1. Tell us about your most recent project (written or published). What inspired it?
My most recent published story was “Da Capo al Fine” in the latest issue of Heat. It is from my Hotel at the End of the Road setting, a distant future where humanity have created artificial lifeforms called “metas” that live for only three years but can pass their memories on from generation to generation. When I wrote my first story in this setting, I created a lot of rules to make the story work, not really thinking too hard about the greater implications of each rule. Later, I found myself going back to those rules and wondering if they could be broken, or what would happen when they did. One such rule said that metas could not just copy their memories into a near identical body in order to preserve their identity. “Da Capo al Fine” was inspired by wondering how I could break this rule. So I had to figure out both why the rule would be broken (the main character is a famous meta actress, and the Hotel wants her fame to continue past one three-year lifespan) and what impact breaking this rule would have (she begins to have trouble distinguishing between the present and her memories).
2. What’s your writing process like? Are you a “pantser,” an outliner, or something in between?
I’ve done both ways. It really depends on the story. “Da Capo al Fine” was pantsed, because I wanted to really be in the moment with my protagonist, seeing what she saw and letting her attention drift into her memories in an organic way. “The Moment at Eternity”, my first published story, had to be carefully outlined, because it jumped between three different timelines, and I needed to be sure that the order of the scenes made sense.
3. What’s your favorite kind of story to write?
Cerebral, “what if” sci-fi.
4. Which character from your work do you most identify with, and why?
Laika. She was originally created for a bit part in the story “Unnecessary Monsters”, but she burst into the plot and made it all about her. She’s a cruel, conniving, sadistic monster who knows that if she stops being a monster, even for a moment, it could destroy her family and everything she loves. I don’t identify with her because I am similar to her, but I understand where she is coming from and why she does what she does far better than any other of my characters.
After all the crap I’ve put her through, I really just want to give her a hug.
5. Which authors or books have most influenced your work?
Within the fandom, Nathan Cowan was a big influence on my writing. His Foxforce novels directly inspired my Hotel at the End of the Road stories, and it was seeing him get published in Will of the Alpha that convinced me to send “The Moment at Eternity” to Sofawolf. I’d also point to Gene Breshears and M.C.A. Hogarth.
Outside the fandom…wow that’s hard to say. I read a bunch of sci-fi and fantasy novels as a teen that have kept my imagination churning ever since. Books like Foundation, Fahrenheit 451, The Dispossessed, and Redwall.
6. What’s the last book you read that you really loved?
7. Besides writing, how do you like to spend your free time?
Recently, I have been trying to increase my appreciation of fine dining. I could probably survive on frozen pizza every night if I had to, but I’ve been pushing myself to try new things, explore new cuisines, and take a walk on the wild side of food.
8. Advice for other writers?
Hah, that’s a dangerous question to ask an editor. I’ll stick to a few short points that I think would help a lot of stories I see in the slushpile.
Know what your story’s conflict is, and make sure the reader knows what your story’s conflict is on the very first page.
Even in a short story, let the protagonist develop. If they aren’t affected or changed by the events of the story, I’ll wonder why I wasn’t reading a story about someone who was.
If you are going to bring up religion or politics, be respectful.
9. Where can readers find your work?
On my FA page at www.furaffinity.net/user/darkend, in Hot Dish volume 1, Heat volumes 10 and 11, all by Sofawolf Press.
10. What’s your favorite thing about the furry fandom?
The creativity. There are so many unique worlds that furries have developed. Sometimes these are just small variants of established settings , but sometimes they are brand new ideas, taking a look at how our world would be different if different species (or many species) roamed the planet.
Check out Dark End’s member bio here!