A question for Mahmud El Sayed

Q: What is your favorite fairy tale?

A: One Thousand and One Nights. It has everything. Charismatic heroes. Terrifying villains. Djinns. Thieves. Adventures. Magic carpets and healing apples. Proto-sci-fi and murder mystery. My favourite story is probably “The Fisherman and the Jinni” which tells how a quick-witted fisherman is able to get one over on an all-powerful genie.

Mahmud El Sayed’s story “The Lost Library
in Metaphorosis Friday, 8 July 2022.
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A question for Samuel Parr

Q: What distracts you?

A: So many things, when I could be writing… Here’s a handpicked honest selection:

Sometimes, bad stuff. Sad news, back pain, imposter syndrome, or the crazy fact we’re all going to end. But for the most part, beautiful things. Sparrows and blue tits and pigeons, flitting outside my window and being generally marvellous. People murmuring in a café just beyond my hearing. Daydreams of forests, and mystical worlds. Great stories. Real and imagined, there are so many interesting things.

And, I suppose, a lot of those distractions become writing-fuel. It’s all part of the process.

Samuel Parr’s story “The Eye of the Goddess
in Metaphorosis Friday, 1 July 2022.
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A question for Richard Strachan

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

A: A typical day for me starts as soon as I get back from dropping my daughter off at school, about 9am. If I’m working on something I’ve been commissioned to write, then I write solidly straight on to the laptop, with a brief break for lunch, until about 2.30pm, picking it up again in the evening. If it’s something else, then a lot of that time is spent thinking or sketching notes, usually by hand. I always try to fit in a long walk in the middle of the day as well, no matter the weather — nothing gets the imagination working better.

Richard Strachan’s story “Tashala’s Hair
in Metaphorosis Friday, 24 June 2022.
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A question for L.A.W. Butler

Q: What do you think is the single most important quality for a good writer to possess?

A:  Humility.  There are a finite number of plot lines (usually numbered from five to seven) and everything you create is going to be a variation on those themes.  It is how you play with those ideas, whom you choose to grapple with those conflicts, and the words you assign to each that make you a writer.  That means you are sharing space with a great many talented people.  Appreciate the fact that you are part of an amazing world of people who read, who write and who value both.

L.A.W. Butler’s story “Her Spirit Animal
in Metaphorosis Friday, 17 June 2022.
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A question for Anna Madden

Q: Do you prefer your SFF as books or movies?

A: SFF books take me on an internal journey that movies can’t often replicate. Written works are fluid, with rich details that I can sow and feed with my own imagination. I crave stories that seem to breathe as they unfold, becoming uniquely mine as I consume them. In All the Murmuring Bones by A. G. Slatter, I loved exploring that dark, secret-laden world through Miren’s eyes, seeing her thoughts and perspective so intimately. But I certainly enjoy SFF movies, the talents of many creating a few hours of magic. Dune blew me away last year even though I knew the story already. I enjoyed the insect-like ornithopters and seeing those colossal sandworms, and I’ve re-listened to the soundtrack often while writing. Perhaps I should retry answering this question and say SFF books are like strawberry ice cream to me, but that doesn’t mean I won’t eat mint chocolate chip if it’s offered.

Anna Madden’s story “Time, Wolf, Emit, Flow
in Metaphorosis Friday, 10 June 2022.
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A question for Gwen Whiting

Q: What is the hardest part of writing for you?

A: The hardest part of writing for me is often knowing when to stop. It’s very easy to get caught up, not only when writing in the world that I’ve created, but also when building the world itself. I enjoy research more than I probably should, and often look around at ideas, events, and people of the past when brainstorming short stories. It interests me to take what was and instead imagine what could have been.

Gwen Whiting’s story “Since We Don’t Have Wings
in Metaphorosis Friday, 3 June 2022.
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