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Monday, August 27, 2012

Fading Light Anthology Multi Author Interview part four (1 of 2) by Tim Marquitz


ANTHOLOGY INTRODUCTION: When I set out to create Fading Light, I had a specific vision in mind…that was until I was assailed by the slew of great submissions. There were so many amazing stories, so different than what I had expected, they threw a wrench into all my machinations and forced an evolution on Fading Light I hadn’t foreseen. In the end, it was the authors who defined the direction as much as the anthology prompt. As such, I feel it is they who should introduce themselves and the beast that is Fading Light: An Anthology of the Monstrous.

Take a moment to get to know them in part four (part 1 0f 2) of the multi-blog interview… 

Tim Marquitz, 
El Paso, TX 
August 27, 2012 

Fading Light collects 30 monstrous stories by authors new and experienced, in the genres of horror, science fiction, and fantasy, each bringing their own interpretation of what lurks in the dark.

Contributors: Mark Lawrence, Gene O’Neill, William Meikle, David Dalglish, Gord Rollo, Nick Cato, Adam Millard, Stephen McQuiggan, Gary W Olson, Tom Olbert, Malon Edwards, Carl Barker, Jake Elliot, Lee Mather, Georgina Kamsika, Dorian Dawes, Timothy Baker, DL Seymour, Wayne Ligon, TSP Sweeney, Stacey Turner, Gef Fox, Edward M Erdelac, Henry P Gravelle, & Ryan Lawler, with bonus stories from CM Saunders, Regan Campbell, Jonathan Pine, Peter Welmerink, & Alex Marshall.

For those keeping track, here are all the previous parts:
 1. Fading Light Multi-Author Interview at Lincoln Crisler: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3
 2. Fading Light Multi-Author Interview at The Nocturnal Library: Part 1, Part 2
 3. Fading Light Multi-Author Interview at Bastard Books: Interview

Keep an eye out over at Wag the Fox and The Dark Fantastic for the forthcoming parts and now onto the interview...


Q] Thanks for taking part in the multi-blog, Fading Light interview. Tell us a little about yourself. 

Gene O’Neill: I’ve written six novels, seven novellas, 120 short stories.

Tom Olbert: When not writing fiction (or, working) I volunteer for progressive candidates and causes like clean energy. I come from a very interesting and colorful family. 

TSP Sweeney: I’m a 27 year old, recently married guy from Sydney, Australia. I’ve done everything from work in the limousine industry through to freelancing as a journalist and critic, but these days I make my way by working in procurement for the ominously named Ministry of Health by day and writing into the wee hours by night. 

DL Seymour: I am a high school English and Speech teacher in El Paso. I have had a lifetime love for literature especially fantasy and stories of the macabre, especially those of Edgar Allen Poe and H. P. Lovecraft.

Q] Besides the anthology prompt, what led you to write your Fading Light contribution? 

Ryan Lawler: I’ve been trying to find my feet writing in the fantasy genre for quite a while. I have a few short stories and a lot of first chapters, but the only thing that really worked for me was a short story I based on the royal wedding that I packed full of snarky humour and gratuitous violence. 

I found that I had a knack for darker stories, and I was working on a very dark story about a post apocalypse engineer when the Fading Light story prompt came through. With a few tweaks of my setting and the addition of some monstrous enemies, I had my submission. 

TSP Sweeney: I had actually written the beginnings of a sci-fi novel that had a core idea that I absolutely loved, but I simply could not get the concept and the actual story to mesh. I had bashed my head against it over and over again, but just could not get it to click and eventually gave up on it entirely. About a year later, I came across Fading Light being mentioned on an online writing forum I frequent (The Black Library Bolthole), and I instantly realised that the germ of an idea I had been attempting to force into this sci-fi novel was, at its core, far more suited to being a horror story. The rest of it just seemed to naturally fall into place. 

Adam Millard: I'm always on the lookout for great concepts to write for, and Fading Light, to me, was such a fantastic idea. To have something ancient, something almost Lovecraftian, emerge from the darkness and plague mankind was an idea too good to pass up, and I think I started writing it within five minutes of noting the particulars. 

Q] Does music play a part of your writing? Television, movies? 

CM Saunders: I usually listen to music when I write. I like rock and punk most, it gets my juices flowing, so to speak. Current favourites on my playlist include the Bouncing Souls, Less Thank Jake, Yellowcard, the Gaslight Anthem, and vintage WASP! 

