We kick off our series of author interviews for StarkLight Volume 5 with Anthony Stark’s answers to our print interview. Look for the rest of our author interviews coming out throughout April and May for this fifth volume of short stories from StarkLight Press.
Jerome, our StarkLight Short Story Anthology Mascot, presides over our books, and our interview series. Look for a stunning new cover reveal from our plucky and intrepid story gargoyle, coming in May!
Please take a few minutes to include all of your latest author contact information:
I’m not really social media-ing at the present, but you can find creative work on our science fiction platform,
and at my private blog
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you’ve been up to in the past few years.
I’m a former full-time EMR and Coroner’s Service worker who has been taking time out to work with my family. I have a background in Electrical Engineering and literature, and have recently begun studying Global Health and Crisis Management with the University of Glasgow and Johns Hopkins. This is a fascinating and complex field to study, and as horrible as it sounds, it’s very good to learn, from an author’s point of view, how the crisis management deployment tree functions, and has functioned, throughout the 20th and 21st Centuries. I’ve also been doing a fair bit of artwork, having just finished a full-color illustrated heptametric poem called The Lament of the White Star. I am also in process with a Scottish Folk rhyme that I’ve turned into a ballad, The Morphie Kelpy. This is also fully illustrated.
Following the success of our 75th Anniversary Alaska Highway Photo Book, I became inspired to write and illustrate more in tandem; the photos were fun, but I wanted to create my own.
2. Explain for our audience a little bit about the inspiration for your tale, and the themes that inform it.
I was inspired by recent investigations into the paleolithic, following a long-standing, two year study into global human history, its commonalities and its deviations from a lifestyle more in step with our bodies and our evolution, well, away from such things and off in different ways. I also quite like Time Team, and so it became a natural progression in my mind to combine one of StarkLight Press’s most effective precipitating event-makers, Madison, as a way to boost someone who was filming a segment on a show such as this, back into the era they were thinking. It was a good way to put some of the findings into practice, and see how things would have worked out and looked in such a time.
3. What’s your preferred method for writing: computer/smartphone, typewriter, hand, voice transcription? Tell us the most unusual place you ever wrote down part or all of a tale- in the elevator at work, on horseback, in a crowded subway?
I prefer the computer, but also I like handwriting; however, the transcription to computer format for publishing is too time-consuming. The strangest place I wrote part of a tale was in an MTC (Mobile Treatment Center) on a jobsite where they were laying pipeline down a nearly vertical incline. Half the time, as spotter, I had to keep an eye on the drone my company had for the virtual viewing of the crew. This was when they were laying in the pipe sections themselves; had to have a separate set of eyes. The rest of the time, between the crane actually putting in the pipe, the drone was unnecessary. So I worked on a story, part of The Androsian Question, which is a Tales from Space novel. Then, about once an hour for ten or fifteen minutes, I piloted this little quad-copter. Very Galactic Armed Forces. Very nice.
4. Where do you like to go best to recharge your creative batteries?
Nature. Outside, with trees, and ideally some form of water. Mountains are nice. Even a nice tended garden is good; if I’m desperate, I stick my head out the door under the starlight for a few minutes.
5. What, in your opinion is author kryptonite? (antithetical to the creative writing process)
I’d have to say, media- social media like Facebook, and mass-produced fodder. I think that feedback is good, in many respects. I think taking in something with a high-production value is good, to see what people are being taught to think, and how to eat the memetics of common life. However, as far as feedback goes, there’s a difference between a good solid edit of the work for continuity, sense, syntax and grammar, etc, and actual back-seat writing. If you’ve got a good plan, write it. If you don’t, then you can hash it around. This is the point where mass-produced items come into play. People either get so nervous about the ‘it’s been done’ or ‘this is just a mash-up of a) and b)’ that they forget there’s only so many types of stories, and only so many bloody interesting ones. There will be some overlap. Listening to sour grapes, or excited parallel drawing, or worrying about either, is ineffective.
Writing is ultimately an activity between you and your Maker, I think, and it can be glossed up, edited, synced or mashed into something pulpy and acceptish, but first you should write what you really, truly feel, even if it’s utterly reductive, fan-fictioney claptrap. Somewhere along the line you’ll get other people’s big shiny shows out of your head, and see what you were actually saying… and then the writing can begin.
6. What are your three favorite mainstream books, and what are your three favorite indie/independently published works?
I like a lot of non-fiction, but for fiction I like The Lord of the Rings, Anne of Green Gables, and Wodehouse’s Jeeves and Wooster series. I really enjoy the works of Shelley, Chaucer and Auden, as well.
For independent works, I like a lot of the fan works that have been put out in the Tales from Space universe (Jorge Stuart’s expansion of the Ruiz dynasty as President of the Galaxy, for example, and Virginia Carraway Stark’s expansion of the Hoshido era during the First Corporation Wars) , as well as G.W. Renshaw’s works on Veronica, super spy, and I love what I’ve read of Van Fleming’s upcoming series.
7. What is the last movie you saw? Give our authors a brief review.
The last movie I saw was an old Julian Sands flick, RomaSanta. Girl meets wolf- Too bad the Inquisition was there.
8. What are your next big projects, so that our audience can keep an eye out for them.
I’m partway through a backstory to some of the new characters (protagonist and antagonist) in volume 2 of The Irregulars. I mean, really back story. Yet another chance to delve into some ideas and wonderings about the ancient past.
I’m working on a tale of the possible end of the Telamer, the messianic alien race from the eponymously named Telamer system, who kicked out the Maitre alien invasion force in the 21st Century on Old Earth. Can the last of their failing race be saved, or will they die, and leave the Galactic Association of Globes and Asteroids in a chaos of power struggles and decay? Only the intrepid team from Detach Detachment- and their mushroom- can find out what’s the real story.
I’m also working on a story about Nick Goodfrey, and what happened to him after the second alien invasion of the GAGA, which ended the Tales from Space Universe, and scattered protagonists and antagonists alike across time, space and dimensions. Oh, and Universes, also.
There’s also a set of seven full-color picture books about a fantastic set of worlds with their own laws and ways of organizing reality. But that might take a while- illustrating is much more time-consuming than taking a picture and putting it in a layout.