Bards & Sages

Since Jeff Chapman, Simon Kewin, and I have stories appearing in the next issue of Bards & Sages Quarterly, we thought we'd try something fun and interview each other, then post the answers on each of our blogs.

Question #1:  How would you describe your story in one sentence?

Jeff:  Let the dead die. (Story title: "The Facts in the Case of M. Hussman")

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. (Story title: "Threads")

Milo:  It's a weird western, and there's some time travel involved. (Story title: "Sins of the Father")

Question #2:  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."

Question #3:  Are you a bard or a sage?

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.

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?

Question #4:  Anything else you'd like to add?

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.

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.
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