Quick Questions with Nina MacLaughlin

One week out from our next event, we bring you a brief interlude with another fantastic author:

Nina MacLaughlin is the author of Wake, Siren: Ovid Resung and the acclaimed memoir Hammer Head: The Making of a Carpenter. Of Wake, Siren, Kelly Link said, “Old myths translated into bright and glorious colors. I loved this.”

Come see Nina on February 27th at Trident Books! RSVP here.

wakesirenDo you write with a specific audience in mind?

I write first for myself. Then, usually I have one person in mind that I’m writing to, one person who I’m imagining myself in conversation with, who I’m talking to directly, or indirectly. Sometimes it’s a friend, an editor, a love; it varies. I tend not to think about an “audience” in part because of a superstitious reluctance to assume that anyone beyond myself and maybe this one other person will lay eyes on whatever it is I’m working on, and in part because, for me, to have too big of an awareness, particularly at first, of other people, jails my mind and introduces self-consciousness which is a great enemy to writing.

What book do you wish more people knew about?

The book I can’t stop talking about is the poetry collection it by Danish poet Inger Christensen and translated by Susanna Nied (New Directions) . It came out in 1969 and it’s the type of poetry collection that’s less about dipping in to a poem here and there, and more starting from the start and getting swept up into Christensen’s earthy, sensual, spinning ideas on language, time, death, all the biggest best stuff.

What appeals to you about the genre you work in? (or a genre you work in?)

I write true stuff and made-up stuff, critical stuff, sometimes poem stuff. Each genre has its unique challenges and charms—the imaginative flights fiction allows; the precision non-fiction demands; the pushing of the boundaries of what language can do which is what poetry offers. But all of them have elements of the others, and maybe what appeals to me most is swinging between the forms and letting them inform and play off each other.

Nina MacLaughlin is the author of Wake, Siren: Ovid Resung, a re-telling of Ovid’s Metamorphoses told from the perspective of the female figures transformed, published by FSG/FSG Originals in November, 2019. Her first book was the acclaimed memoir Hammer Head: The Making of a Carpenter. Formerly an editor at the Boston Phoenix, she worked for nine years as a carpenter, and is now a books columnist for the Boston Globe. Her work has appeared on or in The Paris Review Daily, The Believer, American Short Fiction, the Los Angeles Review of Books, the Wall Street Journal, Meatpaper, and elsewhere. She carves spoons and lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Quick Questions with C.S.E. Cooney

In 2020, we’re adding more events! We’ll be bimonthly starting this month. And, of course, we’re still doing tiny interviews with our upcoming authors!

C.S.E. Cooney is an audiobook narrator, singer/songwriter, and author. Her latest book, Desdemona and the Deep, was described by Liz Bourke in Locus as “pleasantly queer and drunk on language.”

Come see her on February 27th at Trident Books! RSVP here.

Tell us about your latest release in five words or fewer, or in one image/gif.

Okay, but . . . I’m cheating. Here are THREE gifs for DESDEMONA AND THE DEEP:

What book do you wish more people knew about?

EARLY RISER, by Jaspar Fforde. My husband Carlos and I read it aloud to each other over December and January and were wholly compelled by the voice, world-building, wit, heart, myth-making, plotting, pacing, and overall Gesamtkunstwerk of Jasper Fforde’s latest. Also a great audiobook. Totally thrilling. Not uncomplicated. I immediately listened to it after reading it aloud. It almost requires more than one read in a row.

desdemonaWhat appeals to you about the genre you work in? (or a genre you work in?)

I just love fantasy. In a way, all fiction falls under its umbrella. It’s a very, very flexible genre, and it’s only getting more exciting as it shatters horizons, blows out glass ceilings, burns tropes, makes way for the new blue-green hills of other worlds.

C.S.E. Cooney is the author of the World Fantasy Award-winning Bone Swans: Stories. She is also an audiobook narrator and the singer/songwriter Brimstone Rhine. Her work includes Tor.com novella Desdemona and the Deep, three albums: Alecto! Alecto!The Headless Bride, and Corbeau Blanc, Corbeau Noir, and a poetry collection: How to Flirt in Faerieland and Other Wild Rhymes, which features her Rhysling Award-winning “The Sea King’s Second Bride.” Her short fiction can be found in Ellen Datlow’s Mad Hatters and March Hares: All-New Stories from the World of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, the Sword and Sonnet anthology, Rich Horton’s Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy, Jonathan Strahan’s The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year, and elsewhere.

Quick Questions with Errick Nunnally

The final interview before our event is with Errick Nunnally! Errick is the author of Lightning Wears a Red Cape, which Laird Barron called “brutal, dynamic, and action-packed.”

Come see Errick on October 24th at Trident Books! RSVP here.

Tell us about your latest release in five words or fewer, or in one image/gif.


What book do you wish more people knew about?

Shrinking The Heroes by Minister Faust or Dreadnought by April Daniels.

en-lightningWhat was the first story you ever wrote?

“Who Bears The Lathe?” It was a short, post-apocalyptic story published in a now defunct magazine about an interrogation performed by a menacing cyborg on a rebellious woman.

What appeals to you about the genre you work in? (or a genre you work in?)

Anything is possible! Speculative fiction is a wild smear across all genres of storytelling. Much like horror, it can be a part of anything!

