Tag Archives: author interview

Author Interview: Alma Katsu

Alma Katsu Author Photo_credit Steve Parke Photography

Today I am interviewing Alma Katsu, author of the new horror novel, The Fervor.

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DJ: Hi Alma! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview! 

For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?

Alma Katsu: I’ve written seven novels. Most are in the historical horror/supernatural fantasy vein, with the most recent being The Fervor. I also had a spy thriller, Red Widow, come out in 2021, with a second in the series coming in 2023. I’ve been putting out novels for over ten years but had a whole career in intelligence (hence the spy novels), retiring a few years ago.

DJ: What is The Fervor about?


Alma: On one level, it’s about the lives of four characters during the waning days of WWII: Meiko, the Japanese wife of a U.S. fighter pilot imprisoned at one of the Japanese internment camps; Archie Mitchell, whose wife is killed at the opening of the book when a fu-go, or fire balloon, explodes near Bly, Oregon; Fran Gurstwold, a reporter intent on writing up the dangerous and mysterious fire balloon incidents; and Aiko, Meiko’s daughter, who escapes from camp and makes a dangerous solo journey back to Seattle when she’s told her mother has died. On another level, though, it’s an exploration of racism.

DJ: What were some of your influences for The Fervor? 

Alma: My previous historical horror novels (The Hunger and The Deep) were influences, in that I’d learned a lot about writing this sub-genre from them, from how closely to hew to history (or not), and what people seem to want from this kind of novel. The Fervor, while employing the same techniques as the previous books (multiple POVs, a grounding in history), is fairly different in that most of the characters are completely made up and it isn’t a close retelling of a specific historical event. It’s more of an allegory.  Continue reading

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Author Interview: Errick Nunnally


Today I am interviewing Errick Nunnally, two-time Hugo Finalist with Journey Planet and author of the new horror short-story, Devil’s Hollow, which can be read in the new anthology, Giving the Devil His Due.

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DJ: Hi Errick! Thanks for stopping by to do this interview! 

For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?

Errick Nunnaly: Hi, DJ! Thanks for the opportunity. I am a relatively normal human with a weakness for comic books, sci-fi, and other speculative works. I was raised in Boston, Massachusetts—the Mattapan neighborhood—and after high school I did a stint in the U.S. Marine Corps. I have a Fine Arts degree in Graphic Design—a very dissonantly titled degree—and a black belt in Krav Maga/Muay Thai. Like most authors, I have a wide range of interests from socio-political history to marine biology to cocktails.

DJ: Before we get to your story, as I mentioned above, Giving the Devil His Due, is a charity anthology. What charity is the anthology for, and why was this project something you wanted to be a part of?

GTDHD - Special Edition Cover

Errick: The anthology is for The Pixel Project, a non-profit focused on ending violence against women. They are an online collective, so their communications channels and network are huge in social media and new technologies. In particular, their project, the Read For Pixels Campaign, contains the anthology and related events such as blog tours, panels, signings, and interviews. I wanted to be a part of it because it’s currently the best way for me to contribute to the cause.

DJ: What is your story, Devil’s Hollow, about?

Errick: The theme for the entire anthology was “comeuppance” with a Twilight Zone feel. I am a huge fan of revenge. I love comeuppance, it’s definitely an entertaining thought as it pertains to real world problems, if impractical all too often. So, these stories are supposed to reflect that. My story is about a woman who comes to recognize the opportunity that follows when she and her toxic husband drop their son off at college. Through a serendipitous occurrence, she comes in contact with a network that’s all to happy to encourage her…independent thinking.

DJ: What were some of the inspirations behind Devil’s Hollow

Errick: The different forms of abusive behaviors that partners can model. I wanted to present a situation that was not as overt as someone who is unfamiliar with domestic violence might think. How someone can be trapped and to what extent their autonomy erased. And I really, really, really wanted to present a comeuppance that was unexpected and plausible. Continue reading

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Author Interview: David Dalglish

David Dalglish author photo 2021

Today I am interviewing David Dalglish, author of the new fantasy novel, The Bladed Faith, first book in the Vagrant Gods series.

