Chris Musgrave joins StarkLight Press from the U.K, where his wry wit and skilled pen combine to make excellent fiction. His prompts for Shamrocks, Saints and Standing Stones were 1940s, Las Vegas, and a Magic Doorway. His gripping story, Pest Control, is excerpted here:
‘Why don’t you tell me why I’m here, Mr Powers. How can I be of service to you this evening?’
‘Well, Mr St.–‘ I give him a look. ‘Paddy, we’ve got a little…’ He waves a hand in tight circles, searching for the right word. ‘…Pest problem and I’m told you’re the man who knows how to deal with it. Quietly.’
I lean in closer and lower my voice. ‘What kind of pest?’ I ask. ‘Ogre under your covered bridge? They’re a troublesome bunch o’ buggers them, but mostly harmless. Bean sidhe hogging the cabaret stage?’
‘Dragons. We have dragons.’
You can read all about how Mr. Powers deals with his supernatural infestation in StarkLight’s St. Patrick’s Day anthology, due for release March 10! Until then, you can learn a bit more about this tale’s author:
Chris Musgrave has always enjoyed a good story, so much so that he’s spent the last twenty years trying to write one of his own. His passion is for horror but he’s just as content with a good urban fantasy or speculative fiction.
He lives in Yorkshire — a remote area in the north of the United Kingdom known for its tea and strange wildlife — with his wife, his son, and an army of freeloaders which he kindly refers to as ‘characters’.
What’s your most prominent memory of St. Patrick’s Day?
There was this one time when I drank so much that I woke up stark-naked and covered in green-tinted vomit…no wait, that was a Tuesday…Saint Patrick’s Day, you say? Never heard of it.
Name the part of Irish culture you are most happy to lay claim to and why- is it Guinness? Irish music? The Book of Kells? The Fighting Irish?
Very little beats the Irish when it comes to music. Each song, like good fiction, paints an eddying array of pictures in your mind. The same ballad can bring a tear to your eye, pluck at your heartstrings, fire up your patriotism, and have you clutching your sides in laughter.
I was raised on Irish music: traditional and modern. My parents will remind me of the day my brother and I attempted to sing along to The Pogues in the back of the car, and my wife will no doubt remember my late night rendition of Buachaill ón Éirne (the less said about that, the better). It brings me comfort, my little guilty pleasure, and every day it inspires my writing in one form or another.
What are your thoughts on working with this sort of writing exercise, fueled by prompts? How did seeing the prompts of your fellow authors and chatting online together with them about the work affect your process?