Edward Ashton lives in Rochester, New York with his inordinately patient wife, an adorably mopey dog, and a steadily diminishing number of daughters. He studies new cancer therapies by day, and spends his evenings writing speculative fiction, and occasionally trying to explain how an MRI works to an extremely bored sixteen year old girl.
Alyssa N. Vaughn’s story “Five Star Review” was published in Metaphorosis on Friday, 11 January 2019. Part of this story came from my annual fury with ThinkGeek for offering products that aren’t real every April Fools’ Day. I wanted to imagine a scenario where they were offering a product that sounded fake but was actually ready to ship, 100% functional. But instead of thinking about what chaos would happen when ThinkGeek started selling time machines …
Q: What other writers inspire you?
A: This is a hard question to answer concisely! There are many writers I enjoy, and many writers that inspire me in writing and other ways. So I’ll pick two that I don’t think are mainstream now in speculative fiction.
I like reading about infrastructure, and my favorite such book is The Big Necessity by Rose George—unfashionable topic, new stuff in every chapter instead of variations of one main idea, a real balance of skepticism and optimism, and humor that’s funny but respectful. And unlike most nonfiction books, I can still remember some of what it was about.
In fiction, I recently read Seize the Day and Herzog by Saul Bellow. I always assumed that he’d be too hard to read to enjoy, when in fact he’s right on the line. It’s an effort, for me, and not a lot happens, but he is so funny. Herzog brought the phrase ‘ludicrous shmegeggy’ into American literature. I didn’t know it was possible to take apart a characters to such a degree, and without ever dropping long, twisty sentences that take multiple readings just to parse.
Claire Simpson writes code by day and stories by night (or at least that’s what she claims to be doing when she’s actually looking at Twitter). Congenitally incapable of doing nothing, she also sews, crochets, and favours a peaty single malt if you’re buying.
M.J. Gardner’s story “The Book of Regrets” was published in Metaphorosis on Friday, 4 January 2019. In writing “The Book of Regrets”, I used two of my friends as the main characters. I have always used real people in creating characters, but usually just bits and pieces of them. I will take one person’s habit of pursing their lips when they are thinking, another’s voice, someone else’s hair, facial expression, or fashion sense. Sometimes I …
Q: Are you an outline or discovery writer?
A: I’m very much an outline writer. I like to think through where the story and the character are going before I get started. I might make changes along the way, but I find that structure is vital in freeing up my brain to focus on the words.