Interviews from the Void: Episode #6 – A. F. Stewart

Highlights Using maps and world-building for our stories. Cover design and self-publishing. How being part of a writing group is a great way for us to get feedback as writers. I’ve been writing since I could pick up a pen; scribbling stories and poems since I was a kid. Welcome to the sixth episode of Interviews from the Void, where I interview writers about their writing process and the mechanics and physicality of the craft. In this episode, I’ve asked horror writer A. F. Stewart about her writing process and where she finds her inspiration for her stories. Arthur: You recently published “Ghosts of the Sea Moon,” which is a great read. I’ve always thought a great book starts with a map. Is there any inspiration behind your maps? The shapes of the islands and their placement? Stewart: The maps came about because I need reference points for all the sailing my Captain and crew were doing in the book, and so I could figure the distance and speed for the story’s timeline. Their creation was basically me sitting down and squiggling some lines until I had some reasonable looking island shapes. However, as Crickwell Island turned out looking a bit like a sheep to me, I added wool as one of the town exports for the island in the second book of the series. Arthur: In Ghosts of the Sea Moon, there’s a lot of description about the ship, the Celestial Jewel. Did you have to go on a[…] [Keep Reading]

Interviews from the Void: Episode #5 – Christopher Ryan

Highlights Why failure is not only normal, but necessary. Charting our own paths as writers instead of following the crowd. Why being a writer is worth our time, even when it seems difficult to continue. In a way, writing allows you to live forever and that is worthy of your time. Welcome to the fifth episode of Interviews from the Void, where I interview writers about their writing process, discussing the mechanics and physicality of the craft. In this episode, I’ve asked fantasy Christopher Ryan about his writing process, self publishing, and turning failure into a means for finding success in writing. A. Macabe: On your blog, you discuss “killing” drafts of your previous novel, The Godkiller Chronicles – which is an awesome name. What did you learn from this process? What are you doing differently now for Children of the Void? Ryan: I had spent so many years drafting what wound up being Godkiller Chronicles that I could have published three books from the sheer amount of pages I had. But, all in all it came down to, would I read this? The brutal answer was, hell no. The work was crap. I just didn’t want to admit it to myself for a long time. When I was able to finally say to myself “this is dreck and needs to be abandoned,” I didn’t want to just shelve the work and walk away. I wanted to be proactive about it. So, I took the characters and themes and the fictional[…] [Keep Reading]

Interviews from the Void: Episode #4 – Tobias Klausmann

Highlights The use of names in our stories and their importance to the story’s world. Strategies for self-publishing. Why writing daily is important. Writing isn’t “I have an idea, now I’ll just write it down,” but “I have an idea, I’ll start writing and see where it takes me.” Welcome to the fourth episode of Interviews from the Void, where I interview writers about their writing process, discussing the mechanics and physicality of the craft. In this episode, I’ve asked science fiction writer Tobias Klausmann to tell us more about how he found his writing voice and his approach to writing character-driven science fiction. A. Macabe: You mention on your website you moved to Switzerland. What’s the history behind the move? Is English your first language? Do you think speaking multiple languages has helped your writing? Klausmann: I moved to Switzerland for work. Before June,  2010 I lived in northwestern Germany for twelve years, after moving there from the very southwest. Despite now living abroad, I am much closer to the town I grew up in. My mother tongue is German, but my father used to be an English teacher and in general – English-language media, especially music and books – were easily available to me as a kid and teenager. As for whether it helped with writing, it has definitely influenced how I think about language. Sometimes you know the perfect idiom or turn of phrase in one language, but come up empty in another. For me, that usually[…] [Keep Reading]

Interviews from the Void: Episode #3 – Andrew Hope

Highlights Story mechanics and the importance of character-driven stories. Setting a goal each time we sit down to write will help us increase our productivity. What inspires us to write weird fiction. You can’t just sit down and “write a screenplay.” It’s a very mechanical discipline; a science all by itself. Welcome to the third episode of Interviews from the Void, where I interview writers about their writing process, discussing the mechanics and physicality of the craft. In this episode, I had beers with local writer Andrew Hope, bonding over movies, screenwriting and H. P. Lovecraft. A. Macabe: So, you wrote Fantomex. I understand you had to do a significant re-write. Did you feel a lot of pressure when doing the re-write on your first big project? Especially of someone else’s work? Andrew Hope: It was definitely a more conceptual rewrite than just changing some characters and elements. When Axel sent me the plot, it was a pet project of his and he wanted to get it off the ground – I suspect to maintain hold of the property, since Grant was the creator. My biggest two questions were, how closely do I need to stick to both the original plot, and Grant’s 616 creation. The answers to both were do anything you want. Which was good, because I hadn’t read X-Men since Vince left the art and if I didn’t have to sink myself into continuity that was fine with me. The Fantomex you see in the series was not[…] [Keep Reading]

Interviews from the Void: Episode #2 – Avrin Kelly

Highlights The benefits to regularly writing short stories. Writing horror helps us understand fear, our strongest emotion as human beings. Various strategies for overcoming writers block. The possibilities are endless. Welcome to the second episode of Interviews from the Void, where I interview writers about their writing process, discussing the mechanics and physicality of the craft. I’m fascinated with writing as a physical effort and the perspectives of other writers on the process itself. In this episode, I’ve asked horror writer Avrin Kelly about her writing process and where she finds her inspiration. A. Macabe: Tell me more about your #52weeks52stories journey? What made you want to start? Is it helping you improve as a writer? Avrin Kelly: So far this year, I’ve written ten stories. #52weeks52stories is something I knew I wanted to take part in because short stories are life, for me at least. They’re like literary Robot Chicken, or teleporting somewhere new for a short time. The possibilities are endless. With every story I write, I feel like I get a little bit better at the craft. A. Macabe: When did you start writing? Avrin Kelly: I’m 30. I didn’t start writing in earnest until last year. I wrote my first short story in April of 2017. It was horrible (laughs). A. Macabe: Why was it horrible? Avrin Kelly: It was horrible because – at the time – I didn’t know the first thing about story structure and the ending was confusing. So, I decided to try again – now with[…] [Keep Reading]

Interviews from the Void: Episode #1 – S.P. Carter

Highlights Where do we find inspiration for our horror stories? It’s never too late to start writing. As writers, we need to know when to listen, but also when to trust ourselves. Everyone loves a good scare. Welcome to the first episode of Interviews from the Void, where I interview writers about their writing process, discussing the mechanics and physicality of the craft. I’m fascinated with writing as a physical effort and the perspectives of other writers on the process itself. In this first episode, I’ve asked horror writer S. P. Carter – whose debut horror novel, “Unraveling” is set to release later this year – about his writing process and where he finds his inspiration in the horror genre. A. Macabe: Tell us more about “Unraveling” S. P. Carter: When people commit mass shootings and other atrocities, they don’t snap; they spiral. “Unraveling” explores this transition in a man living an outwardly banal, middle-class family life who struggles against these demons. Hallucinations and paranoid delusions give you a front row seat into a mind fighting to hold itself together, and the destruction left in its wake. A. Macabe: Where did you get the idea for this story? S. P. Carter: As a survivor of childhood trauma, I’ve grappled with people’s motivations to harm each other, and often wondered if one day, a switch would flip in my head. By exploring what I would do in a fictional world, free of legal repercussion, I had an outlet. This led to[…] [Keep Reading]