James Ross is an Englishman living North of the Wall in Edinburgh, where he writes whimsical fiction, and (occasionally) performs poetry.
Q: Do you ever feel bad for what you put your characters through?
A: I sometimes feel awful for what happens to my characters, but I don’t feel responsible. I like to think of their trajectories as inevitable. However, I’ll occasionally stay up late at night trying to think of ways to unhurt people who don’t exist. I think if I don’t feel bad, then I didn’t write the character well enough.
L Chan vacillates between studying for a post-graduate degree in London, writing all manner of speculative fiction and making up funny comments about cats on the Internet. He has been accused of being a self-aware meme-propagating bot. In the rest of his free time, he wanders the streets of London looking for the perfect cup of coffee.
Q: Do you generally start with mood, title, character, concept, …?
A: My best stories start with a character.
At any given time I have several ideas floating around in my mind for settings, concepts, or even opening lines, but it isn’t until I attach a character to one of those ideas that the story begins to form. The rest of the story takes shape based on the character—what they desire, what they have to overcome, and so on.
I certainly never start with a title. Titles are the worst!
Tony Clavelli is a writer and stopmotion animator from Illinois. He graduated from the West Virginia University MFA program in fiction. He lives and works in Seoul.
Q: What book or books inspired you as a child?
A: Like many people, my childhood was practically made of books. Something that stands out as especially captivating is the Narnia series by C.S. Lewis. Images from those books are seared into my mind. Even today, certain sights regularly transport me back to that world: Turkish delight, lampposts in the snow, paintings of ships, and, of course, wardrobes.