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.

October 24, 2019: Errick Nunnally, Bracken Macleod, and Isabel Yap

Errick Nunnally, Bracken Macleod, and Isabel Yap joined us at Trident on October 24th! Check out The Forum Network’s recording below:

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 upcoming ChiZine novel, LIGHTNING WEARS A RED CAPE.

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.

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.

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.

August 1, 2019: K. Chess and Max Gladstone

On August 1, we were at Trident again with the amazing K. Chess and Max Gladstone, and The Forum Network was there to record!

K Chess is the author of FAMOUS MEN WHO NEVER LIVED (Tin House Books, 2019). Her writing has appeared in The Chicago Tribune’s Printer’s Row Journal, PANK, Salon, Tor.com and other outlets. Her short stories have been honored by the Nelson Algren Literary Award and the Pushcart Prize. K earned a BA from Vassar College and an MFA from Southern Illinois University. She was awarded a W.K. Rose Fellowship in the Creative Arts. She reads fiction for Quarterly West and teaches writing at GrubStreet in Boston and Rhode Island.

Max Gladstone has been thrown from a horse in Mongolia and nominated twice for the John W Campbell Best New Writer Award. Tor Books published FOUR ROADS CROSS, the fifth novel in Max’s Craft Sequence (preceded by THREE PARTS DEAD, TWO SERPENTS RISE, FULL FATHOM FIVE, and LAST FIRST SNOW) in July 2016. Max’s game CHOICE OF THE DEATHLESS was nominated for a XYZZY Award, and FULL FATHOM FIVE was nominated for the Lambda Award. His short fiction has appeared on Tor.com and in Uncanny Magazine.  His most recent project is the globetrotting urban fantasy serial BOOKBURNERS, available in ebook and audio from Serial Box, and in print from Saga Press.