TSP Sweeney: Music definitely has a huge influence on my writing, to the point that I am usually quite careful to tailor my songs depending on the mood of the piece I am working on at the time. A bit of heavy metal might be fantastic to listen to when writing a rapid, brutal duel to the death, but it becomes a little inappropriately bombastic when describing the tears of a father mourning his child. 

Gef Fox: It used play music while writing years ago, but for the last couple of years my tolerance for noise has lessened. I don't mind instrumental or orchestral music, but I tend to get distracted by lyrics. That's why I don't often write while the TV is on. The dialog commands my attention. 

Tim Baker: When I write I either listen to Atmospheric music because I don’t want to be distracted by something too interesting or I put my complete Blue Oyster Cult collection on shuffle. I’m a huge fan of BOC, seen them many times, have everything they’ve recorded, and have been much inspired by their lyrical content. I know their music so well it doesn’t distract me when I write. 

DL Seymour: I would say the greatest influence in my writing, outside of the numerous books and other stories I have read in the past, would be movies. At times I will have a piece of music that I might be listening to that will get me in the mood to write a certain way, but I am always thinking in the way a movie is, especially some of my favorite classics. I think of the settings and ask myself how would David Lean set up this shot, what would it look like, and then I would describe what I see, or I ask myself how would Hitchcock build that feeling of suspense. For this story though I was also trying to do this while still keeping myself rooted within H. P. Lovecraft's distinctive writing style, which proved to be a challenge in and of itself. 

Q] Tell us about your story in Fading Light.
Gene O’Neill: It’s a homage story to Shirley Jackson

CM Saunders: Jimmy and Tito make up one of the freelance ambulance and recovery crews patrolling the notoriously dangerous roads and highways of Brazil. Their job is not to the common man's taste, but the money is worthy, and they’ve become very good at it. Everything worked great until the night they stumbled across an accident victim who refused to die. Meet Roadkill! 

Gef Fox: "Where Coyotes Fear to Tread" is a bit of horror meets heroic fantasy, minus the hero. Lester, the protagonist, is more interested in getting as far away from the things that go bump in the night than saving the day, but because he's still in love with valiant ex-girlfriend, he'll follow her to the ends of the earth. 

DL Seymour: Well, set in the small community of Dunwich, Massachusetts, scene of H. P. Lovecraft's "Horror of Dunwich," my story is about an outsider entering into a town that is re-inventing itself into a community of openness and understanding in a time of great racism and injustice, only to find that even in this new utopia there is still that element willing to let everything degenerate into violence, bigotry and depravity. 

Q] Writers are a different breed of human. What led you to down the path to making up worlds and telling stories? 

Ed Erdelac: Maybe it’s because I was an only child and there were no other kids in my neighborhood. I read a lot, played alone a lot, dictated these sprawling adventures for my GI Joe figures. I always knew I wanted to tell stories somehow, but it took me awhile to settle on the writing medium. I think my start was delayed by the invention of the word processing program. I’ve always gotten bad hand cramps writing, so I didn’t care for writing things out long form, and the unforgiving nature of the typewriter and my dislike of whiteout kept me from punching out stories that way. 

For a while I wanted to be a cartoonist. The first two books that made me realize how awesome writing could be was Jack London’s Call of The Wild and Simon Hawk’s novelization of Friday The 13th Part 6, believe it or not. Till then I’d had no idea how brutal and engrossing fiction could be. I got into Robert E. Howard not long after that. 

Gef Fox: I've been a daydreamer ever since I was a little kid. But I never though writing stories was something I could get paid to do someday. I may as well have wanted to a movie star when I grew up, it felt so out of reach. But over the years, after letting go of that love of writing, I hit a point in my life where I needed a creative outlet and nothing felt as fulfilling as putting pen to paper. It's a license to daydream again. 

Carl Barker: Never growing up, to be honest. I was quite solitary as a child and always loved using my imagination. Now that I’m aware of the realism of the adult world, escapism has become more important than ever. It keeps me sane. 

                                                   (Picture courtesy of Daily Lost)

Q] What led you to submit to Fading Light? 

Tim Baker: Actually, it was Tim Marquitz (the editor) that prompted me. We met at WHC 2011 and then again at WHC 2012 where he read a story I was shopping around and he gave me some positive feedback and some great advice. I have big respect for Tim, have read and enjoyed his writing, and his advice was practical and without a twinge of arrogance or pretention. Tim told me about the anthology and he encouraged me to submit something with the warning that the chance of being accepted weren’t good as he had several top writers already on the list, but hey, throw the dice. I just wanted to get something in his hands hoping to get some good feedback and hope for some future acceptance. 

