My story, “In the Event of Death”, was published in BLACK WINGS IV (PS Publishing, 2015), a volume in the series edited by S. T. Joshi. It’s a riff on an idea from one of Lovecraft’s most famous stories, recontextualized and interpreted through my lens.
The story, in its earlier drafts, was drawn heavily from my own experiences, and though over time most of that personal material was removed, it still helped inform the story that remained. What’s most interesting is that of the material left in I can no longer be certain what was drawn from my own experiences and what was invented for the story. This is common occurrence for writers, I think, though knowing that does not dull how bizarre it is to find one’s memories bent and distorted by imagination. It also goes some distance to showing how memory is frequently fallible and untrustworthy. Perhaps that’s the true lesson in this story.
The title, by the way, is one of my favourites. It has a real “Cornell Woolrich” ring to it.
There is a lot to say about the origins of my story, “Thistle’s Find”, from BLACK WINGS III (PS Publishing, 2014), but very little I want to go into. The story was a cathartic experience for me, but not in the way most would imagine. At the time I wrote it, I was in the midst of a long string of heavy, restrained stories, and I felt weighed down by them. As a break, I decided to try writing something off-the-cuff, something that wasn’t worried as much about subtext and subtlety. Something that wanted to be a wild ride. The core of the story comes from the snippet of a dream I had many years ago, and when I was done writing the story I was pretty pleased with the results; it’s violent and sexual and adventurous, and I had more fun with it than I ever expected I would.
I don’t think of myself as a science fiction author, but I do have a science degree, and retain an interest in scientific matters, so it’s inevitable that every once in a while science creeps into my stories. It did in my earlier story, “Cold to the Touch”, with its themes of environmentalism, and will do so a few times in my upcoming collection, BURNT BLACK SUNS (Hippocampus Press, 2014); and it does so here as well. In fact, it was this story’s science-fiction/horror-hybrid nature that made it a good fit for the Lovecraftian Black Wings series. At least, I think it’s a good fit. As does S. T. Joshi, the series’ editor, I suppose.