Bewildering Stories Interviews
Marina J. Neary
Bewildering Stories was first conceived as a way to break the bottleneck of print publishing in science fiction. It soon expanded its scope to include all “speculative” writing, however loosely it may be defined. It has long had a kind of educational mission, to encourage new and aspiring writers. Our Associate Editors’ work for our regular issues is mirrored by that of the Review Board for our Quarterly and Annual Reviews. The Review Editors are our flag-bearers; they ensure that Bewildering Stories holds its own with the best current literature on line and in print. This interview expresses our appreciation to one of our Review Editors.
How did you become involved with Bewildering Storiesand when?
I had written a story on a whim and then submitted it on a whim. The story turned out to be a big hit, and Don asked me to join the posse. The rest is history.
What are your favorite and least favorite parts of working as an Editor for Bewildering Stories?
My favorite part is getting into snippy arguments with my colleagues. I end up having to apologize or blaming my venomous behavior on yet another chemical imbalance.
What do you do in real life?
I slay dragons and chase aliens. My favorite activity is rescuing valiant knights in distress from parasitical fair maidens.
What do you do in your spare time (aside from reading Bewildering Storiesstories)?
I do a great job neglecting my house chores and maternal responsibilities.
What’s your favorite book?
Every year of my life has been marked by a particular Book. Most recent one is December Bride, an obscure and highly underrated masterpiece of rural Northern Ireland melancholy by Sam Hanna Bell. I do not read bestsellers or watch blockbusters.
Who are your favorite authors, and what about their works appeals to you most?
Lately, my old idols — Hugo, Chateaubriand & Dumas — have been getting on my nerves. Not sure why. Perhaps, I’ve outgrown French Romanticism. It’s funny how intense admiration often turns to equally intense contempt. It’s not that I despise them. I despise myself for having fawned over their works.
If you could invite any other writer to dinner who would ask and why?
Heavens, no, I wouldn’t invite anyone I care about to MY house. It’s filthy, and I’m not a very good cook.
What’s the last book that you read and really enjoyed?
The Wasted Island, by Eimar Ultan O’Duffy. It’s so flawed and yet so raw. One of the reasons why it slipped through the cracks because the author’s point of view was so unpopular in Ireland after the rising of 1916.
If you could be any character (other than one of your own) from a book or movie who would it be? Why?
Lassie the dog. She looks great in slow motion.
Do you write yourself? What kind of stuff?
My specialties include French Romanticism, Irish Nationalism and Neo-Victorianism.
Where do you get your ideas?
My hereditary mental illness is a deep well of ideas.
When do you write: at set times or as the mood moves you?
The mood always moves me, sometimes at the most inopportune times — during Board meetings, in the middle of the highway.
Some writers say that they have to write a certain amount of words every day. Do you ever have a problem with writer’s block?
Forcing yourself to write is like forcing yourself to eat when you’re not hungry or make love when you’re not horny.
Who proofreads and critiques your work?
I do it myself. I may turn to someone for a second opinion, very rarely. Generally, I don’t want to make enemies by bombarding people with unfinished manuscripts.
My mother doesn’t want to hear about the process. Show her the results. She was not huge on seeing the early drafts of my work. To her credit, she fought hard the urge to roll her eyes, given that her eyes have this natural tendency to roll. They are those big bulging amber balls, and they are magnetized to turn toward the ceiling. Plus, she has this natural tendency to yawn, which she masks as “meow”.
My point is, she did not start taking me seriously as a writer until my first novel came out. Then, all of a sudden, she started taking interest in my work. More than that, she changed her original position from “I hope I’m wrong, but I just don’t see this going anywhere” to “I always knew that my daughter will be famous.” Funny how some people’s attitudes turn 180. You are already familiar with Antonia in “Let Them Eat Cat Food”!
Who drives a story: you or your characters?
It depends. If it’s historical fiction, then my hands are tied (loosely). I can’t change the outcome of history. The destination is pre-set. Now, the journey to that destination is a different story. When I write historical fiction, I enjoy developing the “behind the scenes” stories, even if we know how the main story ends.
Do you have a favorite among your works?
Do you have a favorite among your children? I love all my deformed little dwarves.
Do you have a favorite character? If so, who is it, and what makes it your favorite?
Every character has something of the author. I insert “cameo” bits and pieces of myself into every character I create, even if she (or he) is based on a historical figure.
Where do you live, if you don’t mind saying?
I live in the most expensive city in the United States — Stamford, Connecticut. Transforming myself from a Eurotrash princess into a New England bitch is a lifelong process. Doesn’t happen overnight. I’m still practicing my corporate squeak.
Where do you think you might like to live, either in reality or in your imagination?
Northern Ireland or Southern France. Irish rebels and Basque separatists are my favorite drinking buddies. We could do a lot of damage together.
Copyright © 2012 by
Marina J. Neary
and Bewildering Stories