I saw the prototype book cover and thought, “hell, he want tentacles from the sky, he’s gonna get it”. Wrote the story in a week, finished, edited, and submitted it the day before submissions closed, thinking I had no chance in hell, and received an acceptance from Tim within an hour saying, “Damit Tim! I thought I was done!”. My own little fairy tale of my first accepted story. Will never forget it and will always be grateful to Tim for giving me this chance and putting me amongst such awesome writers. (Wipes tear away) 

CM Saunders: Why not? 

Peter Welmerink: Not trying to suck up here, but when I found Tim Marquitz at the helm of this particular dreadfully sinister ship called FADING LIGHT, and enjoying his writing, knowing his passion and professionalism…that was one of the reasons. Other reason, it sounded like a kick ass challenge to write a story revolving mankind’s last stand as the lights fade on his stage. 

DL Seymour: Someone at my school needed to take up Tim's challenge to write a story for his collection, and it was too tempting of a challenge to pass up. 

Q] Who are your greatest influences in your life, both literary and otherwise? 

Nick Cato: A high school English / computer teacher named Irving Greenfield, who has over 300 published books and is still writing in his late 70s. The man is amazing (one of his novels, TAGGET. Was made into a film in the early 80s). I still speak with him today on occasion. 

Tom Olbert: I grew up reading Bradbury and Asimov, Stanislaw Lem and a few other authors. Also, my dad’s a physicist, so that captured my imagination. 

Ed Erdelac: Literarily, Robert E. Howard, Richard Matheson, Cormac McCarthy, Kazuo Koike, Alan Moore, Ambrose Bierce, Larry McMurtry, Mickey Spillane, Mishima Yukio, Stephen King, Joe Lansdale, Lovecraft, Shakespeare, and Patrick O’Brian. Frank Frazetta’s art has always inspired me, as well as that of Gustave Dore, William Blake, John Martin, Hieronymous Bosche, Peiter Bruegel, NC Wyeth, Charles Russell and Frederic Remington. Johnny Cash. Howlin’ Wolf. John Brown, Moses, Jesus, George Patton. My parents and grandparents. The movies of Sergio Leone, John Ford, George Romero, Akira Kurosawa…it probably goes on and on. 

Q] The zombie apocalypse arrives: who do you want on your response team? 

Jake Elliot: Definitely my wife, she knows karate. I’m pretty handy with a rifle, or at least I was before my eyes turned on me, but my wife can kick the ass of any zombie that gets close. If we could get Chuck Norris as back-up, that would be nice too. 

TSP Sweeney: Superman. Sure, I think he’s kind of lame and uninteresting as a character, but I guarantee he’d be able to deal with the hordes of flesh-eating undead with a minimum of effort thanks to being the biggest Mary Sue of all time! 

Ed Erdelac: Ideally the United State Marine Corps. But I’d settle for my boar hunting buddy Mike Reilly up in Portland. 

Peter Welmerink: Specialist Clint Johnsson and his sniper rifle, and Alice Cooper. Perhaps he could turn them, or we could at least rock out until our brains were consumed. 

Q] How do your daily experiences impact your writing? 

Dorian Dawes: Like I said earlier, the experiences a writer has along with whatever is in their subconscious is a big orgy of influences on the work. It's a swirling miasma that always makes its way into the work whether you like it or not, at least that's the way it is with me. I'll find myself staring in disgust at the rotting buffet of moronic political candidates we have for our next collection, feeling the sense of hopelessness when staring at the presidential ballot, and that same political hopelessness will show up in my work a few days later. 

CM Saunders: I think it is unavoidable that your experience (or how you interpret experiences) impact on your writing. I live and work in China most of the year, and since I have been there I have been introduced to the other side of life, where many people can't afford to feed their kids every day. Although perceived as the next global superpower, China is in one of those crazy situations where about 85% of the country's wealth is owned by about 15% of the population. Most of the people in China still struggle to make enough money for their needs. 

Peter Welmerink: The big events in life don’t usually bring about story ideas to me. It is usually while I am staring off unfocused and spot something, like an object in the road, or two people talking, a cross on the side of the highway, and the dark woods flashed in the beams of car headlights and—what’s that! Was there something in the woods! It is…it is…oh my god! 

Q] Given the opportunity, is there any one author you’d like to write a story with? What would you write about? 

CM Saunders: Stephen King or his son Joe Hill. I would write anything they wanted me to write! 

Carl Barker: Probably not, as I’m too much of a control freak to play well with others. I do think Neil Gaiman would be fun to work with though, as he always surprises me. 


Q] All authors have goals they set for themselves, be it getting published, getting a bigger deal, or selling millions of copies. Can you share some of yours? 

