Quick Questions with Sonya Taaffe

This Thursday! Come and see C.S.E. Cooney, Nina MacLaughlin, and Sonya Taaffe at Trident books! RSVP here.

Today! Get to know Sonya Taaffe with our quick questions! Sonya’s most recent collection, Forget the Sleepless Shores, was nominated for a Lambda award for Best LGBT Speculative Fiction. Award-winning author Caitlín R. Kiernan calls Sonya “a singular and brilliant voice. . . . she takes my breath away, like a plunge into deep, cold waters.”

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

Water. Time. Queerness. Judaism. Memory.

What book do you wish more people knew about?

Emeric Pressburger’s The Glass Pearls (1966) is one of the most extraordinary Holocaust novels I have ever read. The relatable banality of its post-war-incognito Nazi protagonist is troubling in its own right, but it’s also the delivery mechanism for a hauntological intertwining of personal and historical memory that resembles nothing else I’ve encountered in the field—I know that by temperament and interest I am primed to think of stories in terms of their ghosts, but it’s right there in the novel and its ruthless and uncanny transposition of alternate history à clef that packs even more of a punch now than it did on publication, as living memory has died out to leave only secondhand accounts which can be edited, fictionalized, erased. I discovered it a couple of years ago and it took the top of my head off (review). I love the films Pressburger wrote-directed-produced with Michael Powell, but he should be known as a novelist, too.

What do you like to listen to when you write?

All sorts of different things! I don’t make playlists or use music to set a writing mood, but I do tend to gravitate toward music that in some way reflects the concerns of what I’m writing about, with the result that it often works its way into the story, sometimes textually, sometimes subcutaneously. The two albums most often on repeat during the writing of “The Dybbuk in Love,” for example, were the Klezmatics’ Possessed (1997) and Jill Tracy’s Quintessentially Unreal (1996), both of which are quoted or name-checked in-text. “As the Tide Came Flowing In,” on the other hand, takes its title from the folksong “Jenny Storm,” but I listened to almost nothing but sea chanteys and black metal while writing it and I have no idea if any of the latter will be visible to anyone but me.


Sonya Taaffe reads dead languages and tells living stories. Her short fiction and poetry have been collected most recently in the Lambda-nominated Forget the Sleepless Shores (Lethe Press) and previously in Singing Innocence and ExperiencePostcards from the Province of HyphensA Mayse-Bikhl, and Ghost Signs. She lives with her husband and two cats in Somerville, Massachusetts, where she writes about film for Patreon and remains proud of naming a Kuiper belt object.

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.

errick

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.