Can you tell us what inspired you to write “Every Single Brian”?
It was the first week of Clarion West (shout out class of 2014). Kij Johnson was going to be our instructor and I’d read her amazing story “Mantis Wives.” I started playing around with the ideas that people believe they know everything about their partners and that they wouldn’t change a thing about them. If such an idealist were confronted with multiple variations of their partner, with one of them being the original, would they be able to find the exact one? Would they be tempted to pick one with more desirable traits than the original? I’d hoped to impress Kij, which I’m not sure I did, but she was super awesome! I also want to mention my dad—you inspire me everyday, sir.
Were there any surprises between initial conception and the story’s final form?
I came up with more Brian variants than were numbered in the story. I killed way more than Dr. Bellman did! It was too much fun (and morbidly enlightening) to research beauty standards from around the world. The original ending was more of a puzzle for the reader, but I opted to change it into an interrogation of the main character’s narrative.
How did you get into writing genre fiction?
I grew up reading as much genre fiction as I could get my hands on. At some point in my adult life I took a writing class from Nick Mamatas. He encouraged me to apply to Clarion West (which I was rejected from before being accepted). The rest is history.
What are you keeping busy with lately? Where else can readers and fans find your work?
I’m currently working on a choose your own adventure for Choice of Games where the player runs a magical creature sanctuary. I’m also doing creative text for Magic: The Gathering, and I’m part of a Dungeons & Dragons Twitch channel called Dungeon Scrawlers. While I generally avoid social media, it’s not due to shyness. Please connect with me on Twitter @twooftheyangs if you want to share thoughts about my story! Thank you for reading!
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