1. Tell us about your most recent project (written or published). What inspired it?
It’s not published as yet, but my most recently accepted piece is an as-yet-unnamed (well, to-be-renamed) story that will appear in the upcoming noir-themed anthology from FurPlanet. It was actually my second try on that particular project – I’d started a piece and had a few thousand words down before I realized I had a start, a finish, and no way of connecting them, so I scrapped it. Brandon Sanderson’s podcast “Writing Excuses” helped me get the next one started: it advised that you should feel free to drop a project if it’s not working, and try something new. So I did – kicked around ideas for freshening up the genre and wound up combining noir with dieselpunk for a very cool style. And, as I often do, I had some help from music – in this case, the slightly obscure Canadian band Hemingway Corner. Their song “Annabelle” caught in my head during a lunchtime walk at work and propelled me into creating several characters, some plot points, etc. I love it when that happens.
2. What’s your writing process like? Are you a “pantser,” an outliner, or something in between?
Rarely do I have more than a rough idea of plot points when I sit down to write. I find that to be liberating, actually: it means that the story is written organically, rather than being pushed to this bullet point or that twist. One of my favorite exercises is to write something from random prompts. Occasionally I go to Twitter and ask my followers for three things, which I then write a story around. Two pieces published this year started from those random prompts, so it works well! I’m also often a first-draft writer, which comes from ten years of writing for newspapers on tight deadlines. Larger projects get multiple editing sessions and test reads, of course!
3. What’s your favorite kind of story to write?
The kind that draws me in emotionally – when my characters start “talking” to me about where they should be going and what they should be doing, or when they share their emotions with me. If I make myself tear up, it usually guarantees that story’s going to be excellent.
4. Which character from your work do you most identify with, and why?
Oh boy. Most of my characters have a piece or two of me included in them, but probably the closest would be from some of my earliest works. Back in the Usenet days I started posting stories based around a skunk named Erik and his partner, Colin, a raccoon. Erik’s a journalist, kind of laid back, not super self-confident, not sure about where he fits in life but determined enough to make his way forward with the help of his friends. I think that’s kind of where I’m at.
5. Which authors or books have most influenced your work?
I’ve been reading anything and everything since I was 3 or so, vast amounts of fantasy and SF along with some mainstream fiction, comics, and so forth. Along the way I stumbled across a collection of Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe novels and fell in love with his work – it was one of the first times I realized that a good ending doesn’t necessarily have to be a happy ending. John Varley’s Titan series made that point as well, as did a relatively obscure series of military SF novels by Allan Cole and Chris Bunch (the Sten series – highly recommended).
6. What’s the last book you read that you really loved?
Book is hard to pick, so series: Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory’s Obsidian Trilogy is one of my favorites. I recently reread it because I really enjoy it. Jim Butcher’s Codex Alera series is pretty awesome too.
7. Besides writing, how do you like to spend your free time?
Photography’s a big one; I’m an avid shooter, with a penchant for birds and airplanes among other things. I also play a fair blues guitar and enjoy various video games. Con running is a big part of my free time lately; I’ve been working with VancouFur since it started, and am currently the President of the (soon to be officially registered as a non-profit society) BC Anthropomorphic Events Association.
8. Advice for other writers?
Write. Just write. Don’t have ideas? Ask for a prompt. Writer’s block? Change to something else and start again. Paint pictures with your words, whether they’re a stick figure or a Renoir – because every word painting you produce is valuable in some way, whether it’s just to you or to your readers.
9. Where can readers find your work?
This year, everywhere! I’ve got stories in, or scheduled to be in, The Furry Future, the noir anthology, Heat #12, and the Rainfurrest charity anthology – so far. If that’s not enough, most of my web-posted pieces (which are largely adult-themed, so be advised) over the years are on FurAffinity (tgreyfox) and Sofurry (Tony Greyfox).
10. What’s your favorite thing about the furry fandom?
This fandom is friendly, pretty chill, and allows me to write stories about two-legged animals boinking. What else could you ask for?
Check out Tony Greyfox’s member bio here!