Give us a little bit of background on your writing career.
I suppose I’m an example of a writer’s life interrupted. I wrote a lot up till my early twenties – but never had anything published. Then work, marriage, children kind of took over. However I kept on scribbling away – mainly stuff to keep my kids occupied on rainy days. My parody of X Files/Eastenders, in which Mulder and Scully are dispatched by the FBI to investigate paranormal goings on in Albert Square, is one that my son and daughter fondly remember. It was really through their encouragement that I began to write seriously again.
My first anthology acceptance was in the Saltboy Press collection Time for Bedlam and featured a vampiric, shadow-sucking version of Wee Willie Winkie. Since then I have had stories published in many anthologies and magazines, most recently in the Whortleberry Press Ray Bradbury tribute, Dandelions of Mars.
I also write children’s and young adult fiction and have had stories published in three of the Knowonder read aloud anthologies as well as a children’s fantasy novel The Tale of Euan Redcap, which came out last year on Wyvern Publications. A reading of my young adult story “The Drove of Maris-Charlottes” went out as a podcast on the Cast of Wonders website in September.
What appealed to you about the Astrologica project?
I was attracted to the challenge of trying to develop an interesting plot around a star sign.
Why did you choose this particular star sign for your story?
My story is about the awful place that blind prejudice and bigotry ultimately lead us to – for me any suggestion that the people of one nation, race or religion are somehow superior to another is about as preposterous as saying a group of people born under a particular star sign are superior to those born under another. In this case the leap from Aryan to Arian was a short one.
Which star sign are you and what qualities of that sign do you display?
I’m a Sagittarius. I was born on the 25 November and share my birthday with a motley assortment of famous and infamous people – including Pakistani cricketer and politician, Imran Khan; baseball giant, Joe Dimaggio; steel mogul and philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie; John F Kennedy Jnr, son of JFK; Barbara and Jenna, twin daughters of George W Bush; Chilean Dictator, Augusto Pinochet; Charlaine Harris, author of the Sukie Stackhouse vampire novels; and Jeffrey Hunter (Captain Pike in the original Star Trek TV pilot).
I’m not sure if I have any common traits whatsoever with anyone on that list, but apparently Sagittarians are gifted with intelligence and good judgement, which I would like to think is true for me, but probably isn’t. We’re also supposed to be a tad blunt at times, which unfortunately is probably a lot closer to the truth.
What is the most accurate/least accurate horoscope you have ever read?
I went to a huge wedding, partied till the early hours, had a two hour drive home. Got up for work bleary eyed, exhausted and bloated from over eating. My horoscope read “You have bags of vim and vigour on your side and are powering forwards”. I went back to bed.
Where do you go from here?
I’ve been writing a series of loosely linked but stand alone short stories set against the backdrop of the People’s Republic of the Marchen, a kind of post revolutionary Stalinist fairy tale state. The characters in the stories are drawn from traditional folk tales and nursery rhymes and each story tells of how the revolution and the edicts of the regime impact on them, either for better or worse.
Omnipresent in all of the stories is the charismatic leader of the revolution, the trickster, Till Eulenspiegel. Till Eulenspiegel was the subject of a collection of folk tales originating from the Brunswick area of Germany, sometimes known collectively as The Amazing Pranks of Till Eulenspiegel. Eulenspiegel is often depicted dressed in a jester’s costume and most of his stories show him using cunning ruses to outwit all sorts of folk, from tradesmen and innkeepers to priests and princes. I thought he would be the perfect figurehead for a revolution in the land of fairytales.
So far I’ve had three of these stories published and I have four more acceptances due for publication in the coming months in “Black Apples” (Belladonna Publications), “Grimm and Grimmer – Black” (Fringeworks), “Dread Time Tales” (Alter Press) and “Tales of the Unseelie Court” (Seventh Star Press) respectively.
I’m hoping that one day I might be able to persuade someone to publish all the Tales of the Marchen Revolution as a collection.