Single Question Interview: G Elmer Munson

What makes you click with a character?


For me, that’s both an easy and hard question to answer.  The obvious answer is that the character should be likable.  For a protagonist, I have to like the character enough to be willing to see them through whatever nastiness the story has in store for them.  I have to like them enough to hope they come out alive when the story ends.  If I don’t, why keep them?  I have had the occasion where mid-story I realize that I absolutely hate the main character.  This usually occurs right around the time that I kill them off (it’s a reliable indicator).  Someone else becomes the main character and the story goes on.  In most cases, I soon realize that’s what I should have done in the first place.  The story is better because of it.  Other times?  Well, that’s what a trunk is for…

That was easy, right?  Well, the hard part for me is when I take great pleasure in developing a character that I absolutely hate.  Nasty people are fun to write, but that doesn’t mean they’re as fun to read.  Thankfully I learned long ago that first drafts are like playing in a sandbox.  You can throw whatever you want in there and then just rake the crap out later on.  That, of course, is the hard part.  First drafts are fun.  Editing is hard.  That’s the time to take an asshole character and turn them into someone that’s fun to read.  Either that, or go through countless pages of manuscript deleting them from existence.  Both take time, but in the end you’ve got yourself a character worth reading.  That makes the story worth reading.

Villains are a different story altogether.  With villains, all bets are off…

***You can pick up G Elmer’s books through AMAZON.

(Want to take part in a single question interview? Contact me for your question.)

Single Question Interview: Samantha Quick

What are the challenges in writing for young adults?


I think any time you write a story for a specific audience that you are not part of, it can be a challenge. What we knew was in or popular when we ourselves were younger often isn’t the case for the next generations. Therefore, quite easily, you can find your work dated or perhaps uninteresting to a readership.

I think the best way to combat that is to be observant of your surroundings. If you have children of your own, that can be as simple as paying attention throughout your day. If you don’t, then you may have to resort to people-watching a bit more than usual, studying certain ages and trying to define them in your fiction. And I don’t mean doing that in a creepy way. But if you can gain some insight into their behavior, their wants and needs, simply by being a little nosey, that can go a long way toward improving your fiction.

***You can pick up Samantha’s books through AMAZON.

(Want to take part in a single question interview? Contact me for your question.)

Single Question Interview: Lydia Peever

Vampires, extra-crispy or super-sparkly?


There is nothing wrong with a little vampire sparkle. Blood glinting in the moonlight, the look in their eye when they mesmerize; so long as there is a savage aura about them. Vampires are killers. Period. On the other hand, Count Orlok would be about as crispy as I could stand. He did not have one suave bone in his body though, and the most terrifying killer seduces you into a trap you can’t escape. In answer to the question, if I had to have a vampire to dinner I’d like them mostly crispy. A red raw centre, moist with blood. Slather him in a sparkling sauce. Honey-garlic likely, to keep him under control.

***You can pick up Lydia’s books through AMAZON.

(Want to take part in a single question interview? Contact me for your question.)

Single Question Interview: Brad Carter

How is humor used in horror?


Humor and horror can be best friends. At its most basic, humor is the release valve that allows people to feel a bit of relief amid all the nerve-fraying that often goes along with horror. That’s the accepted wisdom, but I don’t think it tells the whole story. I believe a skillful application of humor in any horror story can actually heighten the realism. Think about it. Life is funny, and it’s often when people are pressed into terrible circumstances that their humor really shines. Combat veterans often tell hilarious stories. ER doctors often have wicked senses of humor. If you add a little humor to your horror, it feels more realistic. And beyond that–and I’m paraphrasing Roger Corman here–if you don’t give your audience something to laugh at, eventually they will start laughing when you don’t want them to.

In my own writing, humor just happens. I’ve been told I’m a smartass (Paul Anderson even committed that observation to print, so it’s there for posterity to read in Torn Realities), so I guess my personality is just bound to make it onto the page. I used to fight it, thinking that horror had to be completely dark and serious, but I just don’t see it that way anymore.

***You can pick up Brad’s books through AMAZON.

(Want to take part in a single question interview? Contact me for your question.)

Single Question Interview: Christian A. Larsen

When does a character become too real?


A character becomes too real only when that character is an actual person, transposed into words. Obvious exceptions include famous people, especially famous dead people. What would happen to fiction if Abraham Lincoln were off limits? Gore Vidal would have had a hard time meeting his word limit in his book about the president. Seth Grahame-Smith? Not so much.
But if the protagonist is a thinly-veiled copy of the author, or the heroine is someone the author carries a torch for, well, that’s just lazy writing, and worse, prevents real creativity. The real person prevents the story from revealing itself. Also, it becomes an exercise in wish-fulfillment, which isn’t nearly as cool to read as it is to write.

***You can find out more about Christian through his  WEBSITE.

(Want to take part in a single question interview? Contact me for your question.)

Single Question Interview: David Anderson

Gore horror or slight, with a hint of blood?


Slight. The imagination makes it so much more gruesome than could ever be shown on screen. Plus, it involved the viewer more.

My mom instilled in me a firm love of Alfred Hitchcock and he used the implied violence better than probably anyone. Though I’m not afraid to get into the gory details with my writing, leaving things to the reader is a great way to suck them into the story. They then become more than just an observer. They become part of the action, horror, or suspense.

Plus, gore for gore’s sake is just lazy storytelling. Why make it simple when it can be beautiful? Find ways to make the disgusting amazing, the horrible intriguing, and the revolting irresistible. Make is all beautiful chaos.

***You can pick up David’s books through AMAZON.

(Want to take part in a single question interview? Contact me for your question.)

Single Question Interview: Lyda Morehouse

What do you think is the future of science fiction?


