A question for David Cleden

Q: What book or books inspired you as a child?

A: At some point in my childhood reading, I came across the science fiction of Isaac Asimov. I loved those novels about time travellers and robot detectives and far-future galactic empires. Then in the local library one day, I came across an anthology of science fiction stories, each of which had a little personal introduction by Asimov and suddenly it was as if he was not only telling me wonderful stories but speaking directly to me. I’d never met any writers at that point. There were no websites or internet. But here was Isaac Asimov reaching out to his readers and chatting with them about anything and everything as though we were firm friends. More than anything, that proximity to someone that I admired so much convinced me that one day I wanted to be a science fiction writer too.

Later I discovered Asimov’s books of science essays gathered from his monthly column in “Fantasy and Science Fiction” magazine. They, too, began with some personal note or chatty introduction. His writing style made every difficult concept seem accessible. Suddenly I was convinced I wanted to study science and be a science fiction writer,
something I still aspire to today.


David Cleden’s story “In the Beating of a Wing
in Metaphorosis Friday, 17 May 2019.
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A question for Katrina Smith

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

A: I’ve experienced a lot of different critique arrangements over time. When I was an undergrad, I started getting a group of people whose work I admired together outside of class to read, write and encourage each other with feedback for each others’ work. I have an MFA in Fiction from George Mason University, so I’ve also experienced a few dynamics when it comes to critiquing and being critiqued by mentors, professors, classmates and peers. I’m thankful for all of those experiences, because they really taught me how to take constructive criticism, disconnect the personal from the work, and offer clear, concise feedback in return. I’m not entirely comfortable with having twenty or thirty people involved in the early stages of a draft, though. It can be too much to synthesize when you have that many opinions to go through.

Now, I have a group of 3-4 people I tend to run work by for feedback once I get a first draft finished. These are people I’ve met at some point during my writing journey, either when I was getting my degree or from interactions in writing communities and retreats, and who write a diverse set of things. I’ve actually found it’s really helpful to have someone who doesn’t normally read or write speculative fiction take a look at a draft — they’ll see things that reviewers who are familiar with SF/F won’t, and often what they respond to is surprising. So I tend to send things to a few people I trust, and then see where the areas of overlap are when I move to editing.

I also love reading and responding to work, too. Reciprocating feedback is exciting. It helps me feel intimately connected to my personal writing community and recharges me on days when I’m having a hard time interacting with my own stories.


Katrina Smith’s story “Somewhere to be Going
in Metaphorosis Friday, 3 May 2019.
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A question for Luke Murphy

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

A: I was born in a city that no longer exists: West Berlin, during the Cold War. After the collapse of communist East Germany in 1989, Checkpoint Charlie and the Berlin Wall are just tourist attractions now. I like to revisit it as it once was by reading Len Deighton’s spy novels of the era. I grew up in the city of Kilkenny in Ireland, where I went to Jonathan Swift’s former school. Toronto’s my home now, but I still love to travel and have lots of places I want to go. And some special places I’d love to go back to, like Istanbul, the Indian city of Udaipur, and a tiny village in the foothills of the French Pyrénées.


Luke Murphy’s story “A Sacrifice for the Queen
in Metaphorosis Friday, 26 April 2019.
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A question for Frances Pauli

Q: If someone wanted to make an animated series out of your work, based on the title or recurring themes, what would it look like?

A: An animated series based on my work would look a great deal like studio Ghibli meets Disney’s Zootopia . I populate my worlds with talking animals, fairy tale themes, and a touch of humor. Miranda from “With Eyes Half Open”, would certainly love to be a Ghibli girl.


Frances Pauli’s story “With Eyes Half Open
in Metaphorosis Friday, 19 April 2019.
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A question for Daniel Roy

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

A: People love to rave about the blissful process of writing, but let me tell you… Having written beats writing, no contest.

Writing is the messy act of giving birth: I bare my guts on the computer screen, and in the thick of this bloody, miraculous, godawful process, there is no way to know if either I or my creation will ever emerge whole. The hope keeps me going: that one day, I will have written, and that this small, bloody corner of my soul will know a modicum of peace before the renewed siren call of writing rises once more.

But having written, ah, now there’s the blissful part. My words are finally free to reach others and germinate their own imaginations. Perhaps these people will hate it, but never as much as I did writing and revising it; or perhaps they will fall in love with my story, but never as fiercely nor as desperately as I.

There’s a supreme vitality to writing, and there is no having written without the writing part. But the reward of writing, for me, is found in having written, in watching my creation go forth into the world, having left the bruised mess of my mind behind for greener pastures.


Daniel Roy’s story “Forever and a Life
in Metaphorosis Friday, 12 April 2019.
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