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DJ: Hi David! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview! 

For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?

David Dalglish: Hello! I’m the somewhat prolific fantasy author of a bunch of different series, from the very D&D influenced the Half-Orcs and the Paladins, the assassin focused Shadowdance series, the anime inspired Seraphim Trilogy, and the overall bonkers Keepers Trilogy. I was there at the start of the self-publishing boom on Amazon, and also been traditionally published with Orbit Books for years now. With all this experience, you might think I know what I’m doing, but that’s still debatable.

DJ: What is The Bladed Faith about?


David: The island of a young prince, is invaded by the Everlorn Empire, a sprawling power on the mainland ruled by their God-Incarnate, who is determined to slaughter all other ‘heathen’ gods and establish himself as the sole idol of worship. With his family executed, his gods slain, and his army crushed, any resistance seems hopeless. But then a core group of resistance fighters from the mainland arrive, rescue Cyrus, and offer him a chance to fight back. Using his ties to the throne, and their money and experience, they can create a new resistance, spearheaded by Cyrus himself. He will be their figurehead, trained to fight, to kill. He’ll become an assassin known as the Vagrant, and through rumors and subterfuge become a new hope for the island so they might believe this overwhelming, unstoppable empire can still be beaten.

DJ: What is the world and setting of the Vagrant Gods series like?

David: The vast majority of the Vagrant Gods takes place on the island of Thanet. It’s a fairly small island, ruled over by two gods, the butterfly goddess Lycaena and the winged lion Endarius. Due to the cooperation of the gods, their earlier squabbles and fractured regions have united under a single royal family blessed by the gods themselves. Given their lengthy distance from the mainland continent of Gadir, the people of Thanet have mostly known peace…until that massive fleet arrives at their shores at the beginning of the novel. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Chris Panatier

Chris Panatier author photo

Today I am interviewing Chris Panatier, author of the new science-fiction novel, Stringers. 

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DJ: Hi Chris! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview! 

For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?

Chris Panatier: Hi and thanks for asking me. I live in Dallas, Texas, with my family and the clown show of dogs who have joined us like camp followers. I write books and short stories, illustrate album and book covers, and also practice law going after companies that do bad things to people.

DJ: What is Stringers about?

Stringers cover

Chris: I knew someone would ask me this eventually 🙂 Okay. I’m just going to give you a beefed up version of the short back cover copy, because it’s the best boiled down take without being too spoilery: Ben is NOT a genius, but he can spout facts about animals and wristwatches with the best of experts. He just can’t explain how he knows any of it. He also knows about the Chime. What it is or why it’s important he couldn’t say. But this knowledge is about to get him in a whole heap of trouble. After he and his best friend Patton are abducted by a trash-talking, flesh-construct alien bounty hunter, Ben finds out just how much he is worth… and how dangerous he can be. Hopefully Patton and a stubborn jar of pickles will be enough to help him through. Because being able to describe the mating habits of Brazilian bark lice isn’t going to save them.

So that’s basically it. I will say that in talking about the book I’ve undersold the heart and poignancy that much of this story carries with it. It’s funny, yes, but this is about a group of people in a difficult situation and how relationships between them are born and tested. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Khan Wong

Khan Wong cropped
Today I am interviewing Khan Wong, author of the new science-fiction novel, The Circus Infinite.

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DJ: Hi Khan! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview! 

For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?

Khan Wong: Thanks for having me! I’ve been a creative person my whole life, and over the years I’ve published poetry, played the cello and ukulele, been a firedancer and hula hooper. I worked in the nonprofit arts for a long time.

