SpecMusicMuse—A Chimerical World Round Table Interview, Part 4
Welcome to the final part of the A Chimerical World Round Table interview. Hope you had fun. J
And Part 4 includes Cindy Koepp, J. H. Fleming, Alexandra Christian, Ed Ahern, and Christine Morgan.
Well hello! My name is Cindy Koepp. I write science fiction, fantasy, and teacher resources when I’m not whistling with my African Grey, editing for two small presses, doing crafty stuff, or learning how to bend glasses back into shape.
I have one science fiction book, stories in 3 anthologies, and 4 books in queue at various publishers.
You can find more stuff about that at my website: http://ckoepp.com
My name is J. H. Fleming. My work has appeared in publications by Visionary Tongue, Evil Girlfriend Media, and Mocha Memoirs Press. I also have a novel and story collection coming from Pro Se Productions this year.
My name is Alexandra Christian and I wrote “Wormwood” for the anthology. I’m a writer of paranormal erotic romance, horror and dark fantasy for Ellora’s Cave, Purple Sword Publications, Mocha Memoirs Press and now, Seventh Star. To date, I’ve published 2 novels and 5 shorter works. My newest release is my angel/ demon romance from Ellora’s Cave, Hellsong.
Ed Ahern. Forty seven stories published thus far, half fantasy/horror/scifi, balance childrens and adult fairy tales, retold folk tales and “literary” stories.
Christine Morgan is the author of several novels and over 60 published short stories, spanning various genres but leaning more toward the darker end of things. In addition to reading, writing, beta-reading and reviewing, she’s recently begun taking on more editing gigs. Her latest project is “Fossil Lake, an anthology of the aberrant,” which debuted at World Horror Convention 2014 in Portland. (http://fossillake.wordpress.com/)
Tell us a little about your story
Cindy: When I saw the submission details on Seventh Star Press’s site, I thought about the kinds of characteristics usually attributed to Elves and musical ability ranked high in the list. So, I considered how to put a musical Elf into a science fiction scenario and decided that an Elf would use music to help time their movements in a battle or activate the special characteristics of their equipment.
That gave rise to the idea for “The Last Mission.”
J. H.: My story is about a young girl who’s been dealt one blow after another. She’s sent away to live in a home for girls, some of whom have serious issues, others who have been sent there for bad behavior. She comes across a faery and her companion and thinks she’s finally gone mad, but further events make her realize that she may have found a way out of her bad situation.
Alexandra: “Wormwood” was born of boredom, honestly. They say that the best stories are conceived doing tedious tasks. It must be true because I completely wrote Freedom and Ady’s story while stuffing envelopes at the day job. I wanted to shake up the “traditional faerie story” model and I was thinking about how to do that. I’m a southern writer myself with an almost unhealthy obsession with the southern gothic genre. I’m also a Shakespeare fanatic, so it only seemed natural to create a southern gothic story that incorporated the fae and Robin Goodfellow.
Ed: I have a swamp gas mind, and ideas ooze up frequently but unpredictably. My web site is appropriately titled swampgasworks.com. This story fits the pattern.
Christine: With “Taggers,” I wanted to take a skewed, updated, more urban look at the sort of “Shoemaker and the Elves” tale. Instead of the kindly craftsman and the helpful fairies, I went with a grouchy old locksmith in a decaying part of the city, and what happens when he catches one of the hooligans who’s been leaving graffiti on his wall … only to find that he’s dealing with no normal kind of hooligan.
What’s your favorite type of faerie?
Cindy: My favorite faerie would have to be Elves: tall, graceful wiseguys … er … wise guys, with a variety of different skills because you can learn a lot in several hundred years.
Ed: For adult fairy tales a noir persona with lots of defects. For children’s stories clean cut but as far away from the usual tropes as I can reach.
J. H.: My favorites are the ones who do whatever they want. Most faeries are really this way, but some lean more toward Seelie or Unseelie. I like the ones that surprise you because you never truly know which way they’ll go.