Ryan Lawler: My biggest goal is to see the speculative fiction genres like fantasy, horror and sci-fi be accepted as a positive influence on society. For so long these genre’s have been the subject of derision from so many different communities, normally because they don’t understand these genres and are not interested in trying to understand these genres. I feel that these genres can provide the catalyst for positive change, from social commentary on big issues (ie Bacigalupi’s The Windup Girl) through to the positing of cool technological solutions for scientists to strive for(ie. invisibility cloaks and ultrasonic healing). 

Ed Erdelac: For a long time my goal was just getting published. Now it’s just to provide for my family doing what I do best, preferably full time, which is no more than anybody asks. I’d like a house, a yard for the kids to play in. Security. To be able to write 4-8 hours a day and not have to make time for a second job. That’s it. 

Q] What projects are you working on now? Anything cool you can share with us? 

Dorian Dawes: Right now I'm trying to get a full-length novel published about a race of people whose culture revolves around extreme (ie impossible) body-modifications and the erasing of their own history, and the horror that comes out of forgetting the sins of the past. Also working on drafting the second half of another novel inspired by the early horror films of Dario Argento and the popular trope of the "final girl" in slasher films. 

William Meikle: I’m currently at work on a Professor Challenger collection for Dark Regions Press that’s scheduled for release in hardcover in early 2013. They’re also bringing out a Sherlock Holmes collection of mine in hardcover later this year, having already done a Carnacki: Ghosthunter one. I’m planning on more historical character collections from them in the future. 

Q] A troll, a rabid skunk, and Justin Bieber walk into a bar: how does the story end? 

Ryan Lawler: The troll, after disposing of the rabid skunk with a swift club to the face, falls head over heels in love with Justin Bieber’s androgynous stylings. The troll doesn’t know if Bieber is male or female, and that’s what makes it so exciting. The overzealous troll pushes through the crowd of wailing teenagers, screaming out Bieber’s name just hoping to get noticed. The troll is overcome with emotion when Bieber looks over and says the immortal words “Damn, you are one fine troll. I believe in you.” 

In a fit of jealous rage, the mob of wailing girls turn on the troll, swarming over it like ants, wasps, beetles, and any other insect you can think of. The troll dies with a smile on its face, the horde of teenagers feasting on the flesh of the chosen one. And Bieber, as usual, feels no remorse after sacrificing yet another of his followers so he can make a clean escape with his hair still intact. 

DL Seymour: As she hid her head in her drink, Selina Gomez wondered how all her exes were able to track her down, and how could she sneak out the back door. 

Q] Tell us a little about your writing process: do you outline, pants it, write twenty drafts or just one, practice voodoo? 

Gef Fox: I'm not much of a pantser. I use what I call a fishbone outline. The head of the fish is my big idea. The backbone with all those ribs are whatever plot points and diversions I might want to include, which get smaller and more focused towards the end. Then it tapers off to the tail, which is the big finish. Using that, I start writing. The writing itself involves a lot of procrastination and a lot of second-guessing. I used to rewrite as I went along, but that got me nowhere, fast. 

Adam Millard: I'm a pantser. If I plot, I get bored. I think characters need to grow, and the best way to let them do that is by letting go of the reins occasionally. 

Jake Elliot: I do everything on a computer, I hate typewriters. I write my outlines backwards. I want to know how the story ends, then work it back to the beginning. My outlines are very brief, a couple words per projected chapter and leaving lots of room for the unexpected. First drafts are the hardest for me because I’m a perfectionist and first drafts are always ugly. Second drafts are fun and that is where I get creative. The third draft tones things down, trims the fat. By the fourth draft I’m sick of the damn story and it is time to send it to whoever I think might like it. 

Q] What do you do to get better as a writer? 

William Meikle: Write. A lot. Then write some more. 

Carl Barker: Keep writing, keep reading, and try to continually live outside my comfort zone.

*************************End of Part One****************************


EDITOR INFORMATION: Tim Marquitz is the author of the Demon Squadseries, and the Sepulchral Earth serial stories. He is also an editor, a heavy metal aficionado, a Mixed Martial Arts fan, and is also a member of the Live Action Role Playing organization. When he’s not busy writing dark stories which catch his imagination he also manages to go about his day job. Tim lives in El Paso, Texas with his wonderful family.

Official Author website
Read FBC's Review of Armageddon Bound
Read FBC's Review of Resurrection 
Read FBC’s Review of At The Gates 
Read FBC's Review of Echoes Of The Past
Read FBC interview with Tim Marquitz 

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