DJ: What is The Circus Infinite about?

circus infinite cover

Khan: The elevator pitch is: it’s about a circus that takes down a crimeboss on the galaxy’s infamous pleasure moon. The longer more nuanced answer is, it’s about chosen family, community, the acceptance of people different from us, and art. With a dash of superpowers and lots of aliens and partying.

DJ: What were some of your influences for The Circus Infinite

Khan: The Wayfarers books by Becky Chambers and that slice-of-life approach to space opera was a big influence on this project. The Sol Majestic by Ferrett Steinmetz was also instructive for me. And my experiences in the realm of circus arts.

DJ: Could you briefly tell us a little about your main characters? Do they have any cool quirks or habits, or any reason why readers with sympathize with them? 

Khan: The main character, Jes, is an asexual empath with gravity powers. The gravity powers drive the plot, but his sexuality and empathic ability drive the character and how he relates to the world – particularly an overtly sexual world such as a pleasure moon. He’s essentially a gentle person who hasn’t experienced much kindness in his life, and struggles with some of the things he feels he has to do in the course of the story. His BFF is Esmée, who is an aspiring singer who learns to assert her identity against the cultural expectations of her people. Jes’s romantic interest is Bo, an acrobat in the circus who is fiercely loyal and protective, and devoted to his art and community. The main antagonist is Niko, the local crimeboss who has his hooks in the circus, who presents himself as being cultured and debonair, but is capable of great cruelty and violence. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Tommy B. Smith

TbS PhotoToday I am interviewing Tommy B. Smith, author of the new horror novel, New Era, first book in the Black Carmenia series. 

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DJ: Hi Tommy! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview! 

For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?

Tommy B. Smith: I’m a lot of things. Too many things, some days. I’ll keep it short, though. I’m a writer of horror and dark fiction, author of award-winning novels such as The Mourner’s Cradle, Anybody Want to Play WAR?, and others. I also have a short story collection out, Pieces of Chaos. I’ve done some editing and freelance work on the side, and have taken some involvement in film as well. New Era is my newest book release. 

DJ: What is New Era about?

New Era - Front Cover Art Tommy: The story of New Era revolves around a few different characters, and even different time periods. It opens with the story of Terry and Marjorie Valentine, who have moved into a cabin deep in the countryside of Concordia Parish, Louisiana, near the Black River, seeking refuge from a traumatic occurrence that almost fractured their marriage and lives. This area has a dark past, though, and what proceeds is a dual tale, that of Terry, Marjorie, and others in their circle, and of Raleigh Castel, a boy who disappeared under strange circumstances in 1918. 

DJ: What were some of your influences for New Era and the series? 

Tommy: I spent some time traveling through central and eastern Louisiana a few years back, and there I found inspiration for the story, as well as in history and the concept that each object we perceive has a story which, by proximity, may become linked to our own. 

DJ: There are many different definitions of horror in genre, so I’m curious, when you write “horror”, how is it that you try to scare your readers? Do you go for gore? Shock? Maybe build up tense moments? Or perhaps it is the unknown?

Tommy: I’ve touched on all of the above at various points, though I don’t necessarily consider gore to be scary. Colorful, perhaps. New Era approaches more of the tension angle, since it is more of an atmospheric tale of quiet horror, though the book does have its distinct moments of sheer savagery. 

DJ: Could you briefly tell us a little about your main characters? Do they have any cool quirks or habits, or any reason why readers with sympathize with them? 

Tommy: Terry and Marjorie have a complex relationship. They’ve managed to continue their life together, but not without suffering some damage. The fact that they’ve survived it speaks much of their dedication to each other, even while it’s fraught with insecurities on both sides. Every day is a new challenge for Marjorie, who struggles to overcome her fears and even dares to pursue the strange secrets buried in the adjacent property.

DJ: Aside from the main characters in the story, who is a favorite side character or a character with a smaller role in the story? Why? 

Tommy: I would have to go with Chloe, best friend and roommate to Terry and Marjorie’s daughter Natalie. When such subtle dimension springs from a secondary character, this leaves us, the writer and hopefully the readers, wanting more. 

