SpecMusicMuse—A Chimerical World Round Table Interview Part 2
Welcome to Part 2 of the A Chimerical World Round Table Interview. Sitting with me today are Doug Blakeslee, Michael M. Jones, Nick Bryan, Saera Corvin, and S. D. Grimm.
My name is Doug Blakeslee and I’ve sold almost a dozen short stories in the past two years. My current project is an urban fantasy novella that I’m in the process of revising while kicking out short stories.
I’m Michael M. Jones. Not only am I a writer, I’m also a book reviewer and the editor of Scheherazade’s Façade and the forthcoming Schoolbooks & Sorcery. My stories have appeared in a number of places, including Clockwork Phoenix 4 and Jack-o-‘Spec. You can learn more at www.michaelmjones.com.
Hi, I’m Nick Bryan, London-based darkly comic genre writer, author of the weekly (and very British) crime comedy-drama webserial Hobson & Choi. Think Sherlock, but scrappier and more embedded in our reality. Details on http://www.hobsonandchoi.com
I write under the pen name S. D. Grimm. My first novelette Breathless was published last year. Since then I’ve had flash fiction pieces published in Splickety Magazine and a short story published in the anthology Pure Science Fiction and Fantasy. But I’m really excited because I recently signed a contract for my YA fantasy novel! You can check out more about that and my writing in general by visiting www.sdgrimm.com
Tell us a little about your story
Doug: This one [“Tamer of Beasts”] sprang to life when a friend of mine made an off-hand comment about Beauty and the Beast. He wanted to know about the flower’s POV. That dovetailed into a “what if the flower captured both of them” scenario. The Flowering Princess of Dreams is a collector of pretty things and quite harsh on her “guests” if they disappoint her. Tamer is one of her favorites and is put in charge of her latest acquisition, Beast.
Michael: “Keys” started life as a trickster piece, in which I took the idea of Saint Peter as the trickster to Jesus’ straight man (as seen in some South American storytelling traditions) and reinvented him as a Jerry Springer-esque figure, a talk show host who gets up to all sorts of wacky hijinks. Then I threw in the teens who encounter him after his latest escapade goes awry, an enigmatic musician, and a host of very furious fancies. Honestly, while it sounds complicated at first, there are layers to this story. The Fae play an unusual role, and it all ties together in unexpected ways.
Nick: My story “The Fool And His Money” stems from an idea I had a while back. I saw loads of news stories about the financial crash, explaining it in terms of bankers spending money that didn’t really exist.
And then, being a fantasy writer, I started thinking about where this imaginary cash really came from, how it would work and what the consequences might be. Faeries were the logical answer.
Saera Corvin: This story [“Gnome Games”] is something like a tribute to all those socks and underwear that get sucked into the black hole between the washing machine and the laundry basket.
S. D.: “Mark of Ruins” is about a teenage girl who lives with a secret: she has huge, pointed ears. It makes fitting in extra hard. But she’s headed to a new school and determined to hide her secret and just be normal—for once. Until she meets a secretive guy who might know more about her than he’s letting on. In order to get answers from him, she might just have to reveal the truth about herself, and hope it won’t scare him off.
What’s your favorite type of faerie?
S. D.: Naiads and water sprites.
Nick: Fairy cake. Or, in stories, the evil manipulative ones, as they’re just the most fun.
Saera: Norwegian Trolls. I always loved how the stories would talk about the little ones causing the most damage when they’d come down from the mountains and invade some poor farmer’s house.
Doug: Those that look fair of face but will mess up your day for a giggle or on a whim. It’s the troupe of pretty things aren’t dangerous. Many of the faeries that I write about fall into the Unseelie Court side of the equation.
Michael: I’ve always been particular to the pooka, however you want to spell it. Shapechanging tricksters? Sign me up. Little-known fact: the spelling “phouka” is apparently considered offensive by the Virginia DMV. That nixed my plan to get it as a license plate years ago. If you’ve ever read Emma Bull’s excellent War for the Oaks, you’ll understand why the pooka (phouka) is such a compelling concept.
Is music a part of your personal writing process, and if so what kind(s) of music do you listen to when you write?
Saera: Sometimes it is. The kinds of music I like to have on varies depending on what hits my mood at the time. Mostly, I like hard rock, blues, and the golden oldies.
Doug: I use Pandora and tune into seeds that contain the likes of Lindsey Sterling, Kodo, the Yoshida Brothers, and other instrumental only artists. These are good for setting the mood and not distracting me from writing.
Michael: Oh, music is essential for me to get into the groove. I make playlists all the time. My tastes are eclectic: pop, rock, showtunes, classical—all that matters is that it has the right sort of energy and beat to engage my subconscious and drown out the outside world. Oddly enough, iTunes says that the track I’ve listened to the most is “Breakout” by OPM from the New Guy soundtrack, followed by “Welcome Home” by Coheed and Cambria. Judge as you will.
Nick: I listen to music constantly – often ambient stuff like the excellent Spektrmodule podcast from Warren Ellis – http://www.warrenellis.com/?cat=63 – or the Gorillaz album The Fall – surprisingly good atmosphere music. I also listen to folk and indie rock, but only albums I really know back to front or it distracts me.
S. D.: It depends on the mood of what I’m writing. For “Mark of Ruins” I listened to Dark Side by Kelly Clarkson and Broken by Lifehouse—pretty much on repeat.
Has a song ever inspired a story idea for you?
Saera: “Ramble on Rose” by the Dead
Doug: “This is War” by 30 Seconds to Mars. I used it for a superhero themed story about a young hero fighting against a tyrant. Never sold it, but I think it has some promise.
Michael: Many times, but most of those stories remain on the back burner. I’m still waiting for the perfect opportunity to unleash tales inspired by “Jessie’s Girl” and “Safety Dance,” the latter of which sounds like a very Fae tune. Oh, you can definitely dance if you want to…
Nick: Not sure a song has ever inspired a whole story, but I do have a habit of naming my work after them. Then changing my mind later because the content has nothing to do with the song.
S. D.: Yes! I know it’s a little country, but Why You Wanna by Jana Kramer sparked inspiration for a story about a young girl whose boyfriend comes back from a tour of duty as a changed man—genetically changed (in a super-soldier-gone-bad kind of way).
Last but not least: who’d win a fight between Princess Toadstool and Zelda?
Doug: Zelda. She’d totally kick her mushroom highness’ butt.
Nick: I haven’t played a Zelda game since Ocarina of Time, but doesn’t Zelda turn into a ninja? Although it probably doesn’t matter if she’s still a ninja or not, I’m not sure Toadstool could take anyone in a fight. Not even Toad the tiny mushroom.
Michael: I’d rather see them team up and fight evil together. They’ve spent long enough being damsels in distress!
Saera: Neither: Toadstool and Zelda always call Mario and Link in to do their dirty work.
S. D: I’ve never played video games *gasp* so I’m going to have to go with a wild-card princess: She-Ra.
Amazon Links for Tales of the Seelie Court
Print Version http://www.amazon.com/Chimerical-World-Tales-Seelie-Court/dp/1937929477
Kindle Version http://www.amazon.com/Chimerical-World-Tales-Seelie-Court-ebook/dp/B00IAHTMAO
Amazon Links for Tales of the Unseelie Court
Print Version http://www.amazon.com/Chimerical-World-Tales-Unseelie-Court/dp/1937929493
Kindle Version http://www.amazon.com/Chimerical-World-Tales-Unseelie-Court-ebook/dp/B00IAHTVSC
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