Science Fiction & Fantasy

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Nonfiction

Author Spotlight: Matthew Hughes

Kaslo has a unique integrity—both in character and in story. What kind of response have you been seeing to the stories of Kaslo?

I haven’t had a flood of fan mail, but those who have written have liked the character and the story. He’s a man with a code of honor and he means to stick to it, even if the whole universe has yanked the rug out from under his feet.

As with the other stories, could you please lead us through the inception of this particular part of Kaslo’s journey?

The universe has changed its operating principle, from rational cause-and-effect to magic powered by the force of will. The advanced civilization of Novo Bantry, an anciently settled world where Kaslo lives, has collapsed. But there’s more going on than just the great change, terrible as that is. There are other planes than the one that contains our part of the universe, and on one of those planes a power has been waiting aeons for magic to be strong again.

With a series such as this, how do you approach making each installment autonomous, but connected enough to the other stories to maintain the consistency of such a well-crafted narrative?

I am an intuitive writer. I don’t outline. So I’m actually not seeing much farther ahead than the reader. I know now (in May 2014) what the story is leading up to. I didn’t know when I was writing this episode (in November 2013) what was waiting for Kaslo. But I knew it would be awful and that he would deal with it.

In a universe where time and space can change so drastically, what kinds of aspects of life would you pick to change in the real world, and—if it would not interrupt the physics and structure you’ve created—in Kaslo’s?

You wouldn’t want me in charge of designing the real world. I had an odd upbringing and my standards don’t fit the middle of the bell curve. In Kaslo’s world, I am the designer, and because I am a character-focused writer, what I want is for him to come through in the end. Probably not unscathed, but still punching.

After Kaslo, what’s next?

More stories. Maybe another Kaslo adventure. I’m also going to be writing a historical novel that I’ve been thinking about for forty years. And I’m interested to see if my having a story in the latest George R.R. Martin/Gardner Dozois cross-genre anthology, Rogues, (Bantam, June 2014) brings me any new readers. Their last such project, Dangerous Women, was a New York Times bestseller.

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Patrick J Stephens

Patrick J Stephens recently graduated from the University of Edinburgh and, after spending the entire year writing speculative fiction, came back with a Master’s in Social Science. His first collection (Aurichrome and Other Stories) can be found on Kindle and Nook.