DJ: What is the world and setting of the Black Carmenia series like?

Concept Art - Black Carmenia

Credit: Sako Tumi

Tommy: Incredibly nuanced. While each book strikes from a different angle, the Black Carmenia books largely fall into the category of Southern horror. I happen to live in the South, so here I’ve taken advantage of the setting and identity of the surrounding regions. You’ll see folklore, mysticism, and even some cosmic horror come out of it. The black carmenia itself, a rare flower with unusual qualities, plays a pivotal role across the entirety.  

DJ: What was your favorite part about writing New Era

Tommy: I enjoyed the research that went into it, exploring the actual region of the book’s setting and its possibilities. So much of it doesn’t even figure into the book, given this is a work of fiction and not an in-depth lesson for academic purposes, but it provided an interesting experience nonetheless. 

DJ: What do you think readers will be talking about most once they finish it?

Tommy: After finishing New Era, probably wondering where it could go from there. There is definitely more to come, and it may not be what everyone expects. 

DJ: Did you have a particular goal when you began the Black Carmenia series? New Era is only the first book, but is there a particular message or meaning you are hoping to get across when readers finish it? Or is there perhaps a certain theme to the story?

Tommy: When I set out to write New Era, I originally considered it a stand-alone story. I’ve written short stories set in different parts of Louisiana and intended to set my next book there, and also to pen a dual tale spanning two distant eras. By the end, it appeared there was more room to explore. Much more. Themes of betrayal, family, and resilience are definitely a part of New Era. As for what others make of it, I will let the readers make their own interpretations. 

DJ: When I read, I love to collect quotes – whether it be because they’re funny, foodie, or have a personal meaning to me. Do you have any favorite quotes from New Era that you can share with us?

Tommy: The world never slept, she understood now, even when the channels signed off and the lights went out. Behind the curtain of night, screams pierced the stillness, car horns blasted, glass bottles smashed against streets, strangers banged on doors at two-in-the-morning, drunk drivers careened into telephone poles, and insomniacs fought for their last shreds of sanity.

DJ: Now that New Era is released, what is next for you?

Tommy: The second Black Carmenia book has already landed with the publisher. I’m currently in the midst of writing the third.

DJ: Where can readers find out more about you?  

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Tommy-B-Smith/e/B008WTNZHG?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_3&qid=1646510871&sr=1-3

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/authortommybsmith

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/tommybsmith

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/penofchaos

Website: http://tommybsmith.net

DJ: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Tommy: Thank you for having me, and thanks to all of my readers, friends, and supporters for being so excellent. Until the next.

DJ: Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to answer my questions! 

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***New Era is published by Raven Tale and is available TODAY!!!***

Buy the Book: 

Amazon | Goodreads

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New Era - Front Cover Art

About the Book:

Insomnia. Headaches. Fear.

It drove Marjorie down, cost her a career, and almost destroyed her marriage. When she and her husband Terry escaped to the quiet green countryside west of the Mississippi River, their new home, it seemed too good to last.

The snake-ridden adjoining property, bordered by a row of maple trees, hosts a deadly secret. There the blood of fiends and innocents stain the crumbling ruins of an old farmhouse, a decaying testament to a web of treachery and murder stretching back to distant times.

The horror in the ruins watches in wait. Marjorie fears the end, and the end is coming.

TbS Photo

 About the Author:

Tommy B. Smith is a writer of horror and dark fiction, author of The Mourner’s Cradle, Poisonous, and Anybody Want to Play WAR? as well as the short story collection Pieces of Chaos. His work has been featured in numerous magazines and anthologies to span the years.

He has previously worked with Morpheus Tales as editor of the Dark Sorcery and Urban Horror special issues of the magazine.

Road Between Worlds: A Horror Author’s Chronicle is a documentary of the creative journey, that of the author and others including writers, artists, and filmmakers of varying backgrounds and persuasions. It begins in a cemetery and spans the book tour of 2018 across eleven cities.

