The Dooryard interviews me about fiction writing, SFF, and what makes a great story

As part of Short Story Month, The Dooryard is publishing interviews with Vermont short-story writers, including me!

The editor, Stacey Peters, asked me about how I published my first short story, how I juggle journalism and fiction writing (time management is always a problem), and Vermont writers I admire. I also gave her an earful about the awesomeness of science-fiction and fantasy today, and how I (finally) admitted my addiction to the genre.

Here’s an excerpt from the interview — to read the whole piece, click here.

TD: While you’ve only published one work of fiction so far, you’re a successful business and advertising writer.  Have you always written fiction, or is this a new venture?  Is it easy to make the mental leap from business reporting to fiction writing?

AP: Like many journalists, I’ve always written fiction. One of my friends once told me, “Every journalist has a novel inside, which is where it should stay.” Well, I heartily disagree with that. After all, if journalists took that advice to heart, we’d have no novels by the likes of Terry Pratchett or Neil Gaiman, two fantasy writers whose writing I adore.

My fiction always veered toward the “weird,” and finally I realized that I needed to write fantasy and science fiction, that a part of my brain was clamoring to be heard. These are the books I love to read, but when it came to fiction writing, I was forcing myself into a “literary” mold, which frankly wasn’t working for me. This partially came from growing up in a house where literary classics were prized, but the books I preferred  — Anne McCaffrey’s “Pern” series and JRR Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings,” for instance — were looked down upon. I always felt a little guilty at reading those books, and, by default, writing in these genres. But getting older is also freeing, and allowing myself to write science fiction and fantasy has unlocked a part of my creative side.

As for making the leap from business reporting to fiction writing, I wouldn’t say it’s difficult, but it’s certainly a change of gears. On the other hand, some of the themes I touch on share some issues with my favorite journalism topics: money, inequality, getting trapped by bureaucracy.

Like anyone juggling work and a family, my biggest challenge is simply finding the time to write fiction.


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Filed under fiction, SFF

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