How did “When Sri Left the Ruined City” originate? What inspirations did you draw on?
I got the concept for this story from a picture I saw online. It was this giant head suspended in front of an altar. I actually don’t remember it that well because everytime I look at it I think, that’s not how I remember it! But when I saw it I thought, wow, that’s a really terrible way to honor a god and the story of Sri spun from there. The way the story is told is inspired by the oral tradition of storytelling.
What is your writing process like? Did this story fit the pattern?
I tend to get an idea, write a few notes about it, sometimes it’s just a sentence, sometimes it’s a thousand words but either way, it’s just an idea. I let it sit. Depending on the story it can be for an hour but it may be over a year until I get to it again. Just let it marinate. Then I write it all in one go. The majority of my short stories are written in a single sitting. Then I go back and edit it, refine it. This is when me and the work starts to fight between what I want it to be and what it is. The work always wins.
This story fits that pattern. I think it was a few months that I let it sit before I started work on it.
Where are you in this story?
This is such an intriguing question! I think this is about my self insert? And it’s such a personal and juicy question. Who do I admit to being here? What part of this is distilled from my truest self? The brave Sri? The greedy controlling Irx? The powerless/powerful Unspoken? But I mean obviously I’m the Storyteller. And less obviously the Sweetlings. With this story I feel like I was telling and being told a story in the hopes that I could understand and pen a larger work. But there’s that tug of war between hey, I’m in charge here listen to me and the drive to just follow along with the tale. To be the speaker and the listener. To know all the secrets but still have all the wonder.
Other than writing, do you have any other creative pursuits? What do you do to relax?
I paint. I am an artist. I work in traditional, wet media mostly. Watercolor, acrylic, that sort of thing. I wanted to be an artist before a writer, that was my first dream job. I do a lot of surreal-esque figures and scenes. Lots of just really weird stuff inspired by dreams and feelings and silly ideas. To relax though I watch YouTube videos about horror movies and drama between reality stars on shows I don’t watch.
What are you working on lately? Where else can fans look for your work?
My debut novel, “Midnight Rooms” is in the publishing pipeline so that’s a lot of my time. I am also doing some writing for a game called The Sky Left Us with a small, indie studio and that’s been great. In between all this I’m always working on my “little stories.” I keep a list of my publications on my website, donyaecoles.com, and anyone can follow me on Twitter @okokno for my latest announcements.
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