Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Interview with Alan Kemister

I really enjoyed the interview with Alan. His answers are straight forward and honest. I love his sense of humor and his writing. Oh, and I do hope his friend will submit to another Silly Tree anthology one of these days.


1.         When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

My interest in writing fiction developed towards the end of a scientific research career when reporting of the actual scientific results took a back seat to selling the projects to the funding agencies.  It wasn’t much of a leap from writing these ‘stories’ about the research to creating fiction that has an environmental context.  When I retired I decided to try doing just that.  I imagine I came to creative writing much later in life than most of the other authors.

2.         Do you write for a living or as a hobby?

Writing for me is definitely a hobby.  I would like to see some of my work published so that others can read it, but I don’t expect to make any money from it.  I just hope a few people will get some enjoyment or enlightenment from reading what I write.

3.         Where did you get the idea for this story to be published in ST’s second anthology?

My story developed from my interest in climate change.  I tried to imagine how society might react if the ecological consequences of global warming and society’s response to these changes were more draconian than most of the projections we see.  The theme for this anthology gave me an opportunity to imagine how one individual could manage to look past the chaos and search for a future for himself.

4.         Do you enter many writing contests?

I have entered a few contests but never won any.  Their appeal to me is the challenge of writing something, usually something short, which makes me think about a problem from the perspective of the contest rules.

5.         How do you feel about entering contest only for the fame and not the fortune?

I don’t think of them from either of these perspectives.  I think of them as exercises to try something new and challenge my imagination, to do something I wouldn’t otherwise have done.  They can also, depending on the structure of the contests, be an opportunity to get some feedback from the judges or the other participants.

6.         Where did you hear of Silly Tree?

I heard of Silly Tree from a colleague in a writing group I belong to.  He submitted a story to the first Silly Tree anthology, the one that didn’t get off the ground.

7.         Do you write an outline before every book you write?

I’ve managed to get three books close to something that might be described as finished.  They all need extensive editing and review but I think the structures for the stories won’t change much.  At least I hope that’s the case.  I had outlines for all three of them, but didn’t worry if I diverged from the plan.  One was a mystery and I paid more attention to the outline for that one because I had to bring the story to a logical and internally consistent conclusion, but the other two diverged substantially.

8.         How do you come up with your titles?

I find deciding on a title incredibly difficult and I don’t think I’ve liked any of the titles I’ve come up with.  If I had to decide on a title before I began a story I’d never write a single word.  Generally, I accumulate various possibilities, wait until the last moment, looming deadline for submission or whatever, and pick the one that seems to best describe the overall scope of the story.  I seldom come up with anything particularly good or catchy.

9.         What are your current projects?

I have two active projects.  The first is to review/revise the mystery I referred to above so I can submit it to a contest.  The second is to expand/continue the story I wrote for this anthology to get Benjamin Ford and some of his friends and compatriots to the end of their journey.

10.       If you had to do it over again, would you change anything in your latest story?

Is this a trick question?  I can’t imagine writing anything I thought so good I wouldn’t want to change it.  Every time I reread one of my stories, I find things I want to change

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