As chance would have it, myself and my two good writer friends Milo James Fowler and Jeff Chapman have stories appearing in the June 2013 edition of the wonderful Bards and Sages Quarterly. And what's more, if you sign up for the Bards and Sages newsletter you can get the stories (along with eleven others) for free as an emailed PDF. The sign-up link is here.
To celebrate this curious feat, we thought we'd interview each other and answer a set of questions about our respective stories: Sins of the Father by Milo, The Facts in the Case of M. Hussman by Jeff and my own Threads.
Q. How would you describe your story in one sentence?
Simon: The barbarian horde is at the gates of the city, but young Queen Myrgiane sits with her courtiers working on her embroidery, calmly waiting for her plans to unfold...
Milo: It's a weird western, and there's some time travel involved. (SPOILER ALERT!)
Jeff: Let the dead die.
Q. What inspired you to write it?
Simon: I like the idea of stories that turn on some apparently insignificant, commonplace thing rather than powerful magical artefacts or great heroes (although they're cool, too). So, a snatch of a song or a chance remark; something that anyone could know or do. I had the idea of the embroidery that features in the story and I thought it would be interesting to contrast it with a rampaging barbarian horde. That, in itself, amused me, but also, how can a mere embroidery save a city from such an onslaught? The answer really comes down to the two characters, Queen Myrgiane and Bloody Argan. The queen, especially, was fun to write. Anyone underestimating her is making a big mistake...
Milo: I was watching a really bad spaghetti western (can't even remember the name of it), and my mind wandered...
Jeff: The prompt "love beyond the grave" and Edgar Allan Poe's story "The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar."
Q. Are you a bard or a sage? Why?
Simon: Well, not a bard, given my singing voice, so I'll have to go Sage. There's a long flowing cloak to go with it, right?
Milo: I'm not wise enough to be a sage, but I could possibly quoth some bardish scifaiku.
Jeff: Definitely a bard. I make up stories to entertain and stimulate the little gray cells. I still have all my wisdom teeth, but I make no claims regarding the wisdom imparted by my tales...
Q. Anything else you'd like to add?
Simon: Without giving the ending to Threads away, I can't help thinking there are more stories to be written about what happens next. Perhaps I will write them one day...
Milo: Cade, the albino samurai from "Sins of the Father," has shown up in a couple of my other tales, and I have a feeling he will keep doing so. He's like that.
Jeff: This is my first steampunk effort and my first attempt at an epistolary story. It's a powerful and flexible form that allows for a level of detachment and brevity that would be awkward in a standard narrative. It was a lot of fun to write.
Thanks, guys! You can read all three stories and the rest of the issue here.