1. Tell us about your most recent project (written or published). What inspired it?
I just finished final edits on “Unfading”, which will be in Heat issue 12 coming out at Anthrocon in early July. It’s about a wolf who discovers she’s a different creature on the inside, and begins an arduous physical and mental transition to becoming who she feels — or rather knows — she really is.
While imagining we’re something or someone else is part of every furry’s life in a way, the idea first grew out a private joke I had with myself in which I’d mulled over changing my fursona. I figured rather than just pick another species and twiddle with my name I’d actually get pretend plastic surgery, do an in-between icon that was just a head wrapped in bandages, and tweet in mumbles for a week. While that never happened, I did wonder about the kind of calamity one would have to go through changing species, the surgical stuff, the hormones, the diet. This then elevated to matters of the heart and mind, how one would evolve in the process of adapting to their new selves, how their family would react and how the outer world would see them in their struggle.
The story just evolved from there into a metaphorical look at the plight of transgendered individuals, dealing with obstacles most of us will never face, namely a world that actively resists the person who they know they are. In exploring some of these questions, I found “Unfading” a very satisfying story to write.
2. What’s your writing process like? Are you a “pantser,” an outliner, or something in between?
Something in between. I do like general outlines to give me a sense of direction, but halfway through writing I’ll break away from them as often as I’ll stay the course. Whatever keeps me going without stopping.
3. What’s your favorite kind of story to write?
I try switching it up as often as I can because I get bored of trying the same things. I really love sci-fi and horror as genres, but have messed around with fantasy, mystery and a little bit of satire. The last one is the hardest to do I think.
4. Which character from your work do you most identify with, and why?
I’d have trouble picking just one character, as I try to identify in some way with everybody who gets a voice, the villainous jerks no less than the heroes or every-furs. I find right now it’s a tie between Amar from the story above, who represents the need in all of us to be the person we know we can be and a character from an upcoming tale named Earlan, an eager, enthusiastic explorer in a novella-length piece set to come out in an anthology later this year. He’s seeking to understand his place in the universe and test the boundaries he feels foisted upon him. Can’t say much about that story yet.
5. Which authors or books have most influenced your work?
There are too many to count, really. When I was younger I devoured Stephen King as a horror buff, fantasies and sci-fi’s by Larry Niven, David Gerrold, Arthur C. Clarke, Allan Dean Foster (who introduced to me literary furry with Spellsinger), read classic fantasy from the Narnia novels of C.S. Lewis to the Homeric myths, snacked on Hardy boys, Sherlock Holmes, Phillip Marlowe mysteries and Star Trek novels. Lately I’ve been going to the well of classic twentieth-century authors to learn their tricks and get the feel for different eras. I try really hard to learn little bits reading everything, fiction or fact, in and out of this fandom.
6. What’s the last book you read that you really loved?
I just finished a non-furry classic book with an unintentionally furry name, Rabbit Run by John Updike, another famous author whose work I have just gotten around to. It’s a testament to his prowess as a writer that he can thoroughly engage you with a main character who is an insufferable bastard on so many levels. I wish I could write with such skill, compelling readers to take interest in characters and situations who we can barely stand or see ourselves identifying with, but stick with because their experiences are made so compelling.
7. Besides writing, how do you like to spend your free time?
I love writing as a form of recreation itself, but I also collect records and movies, watching films at the drive-in where I grew up and visiting the gym often for runs or weightlifting. More than anything though, I love reading. I shrivel and die if I go too long without a good book.
8. Advice for other writers?
Don’t be afraid to fail. Be terrified to discover you never tried. Also, listen to your beta readers. The worst thing they can give you is exactly what you want — cold hard honesty. Criticism from betas and your editors will toughen you up for when people are paying for your work and have every obligation to point out where a story is weak, so cherish that.
9. Where can readers find your work?
I’ve got stories in Heat issues 11 and 12, Trick or Treat Volume 2, Roar Volume 6 and Fang Volume 6 (all of which should be out by Anthrocon in July). There are several more anthologies coming out in the next year or so that I will also be featured in but dates aren’t set.
10. What’s your favorite thing about the furry fandom?
It’s a hub of pure creativity with no discernible limits or end game, a place for really friendly people who I keep getting to meet and a great way to get in touch with the ‘other’ inside one’s self. There’s something about being furry that can make us warmer, more open, accepting human beings, and I love that about it.
Check out Slip-Wolf’s member bio here!