In 2019, The Mourner’s Cradle received the Imadjinn Award for best horror novel, and in 2020, Anybody Want to Play WAR? for best literary fiction novel.

He currently resides in Fort Smith, Arkansas with his wife and cats.

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Author Interview: Richard Thomas

Richard Thomas_Headshot_Credit John Geiger
Today I am interviewing Richard Thomas, author of the new science-fiction, fantasy, and horror short-story collection, Spontaneous Human Combustion.

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DJ: Hi Richard! Thanks for stopping by to do this interview! 

For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?

Richard Thomas: Sure! Thanks for having me. I’ve been writing for about 14 years now, with three novels, three collection, over 170 stories published (including alongside Stephen King four times now). I also have edited four anthologies, and ran Gamut magazine and Dark House Press. So, I’m not just an author, but an editor, teacher, and past publisher. I write dark fiction, but more and more these days, with some hope, not entirely bleak. I write hybrid fiction, often maximalist, with heavy setting, across quite a few genres—fantasy, science fiction, and horror, as you  mentioned— as as well as neo-noir, thrillers, Southern gothic, new-weird, magical realism, transgressive, and literary fiction. 

DJ: What is Spontaneous Human Combustion about?


Richard: Great question. It’s my fourth collection of stories, covering that last five years or so, and I think some of my best work to date. It’s not so much about spontaneous human COMBUSTION (bursting into flames) although there are some of those elements in the collection. It’s about spontaneous HUMAN combustion—the combustion of human elements, exploring the duality in human nature, the secrets and monsters we hold inside ourselves, and the potential to either lean into the darkness (“Yes, I WOULD like to live deliciously!”) or to push back against evil, and do the right thing. The image on the cover of the book shows a woman’s face, a mask really, breaking apart to reveal a ravenous wolf underneath. So, these are dark stories, but not without hope. Most story either has a “hopepunk” vibe or there is justice/vengeance at the end. And sometimes, yeah, the darkness wins. There is that, too. But I’ve been working hard the last few years to put LOVE at the center of my dark stories, and not DEATH. So that had gotten me to some different places, more optimistic.  Continue reading

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Author Interview: Ron Walters

Ron Walters Angry Robot photo
Today I am interviewing Ron Walters, author of the new sci-fi thriller novel, Deep Dive.

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DJ: Hi Ron! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview! 

For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?

Ron Walters: Thanks for having me! I’m originally from Savannah, GA, but moved around a lot as a kid because my dad was in the Coast Guard. At the moment I live in Germany with my wife, two daughters, and two rescue dogs. When I’m not writing I work as a substitute teacher at the high school where my wife teaches language arts.  

DJ: What is Deep Dive about?


Ron: Deep Dive is a sci-fi thriller about a video game developer named Peter Banuk who’s so obsessed with salvaging his floundering career that he spends more time working than he does with his wife and young daughters. When he tests an experimental VR headset designed by his tech genius business partner and friend, the headset malfunctions and knocks Peter out. After coming to he discovers that his daughters no longer exist, and he’s somehow the hugely successful game developer he’s always dreamed of being.

DJ: What were some of your influences for Deep Dive

Ron: There are so many to choose from. Dark Matter and Recursion by Blake Crouch were definitely more recent influences in terms of the kind of book I wanted Deep Dive to be. Same with Tad Williams’ Otherland series, which I read way, way back when I was in college–nothing I’ve read since has quite surpassed its scope and inventiveness, especially where VR is concerned. I’m also an avid gamer, so when I first started plotting Deep Dive I knew I wanted it to focus on video games in some way. It really wasn’t until I watched a documentary on the development of God of War (the 2018 one) that I finally nailed down the main character and plot. Continue reading

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Author Interview: Jonathan Strecker

Today I am interviewing Jonathan Strecker, author of the new sci-fi horror novel, Shimmers.

