Q: What five words describe you?
A: Industrious, offbeat, quirky, dedicated, foolish.
Q: What’s your favorite kind of pie?
A: Strawberry. During the summer as a boy, we used to visit my grandparents in Missouri and my grandmother would make us wonderful strawberry pies. When I think of summer I still think of backyard fireworks, uncomfortable lawn chairs, and a plate full of strawberry pie in my lap.
Q: What do you think makes for a good story?
A: A good story needs compelling characters, an interesting plot, a captivating setting, and prose rich with action or detail. Those are the easy parts. Who wants to stop with a merely good story? I’d much rather read a great story. Greatness requires one more layer: a meaning that fills and overfills the bounds of the story, reaching beyond the characters and confines of the page. Every author dreams of writing stories that leave the reader with a new understanding – conscious or otherwise – of their self, society, or humanity.
Q: What’s a typical drawing day like for you?
A: My typical drawing day consists firstly of exploratory doodles. It is all about finding an interesting silhouette and expanding upon happy accidents. When I am designing, I may have something in mind but allow my hand and imagination to do as they please. Drawing for me is fluid, uninhibited creativity.
Vincent Coviello‘s image “Earth, Air, and Fire” is the cover art for our September 2016 stories.
Q: What’s easier for you – imagining a happier world, or a darker one?
A: I mean, it’s not hard at all to imagine a better world than this—a world free of racism/sexism/homo- and transphobia/genocide/war/gun violence/etc. A lot of fiction draws our attention to issues by exaggerating the bad, making it worse (I mean how popular are YA Dystopias right now? How popular is 1984?). There’s a kind of escapism in that though, a tendency to say “Oh well at least real life isn’t that bad.” But I think some of the best speculative fiction, like Octavia E. Butler’s “Dawn,” shows us how horrifying our own human tendencies can be by putting them in contrast to a happier world, by showing how humans do not fit in a utopia.
Q: Do you write things other than speculative fiction?
A: I have written and published scientific articles on my neuroscience research.