I’m tempted to say something completely frivolous like: chickens.

My son will tell you that “chickens” is, in fact, my default answer to a lot of questions, including, “What shall we chat about tonight, Ima?” But I don’t actually think there will be chickens in the future, and there are very, very few fowl of any sort represented in science fiction.

So what will the future of science fiction be? I guess it depends on what we’re talking about. Predictive trends? The hot new thing? In that case, I really, really wish I knew because I’d sit down and write it immediately. Steampunk must be running its course, so what comes after that? More superheroes? Vampires in space? Werewolves on the moon?

I have no idea.

One thing I can predict with absolute certainty is that some literary writer somewhere will write a story or a novel or an epic poem that involves one of our long-standing tropes, like, say, a post-apocalyptic landscape or time-travel or dragons or mermaids and become a run-away bestseller lauded for their ‘mind-blowing originality’ much to the chagrin of science fiction writers everywhere. Margaret Atwood will also deny she writes science fiction. I can predict that with some accuracy.

But, if you mean what will the future of science fiction be in terms of how it will be consumed, I think I have some inkling about that: fan fiction. I predict that the next generation of fans will discover favorite science fiction/fantasy books by reading their fanfic first. Actually, I don’t have to predict that. It’s already happening. Recently, after being one of the guests of honor at CONvergence, one of the largest science conventions in my hometown of Minneapolis/St. Paul, I made several twenty-something friends, whom I started following on Twitter and hanging out with socially. These young fans told me time and time again: “Oh X? I read the slash fic first and decided it sounded cool, so I went back and read canon,” i.e., the Manga/comicbook/book/TV show/movie/etc. that spawned the fan work.

So, I predict that in the future, not too long from now, authors will be required to build their own community of fans FIRST. Things like this are already happening on Twitter and other social media and on what us old people call ‘the web.’ Think about John Scalzi’s rise to fame. For all intents and purposes, he made a cult following for himself first. Therefore, I predict that in the future, authors will be bought and sold based on their Klout rating.

But, I think, too, having free, available fan work of some kind will be critical to future writers’ success. Even if it’s a collection of images or fan art on Tumblr, I think that part of what writers of the future will present to editors and agents of the future is their ‘fan package.’ They will make pitches that sound like this: “I come with cute cosplay! My fans have written five hundred thousand words of fic! Have you seen the hot slash pairing pics on [fill-in future smerp for deviantart]?! I’m so big, there are already a half-dozen backlash memes!”

That’s what the future of science fiction will look like.

Oh, and e-books. I’m thinking that’s a big thing.

***You can pick up Lyda’s books through Amazon HERE and HERE.

(Want to take part in a single question interview? Contact me for your question.)

Single Question Interview: John Goodrich

Lovecraft, Poe or somewhere in-between?


I lean more towards Lovecraft than Poe, although Poe had a broader range, Lovecraft’s ability to imagine and then describe the completely alien wins him over for me.

That said, I wrote a piece for “Beyond the Mountains of Madness” that linked “The Narrative of A. Gordon Pym” with “At the Mountains of Madness.” Pasticing one author is difficult, but trying to somehow merge the two different writing styles was an insane headache. But the adventure won an award, so I guess I didn’t do too terribly.

***You can find out more about John through his  WEBSITE.

(Want to take part in a single question interview? Contact me for your question.)

Single Question Interview: Jessica McHugh

Write for fun or for fans?


I see two potential interpretations of this question, so I’ll answer both.

First, if we’re talking about crafting my story based on my own desires or what I think my fans will like, it’s a mixed bag. I never write a story with the desire to please anyone but me. But during editing, when I can see the story as a whole and put myself in the reader’s shoes, I might tweak certain things. More often than not, I choose to surprise rather than satisfy in what the reader thinks he/she wants. Without giving too much way about my novel “The Sky: The World,” I had the opportunity to make an obvious love connection at the end of the book. But based upon the character development I’d set in place, a love connection didn’t feel right. I’ve had a few people say they’d wished the characters had ended up together, but I think in subsequent readings, they saw how that would’ve been an illogical conclusion based on the character’s personalities. I’m not going to smash two people into a relationship because it’s the easy/fashionable/sweet thing to do. But if I see a proper way to give readers what they want, I’m more than happy to oblige. After all, a disappointed reader can be a dangerous thing.

Second, I absolutely write for fun. I wouldn’t take on such a hard career path if I didn’t derive enjoyment from it. However, I also want to make a living as a writer. I want people to read and enjoy my work. I would still do it if I didn’t have/want fans, but I wouldn’t work as hard as I do. With 7 active projects and 12 on the backburner, it’s surprising I haven’t gone off the deep end yet. I guess all of the fun I have in fiction is my life raft.

***You can pick up Jessica’s books through AMAZON.

(Want to take part in a single question interview? Contact me for your question.)

Single Question Interview: Vincenzo Bilof

Zombies, slow or fast or otherwise?


The concept of a zombie should not be defined by stifling conventions; monsters are born in nightmares. If a zombie is an “unreal” composite of death and humanity, an author’s vision of terror might imbue the monster with other details. What are the limitations of a zombie that can run? How fast can it run, and for how long? Why is a zombie moving slowly? Why does it groan? If we can acknowledge that horror includes a fear of the unknown, why should fear be defined? What is left to fear if all conventions have crafted a monster we know? If we suggest that convention dictates the monster, than we suggest the monster itself does not inspire dread. The zombie itself is not the only source of fear. The characterization of the zombie should be used by the artist at will; restrictions hinder genre, story, and innovation.

***You can pick up Vincenzo’s books through AMAZON.

(Want to take part in a single question interview? Contact me for your question.)