Henry Szabranski was born in Birmingham, UK, and studied Astronomy & Astrophysics at Newcastle upon Tyne University, graduating with a degree in Theoretical Physics. He lives in Buckinghamshire with his wife and two young sons. He doesn’t believe in angels.
Q: How do pets/children/significant others help/hinder your process?
A: Almost all outside forces conspire against me. My son barges into my office, as nine-year-olds are wont to do, and tries to read my on-screen words. I’m a perfectionist by nature, so no one is allowed to see the first draft, but with him especially, I can’t shrink the screen quickly enough. I don’t want him to drink in the horrors of my writing and develop some sort of neurosis. As a parent, I feel I’m already doing unspoken psychological damage. I have to avoid anything blatantly scarring. This job is really hard.
At the same instant, my wife has been pestering me to continue a novella series I started for her amusement. I had bragged to her that I could craft a regency romance that would knock her socks off, providing I could give it my own unique twist. She doubted me, so of course I wrote it to prove how right I was. (This is standard husbandly behavior.) I’m not sure what genre the piece falls into. Picture a fusion of P.G. Wodehouse, Clive Barker, and Georgette Heyer. It’s charming in its lunacy. I could write five short stories in the place of a new novella, but just thinking about it now . . . perhaps I’ll build my daily wordcount and add another escapade.
I suppose the housecat is the only one who lets me work. He preferred my old boxy monitor, which made a toasty perch for him in the winter months, but he seems satisfied with the bench I’ve set up next to me. He has developed a habit of snoring, which I’ve never heard of afflicting a cat, but clearly it happens. It’s funny for ten minutes or so, until I find my breathing syncing with his own. That just feels weird to me, so I bump him to make him stop. Lord of the manor, and all that.
Julia Warner is an undergraduate student at the University of Virginia from Nashville, Tennessee. She loves running, writing, and playing guitar. She cannot live without books and spends more time in Westeros and Middle Earth than she does in this world.
Q: Are titles easy or hard for you? Do you start with the title or the story?
A: I hate writing titles, primarily because I am just terrible at it. It’s always the very last part of the process for me. I can’t even imagine the idea of starting with a title and writing a story, although I realize others do just this.
Rhoads has written stories across the entire spectrum of speculative fiction, from light fantasy to the most decrepit tales of horror to quirky sci-fi. He currently lives in Colorado with his wife and son.
Q: What hero (of any gender) would you name your child after, if we lived in a society with names like that?
A: Princess Eilonwy! As a boy, I would sit in the corner of my hometown’s public library in the summer and read and reread the Prydain Chronicles, always wishing I could be as brave and creative and self-knowing as Princess Eilonwy of Llyr.