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DJ: Hi Jon! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview! 

For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?

J.P. Streckers: Thank you, DJ. I am honored to be interviewed. 

I was born in a small town in Ohio – Bellevue. It is a bit south of Cedar Point, which is a well known amusement park in the area. As you will see in the book, the location is centered around Bellevue. 

As a child, my friends and I were fascinated by the supernatural. That fascination persisted into adulthood. As such, when I went to college at The Ohio State University, I majored in Psychology. As time went on, I diversified my educational ambitions, including taking classes for an MBA and completing my doctoral degree in Education. I am currently a Head of School in Western Pennsylvania. 

DJ: What is Shimmers about?


J.P.: While the story Shimmers is purely fiction, the tale embodies theories I have developed over time regarding the supernatural. James and Josh, three-year-old twins see something unusual in the forest while camping. Josh, the braver of the two, steps into a mysterious anomaly and disappears. James continues to see the shimmers, but is too frightened to interact with them until many years later. With the support of his younger brothers and best friend, Bob, the boys begin to test their own theories. As the boys experience ghosts, demons, and mythical creatures, they begin to understand the dynamics of the shimmers and devise a plan to find Josh and bring him home. If you enjoy stories that incorporate time travel, alternate dimensions, quantum theory, and the unexplained, I believe you will enjoy Shimmers.

DJ: What were some of your influences for Shimmers

J.P.: As I mentioned, my educational background is a myriad of experiences ranging from psychology, physics, education, and business. I tend to consider the unexplained through a logical mindset. However, I also have strong beliefs based on my own experiences, including having survived both Stage IV Cancer in my early 20s and a cardiac arrest in my late 40s. Each of those events contributed heavily to my supernatural experiences. Needless to say, I am extremely lucky to be alive and my experiences with the supernatural are quite unusual. Nothing like crossing over to the otherside to help with imagery and imagination.  Continue reading

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Author Interview: Isabel Yap

Today I am interviewing Isabel Yap, author of the new short-fiction collection, Never Have I Ever.

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DJ: Hi Isabel! Thanks for stopping by to do this interview! 

For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?

Isabel Yap: Hi! Thanks for having me. My name is Isa; I’m a writer from the Philippines. I started going by Isabel when I moved to the US, which is a decade ago now–mostly because when I introduced myself I would sometimes get, “Oh, Lisa?” as a response. I write fiction and poetry, I’m trying to learn how to write novels, and I work in the tech industry as a product manager. I like fanfic, manga, museums, places with lots of trees, and sweets of almost any kind.

DJ: What is Never Have I Ever about?

Isabel: Never Have I Ever is my debut short story collection. It collects stories written between 2011 and 2020, which span the genres of contemporary fantasy, near-future science fiction, horror, epic fantasy, and fabulism. It’s about being Filipino, so faith, food, and family are significant themes. It’s about grief and loss, the awkwardness of your twenties, and several different types of monsters, some who are friendly, some who are girls, some who are both.

DJ: Being an author, what do you believe makes a good short-story? How does it differ from wiring novel-length stories?

Isabel: I still don’t know how to write novel-length stories, though I’ve been trying with varying degrees of seriousness since at least 2005. Writing novels is extremely difficult, and I basically take Kelly Link’s cheeky view that novelists who say short stories are harder to write are lying. I’m really not one to ask for a comparison, having only managed one of those lengths so far. As for what makes a story good, there are specific things I care about: I like some attention to the line, I appreciate resonance, and I love it when I’m either surprised or my expectations are met exactly. I like when stories give me physical sensations. There are certain relationship arcs that are totally my jam, that will be easy for me to fall into; but I can be convinced to like almost anything if the execution delights me in some way.  In the end I think what makes a good story–no matter the length–is that, at its core, it’s about something real. I want to feel that the author crafted it thoughtfully, trying to get that realness across. In its bones it has to have truth, whatever that means for the author and the eventual reader.  Continue reading

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