This is a short, tasty piece . . . kinda like a burger. It’s also a great handshake between idea and character. Do you see a lot of yourself in the father? Are your characters often strongly autobiographical, or do you prefer to create characters that are very different from you?
I would like to think that if I were a father, I’d be as friendly a presence in my child’s life as this protagonist, but alas, life has not provided the hard evidence. I like to create characters different from myself, but at longer lengths have often given myself a little Hitchcockian cameo at the edge of the action. Closest thing to me in any recent work is the title character in “The Old Horror Writer” at Nightmare Magazine.
It would be easy to draw metaphor(s) from this piece. For a moment, I wanted to give you a vegetarian high five! Don’t worry—I shook it off. Is this story meant as metaphor, does it stand as something specific for you, or is it just a damn good story about a father and his daughter? (Not to mention the end of all of us.)
I am not a vegetarian. Never have been. I know I should be, but I honestly don’t want to receive emails stating the case. The horrors of slaughterhouses are not the subject matter here. It’s just a story about having to explain the unexplainable to an innocent.
On one hand, there is a sense of resignation throughout. This is kind of mirrored in the final line, which lands as both surprising and incredibly poignant. On the other hand, this piece could be seen as presenting a “live in the moment” attitude and carrying a certain tranquility. Any thoughts on this?
I think it’s acknowledgment that we are carnivores, most of us, even if in this story not at the top of the food chain.
Looking at your wiki and website, I see that you’ve written a few stories at this point (knee slap!). You said in a prior interview that you like to challenge yourself and that you get bored, and that consequently you like to experiment and try different things. What have you found to be the most challenging or interesting, and why?
Most challenging were my Gustav Gloom novels, where I had to exercise my macabre imagination without compromise, while retaining a sense of fun for middle-grade readers. It was an exercise in reconnecting with my inner child.
For people who haven’t read your work, where is the best place to start? What is the work you are happiest with/most proud of?
For folks who want hard science fiction, I would say my novel Emissaries From The Dead (or any of the other Andrea Cort stories appearing regularly in Analog). For folks who want a fun romp, I would say the Gustav Gloom novels, which are accessible to adults. But for folks who want to see what I consider the state of my writing art now, I would suggest the collection Her Husband’s Hands And Other Stories, with the caveat that these are all dark stories and that they are not to be read in one sitting. I am proudest of that book, in that, I think, it comes closest to justifying on its own the time I have spent in quiet rooms looking at blank pages.
Is there anything else you’d like readers to know about this story or about your work in general?
About this story, no; I think it stands for itself. About my work in general, only that more is coming, and that I hope what you get to see next is the mainstream thriller now passing the 80K mark.
Spread the word!