’ll write every day for at least two hours, otherwise it just never gets done. With short stories, I’m much less disciplined. I’ll get an idea and write in bursts, with no set schedule. This leads to a lot of unfinished stories, sadly.

Adan Berkowitz’s story “Calm Folk, Come Forth” was
published on Friday, 4 May 2018.

Subscribe to our e-mail updates so you’ll know when new stories go live.

A question for Tim McDaniel

Q: Do you live near where you were born? Have you traveled much?

A: I grew up in the Seattle area, went to university in the Seattle area… pretty boring. But after graduation I applied to join the Peace Corps. They decided to send me to South Yemen (this was before South and North united). But, a couple of weeks before I was scheduled to ship out, I got a call telling me that our visas hadn’t been approved. Should they look for another assignment? Yes! I’d already sold my car, quit my job!

So a few weeks later I was sent to Thailand. After three months of intensive language and culture training, I was sent to a small village in Pichit province, Kampaengdin (“Dirtwall”). My duties were twofold: to teach English at the junior high school there, and to work with local farmers in some way. Well, I enjoyed the teaching, and did my best to see that the village farmers connected with agricultural officials, and even gave them information about raising fish in their rice paddies.

Normally Peace Corps assignments are for two years, but I applied for, and was granted, a third year, so I could work with various local schools on their English curricula. Then, as I was preparing to go home, I was told of a job offer at a university in the northeastern city of Khon Kaen. I went up there to see if it looked interested, and was immediately offered the job.

I loved it, but after a year came back to the U.S. I’d felt something of an imposter, since I only had a B.A. Back in Seattle I got my Master’s in teaching ESL, and then heard that Khon Kaen University wanted me to come back, so I did. Six years later, the Thai economy crashed, so I returned to the U.S.

While living in Thailand I did a little traveling – Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Japan, Taiwan, and Nepal.

Tim McDaniel’s story “Koehl’s Quality Impressions” was
published on Friday, 27 April 2018.

Subscribe to our e-mail updates so you’ll know when new stories go live.