My story “Red Dirt” is the ‘from the archives’ story featured in the current issue of Beneath Ceaseless Skies. Check it out here:
My story “Remembering Zheng He” has been published in Indian fiction magazine The Affair and is free to read online at their website. (Which means I’m all out of forthcoming stories! Eep!)
This story was inspired by an essay I read during my undergraduate degree, called “Remembering Pearl Harbour” by Phyllis Turnbull, a professor at the University of Hawaii. The ideas put forward in the essay stuck with me and, because of it, I kept the book it was in on my shelf years after I’d finished my degree and thrown out my other old texts. Turnbull uses a discussion of the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbour to challenge the naturalised assumptions of the “American-ness” of Hawaii and delve into the story of the US annexation of the islands and US behaviour as an imperial power. Of course, as stories do, this one took on a life of it’s own and, in the writing, became as much about the love and differences between a father and son as about that political narrative.
(guest post at http://www.csfg.org.au)
Some of the best advice I ever got as a writer was to “file off the serial numbers” from stories I admired and use what I’d got from them in my own work. This is, as it sounds, an exhortation to steal – shamelessly – but not, as the reader may immediately suspect, to plagiarise, nor even to be derivative.
It doesn’t mean that you should (or can rightfully) populate your stories with Ring Wraiths fighting with red lightsabres on behalf of the Klingon Empire in their war against the phaser-equipped Robocops who defend the nation of sparkly vampires. (Although, how awesome would that be? In a Sharknado kind of way, anyway.) Nor does it mean that, if you admire, say, a particular secondary-world fantasy that revolves around the feuding of great noble houses for control of the throne of the kingdom while winter is coming and also dragons, you should write a secondary-world fantasy that revolves around the feuding of great noble houses for control of the throne of the kingdom while winter is coming and also dragons.