I’ve been featuring authors from Running Wild Press’s Anthology of Stories, Volume 2. Today, I’m delighted to welcome Ken MacGregor to my blog. Now, Ken, forgive me, but when one hosts a MacGregor on the FICTION THAT’S PLAID TO THE BONE blog, one decorates:
Okay, that’s better. Sorry, but . . . MacGregor. It needed to be addressed.
Let’s have the first paragraph of your short story, “Like Chocolate,” shall we?
Vera knelt in the cold mud, waiting until she could no longer hear Johnny’s feet crunching through the fallen leaves. Her tongue tingled. A strand of saliva hung from her lower lip, almost to the ground. She worked her mouth until it fell.
Gritty! I love it! What inspired you to write this story?
While researching another story, I came across geophagia (eating dirt), and was fascinated by it. The idea of having a character discover a propensity for it by accident spawned this story.
That is fascinating. What would you like readers to take away from your story?
Hopefully, that, regardless of our circumstances, we’re all basically the same, and that what’s really important is human connection. That, or that dirt might be good to eat.
It would certainly be cheap! How long have you been writing?
Since I could hold a crayon. I’ve been getting paid for it since 2012.
Do you write full-time?
I do not. My other job is bookmobile driver for my local library.
At least you’re around books all day! Do you only write short fiction?
I’ve co-written a novel that will be published serially very soon. The difference between long and short form are fascinating. In my short fiction, I try to engage the reader immediately, and take for a quick, intense roller-coaster ride, leaving them breathless and hungry for more at the end. With a novel, there’s more time to get into the characters and their lives, their dreams, their motivations. There’s time to explore things about the world you just don’t get in the short form. Both are fun and gratifying, but my true love will always be short fiction.
What does your typical “writing day” look like?
I don’t really have one. I write whenever I have downtime: on lunch, on a break, after the kids are asleep, before anyone else gets up, while waiting for my turn at the Secretary of State, in the doctor’s office. I’m either reading a book or writing something whenever I have a spare moment.
Wait, what? What are you doing at the Secretary of State’s office? Hey, maybe you’re so good at short fiction because you’re so short on time!
What are you currently reading?
A novel by Brian Aldiss, a collection of Isaac Babel stories, and a collection ofstories for a publisher (as an editor).
Other than this spectacular anthology, do you have any upcoming releases you’d like to tell us about?
My co-written, debut novel, HEADCASE, will be released late spring/early summer (in installments) from LVP Productions. Once the serials are all out, it will be released as a boxed set, and a limited edition, signed hardcover. This book has been in the works for a few years now, and we (Kerry Lipp, my collaborator, and I) are very excited to see it finally realized.
What advice would you give aspiring authors?
Be patient. This is a long game. You may not have anything see print for a long time. You will get rejections (I’ve had hundreds). You will wait to hear from publishers. Things take time. While you wait, work on the next thing. Also, be nice. Publishers and editors all know one another. If you’re nice, you may not be remembered, but if you’re a jerk, you will be. And they’ll make sure everyone else knows about it, too.
Where can readers learn more about you and your works?
Check out My Interviews for more opening paragraphs from great Running Wild Press authors like Ken MacGregor.