Alexandra: I’ve always had an affinity for the mischievous faerie. In my younger days I was on a slow moving train wreck toward being an actress and my first major role was as Puck, or Robin Goodfellow, in a community theater production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Ever since, Robin Goodfellow has been a particular favorite of mine. His benevolent nature and bumbling prowess as a trickster have always fascinated me. Like Freedom, I think he’d be an amazing friend to have.
Christine: I’ve always liked the Fair Folk type, eerie and beautiful, looking just human enough to seem familiar but being decidedly INHUMAN in personality and outlook. The fairies from Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” messing with people just because they could (dream casting: Benedict Cumberbatch as Oberon, Tilda Swinton as Titania!) … from Arthurian legend and the classic fairy tales … their society, their indifference to mortal morals … just fascinating.
Is music a part of your personal writing process, and if so what kind(s) of music do you listen to when your write?
Alexandra: Music is an essential part of my writing process. Every story I write has a playlist to go along with it that sets the mood. As far as the types of music that I listen to when I write, it really depends on what I’m writing. When writing “Wormwood,” my playlist was a very schizophrenic mix of new age (Enya, Clannad, etc.), spirituals and Civil War songs. In fact, part of Freedom’s magic that summons Robin in the first place, is her singing “Wade in the Water.” (Historical fun fact: “Wade in the Water” is one of the spirituals that is purported to have been a “code song” that would give slaves instructions on how to escape north.)
Cindy: Actually, I prefer quiet when I work. Masika, my African Grey, will sometimes contribute bits of tunes and other silliness when I’m working, and that doesn’t prove too distracting. I save music for when I’m taking a typing break or driving down the rollercoaster roads near my house.
J. H.: I’m almost always listening to music, whether I’m writing or not. When writing, I listen to Loreena McKennitt, a Canadian vocalist, musician, and composer with heavy Celtic and Middle Eastern influences. Her albums always put me in just the right mood, particularly The Visit, The Mask and the Mirror, The Wind that Shakes the Barley, An Ancient Muse, and The Book of Secrets.
Christine: I don’t usually listen to music while I write, but I will sometimes listen to it beforehand during the thinking-and-planning part. My tastes vary, and my choices vary according to the story project in question, but I prefer classical, swing, film soundtracks, and other instrumental works. That, or, when I’m working on a Viking-themed story, I’ll just blast Amon Amarth.
Ed: I drive to classical music, but write in silence. Otherwise can’t hear the gas bubbles pop.
Has a song ever inspired a story idea for you?
Christine: Not specifically, though certain pieces – “Carmina Burana,” Holst’s “Mars – Bringer of War,” Borodin’s “Prince Igor” – always speak powerfully to me and might some day bring about a story.
Cindy: Yes, it has. In the case of The Last Mission, Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata was an inspiration for part of the tale. I imagined an Elf timing actions during a fight and staying calm through the use of a slow tune like Moonlight Sonata. I didn’t quite figure out a way to work that into the story as I’d imagined it, but I did get the tune mentioned and used the idea in other parts.
J. H.: More than once. I’ve written three stories based off of songs, and two have been published so far. “The Far Horizon,” published by Evil Girlfriend Media, was inspired by “My Lover’s Gone” by Dido, and “Moonsbreath,” published by Mocha Memoirs Press, was inspired by “Samhain Night” by Loreena McKennitt.
Last but not least: who’d win a fight between Princess Toadstool and Zelda?
Christine: No idea; I played Q-Bert.
Cindy: That would depend entirely on who has the largest number of hearts and whether the Boomerang of Extra Special Spiffiness has been unlocked.
J. H.: Princess Zelda, hands down.
Alexandra: Zelda definitely. Princess Toadstool never won a fight. She always hired plumbers to do her dirty work for her.
Ed: Who cares, but I opt for mud wrestling.
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