Bewildering Stories Interviews
I. Personal Questions
Where do you live? — Fairfield, Connecticut.
What were/are your occupations? — Student (part time dishwasher, obit writer, factory slave); naval officer (diver, bomb disarmer, watch officer); reporter (cops ,courts and features); intelligence officer ( Germany, Japan, Finland, etc.); international sales and marketing executive (seventy-two countries visited); fiction/poetry author.
What do you do in real life? — There is no real life, just what we create.
How did you come in contact with Bewildering Stories? — Through a Duotrope listing and story submissions.
What do you do in your spare time (aside from reading BwS stories)? — Fly fishing and sporting clays shooting
Is there anything BwS does particularly well? — The feedback provided authors is unusual and I think appreciated. Maybe have a theme issue or two?
II. About Reading
Is there anything you’d like to tell BwS authors to do or not do? — Give a story a week or two’s dormancy, then reread and revise before submitting.
What would you like readers to learn or gain from what you write? — Damn little. My genre stories are entertainments, my literary stuff and poetry are emotional appeals.
How long have you been writing? — Corporate fiction for thirty-five years, genre and literary fiction for six.
What made you want to start writing after retirement? — Avoidance of senility, and curiosity about my abilities.
Do you have a favorite among your works? — The closer the story is to my own experience the closer I feel to it, but stories are like children, I like them all, but in different ways, and some maybe more than others.
What’s your favorite book? — Trick question. I tend (as I suspect do others) to list a book I’ve recently read. The favorites change with stage of life and current interests. I once thought Tarzan was great literature, but recently reread one of the series and realize my innocence and acceptance are long gone.
III. About Writing
Almost every writer is inspired by someone or something else. What inspirations have you found? Where do you get your ideas? — God only knows. I tell people I have a swamp-gas mind. Having written that, I’m sure I unconsciously steal from writers I like.
In composing a story, which do you think of first: the plot or the characters? — Neither. I envision a theme or situation then embroider characters and actions.
Where do you write? — The smallest room in the house.
When do you write: at set times or as the mood moves you? — Yes.
Do you ever have a problem with writer’s block? — Not really, I sometimes don’t know where a story’s going and pause, but if I know the direction, I walk the path.
Some writers say that they have to write a certain amount every day. Do you do set a quota? — Very loose, maybe a 500-word minimum or, failing that, a poem draft.
Most writers have a particular audience in mind, although it may change from one work to the next. Who are your audiences? For whom do you write? — Another trick question. I write the first draft for myself, then try and figure out who might enjoy reading it and revise to suit.
Do you use the Internet to check facts? — All the time. I’ve got CRS syndrome.
What do you consider the strangest thing you’ve ever written? — I write genre, everything is strange.
What do you consider the most revealing thing you’ve ever written? — A literary piece called “The Cottage”
Does anyone else critique your work? — I belong to two fiction critique groups, one does my chapters of the forthcoming novel, the other does my short and flash fiction.
Do you have any favorite authors at Bewildering Stories? Have you found there any works you’d recommend to a friend? — Hmmm. There are a bunch of authors I look forward to reading, and some not so much. Hanging out with writers means we tend to talk about each other’s work, and when we stray into outside authors it’s usually to recommend a novel. Harder to do when they’re serialized in BwS.
Some authors have started writing later in life. If that’s the case with you, what brought you to writing rather than to some other activity? — I can do it while sitting down.
The tally so far: A hundred thirty stories and poems published, and two books. A third book, collected fantasy and horror stories, is scheduled for publication late in 2016, if the creek don’t rise.
Copyright © 2016 by Edward Ahern