What do you like to listen to when you write?

Just about anything that doesn’t have lyrics. Ugh. Singing, rapping, any sort of human vocalizations tend to distract me.

Errick Nunnally was born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts, and served one tour in the Marine Corps before deciding art school was a safer pursuit. He enjoys art, comics, and genre novels. A designer by day, he earned a black belt in Krav Maga and Muay Thai kickboxing by night. His work has appeared in several anthologies and is best described as “dark pulp.” His work can be found in LAMPLIGHT, TRANSCENDENT, WICKED WITCHES, THE FINAL SUMMONS, PROTECTORS 2, the Podcast, NIGHTLIGHT, and the ChiZine novel, LIGHTNING WEARS A RED CAPE.

Quick Questions with Bracken MacLeod

bm-come to dustOur second author interview is with Bracken MacLeod! Curious about his work? Be careful! “MacLeod’s fiction is full of traps – some physical, some psychological, none easy to wriggle free of.” (Terrence Rafferty, The New York Times Book Review)

Come see Bracken on October 24th at Trident Books! RSVP here.

What book do you wish more people knew about?

I wish more people knew about The Secret Life of Souls by Jack Ketchum and Lucky McKee. Lots of people know about Ketchum, and a couple of his books are hugely popular in genre circles (The Girl Next Door being the most (in)famous) but Souls is the last novel he and his collaborator Lucky released before he died, and I feel like it deserved a much better life than it had. It’s a harrowing portrait of a disintegrating family, but also a sensitive meditation on the bond between children and animals. It’s such a wonderful book in every way.

What was the first story you ever wrote?

The first story I ever wrote was for a fifth-grade writing assignment. We were told to write holiday stories for the teacher to read aloud in class. I came up with a sci fi/horror piece about Santa Claus and H.R. Giger’s xenomorph from Alien doing battle in space. It was gory and nasty (SPOILER: Santa won), and the teacher reasonably refused to read it to the class. Fortunately, I grew up in a different time, and was only sent home with a sternly worded note about what I should be allowed to watch on television. I consider it my first literary rejection.

bm-echoesWhat do you like to listen to when you write?

I find lyrics distracting when I’m working, so I tend to listen to either instrumental music or something where the lyrics aren’t easily discernible (Black Metal, for instance). Typically, the style of music though is entirely dictated by the type of scene I’m writing. For action, I need something where the rhythm of the music reflects the rhythm of the words, line by line, so that tends to be metal, where during more intimate, personal scenes, I like to listen to ambient music.

Bracken MacLeod is the Bram Stoker and Shirley Jackson Award nominated author of the novels Mountain Home, Come to Dust, Stranded, and Closing Costs, coming from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. He’s also published two collections of short fiction, 13 Views of the Suicide Woods and White Knight and Other Pawns. Before devoting himself to full time writing, he worked as a civil and criminal litigator, a university philosophy instructor, and a martial arts teacher. He lives outside of Boston with his wife and son, where he is at work on his next novel.

Quick Questions with Isabel Yap

We’re twiddling our thumbs impatiently for our next event… in the meantime, more tiny interviews with our upcoming authors!

Isabel Yap is the author of short stories that have appeared in Tor.com, Strange Horizons and Year’s Best Weird Fiction. “Windrose in Scarlet” is in the current issue of Lightspeed Magazine, and will be online on 10/17!

Come see Isabel on October 24th at Trident Books! RSVP here.

Tell us about your latest release in five words or fewer, or in one image/gif.

I’ll use five emojis: 🐺👭🏰🧚‍♀️🌲

What book do you wish more people knew about?

All the Fabulous Beasts by Priya Sharma. It won the Shirley Jackson Award for Best Single-Author Collection this year, but I haven’t heard it talked about too much despite that. Priya’s an excellent, eerie writer–her stories have a visceral quality to them, while also being dreamlike and authentic. She has a knack for unexpected twists.

Also, The Vintner’s Luck by Elizabeth Knox. It was originally published in 1998, but I only found out about it a few years ago. I was living in London then; Elizabeth came by as part of a writing festival, so I picked it up on my way to a workshop session she was hosting (I bought a ticket on the recommendation of a Twitter friend). It’s an astonishing book, beautifully written and structured, and the central relationship in it is heartbreaking, flawed, and believable.

What was the first story you ever wrote?

I’m not sure if it was the first, but I’ll embarrassingly admit that I distinctly remember creating a text file with the title “The Day I Got My Period.” I was reading Judy Blume at the time, I guess? And Paula Danziger, and Ann M. Martin. It seemed to me, as a seven-year-old, the capital-t Thing to write about. I didn’t get past page one: in which the heroine woke up, ate breakfast, and boarded the car that would take her to school. I think I either bored or disgusted myself after a while, trying to write it. I do sometimes wish I still had access to my old first or second grade “stories,” if only to try and understand what was going on in my pre-pubescent brain.

Isabel Yap writes fiction and poetry, works in the tech industry, and drinks tea. Born and raised in Manila, she has also lived in California and London. She is currently completing her MBA at Harvard Business School. In 2013 she attended the Clarion Writers Workshop, and since 2016 she has served as the Clarion foundation secretary. Her work has appeared in venues including Tor.com, Strange Horizons, and Year’s Best Weird Fiction. She is @visyap on Twitter.