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Member Spotlight: T. S. McNally

1. Tell us about your most recent project (written or published). What inspired it?

By the time this is released, the most recent published work will be “Vermin’s Vice”, a short story in the anthology Inhuman Acts: A Collection of Furry Noir, released at Rainfurrest this year.

I’ve always felt that noir is supposed to show the shadows of life to the reader, and I’ve also felt that a lot of times those that put up a show of prosperity tend to use those material things to either hide or distract themselves from the fact that we are, at heart, animals.

So my wish was to show that the seedy elements of society, while seedy, are probably just more honest than those we consider more wholesome, who tend to see external expressions of base desires as undesirable. But in the end, those desires are still there, waiting to be unlocked.

Also having a hand in part of the main anthology’s final name was pretty cool. It was a challenge to think of a word that would project something furry, while sounding more grim and not so fluffy. I only got half of the final answer as my suggestion for the title was “Inhuman Avenue” based on other noir titles with street names. I do like the current title better, both the word inhuman and acts hold double meanings. Basically it could be read as “Furry (inhuman) Stories (acts)”, but it has that dark edge to it.

2. What’s your writing process like? Are you a “pantser,” an outliner, or something in between?

Oddly I’ve done both from time to time. However, the thing that seems to be consistent with me is that I know how I am going to start a story, and the ending I want to see happen. Usually those details are outlined. It is the in-between parts that are more fluid.

I may outline scene orders, but not too much more than that.

3. What’s your favorite kind of story to write?

The genre I seem to write the most is Action/Adventure type. I’ve been bleeding into narrative based social commentary here and there. Usually the later ends up better when an event triggers the need for it.

For instance, Travis McCuddy’s suicide inspired, I feel, one of my better of these types: “Passing with Failure”. In it a computer reinterprets the Turing Test in a most disturbing way based on how the life story surrounding Mr. Turing himself. As a warning though, it’s not a furry piece.

It is tough to write good social commentary pieces without being too preachy, and when it happens it can be quite stirring. So I consider doing them when I feel like particularly challenging myself.

4. Which character from your work do you most identify with, and why?

I don’t quite identify with any in particular. Usually most characters I create are exaggerations of particular characteristics that I am capable of. All in all though, I tend to be a bit boring, as watching a man type on a screen doesn’t make for entertaining narrative in its own right.

Unless you have a psycho fan holding you captive and pressuring you to via Misery of course.

5. Which authors or books have most influenced your work?

Stories happen all around, and I feel it’s important not to try and get too caught up with trying to emulate specific items. However, we were all young once and for some odd reason I was a Sonic fan. I liked the Saturday AM arc in particular and I created fan fiction based on it, so I think the late Ben Hurst could be seen as a major influence.

Exaggerated and colorful character development I always feels are great ways to hold stories together, and that is something those old Sonic cartoons did very well (barring the throw away half-episodes). It also holds true to many furry fiction, and the creatures we use help solidify this. It is also why I am stronger at character development than at setting development.

6. What’s the last book you read that you really loved?

In a recent podcast of Fangs and Fonts I noted that I haven’t been a reader of books as much as I should be. I read articles, blogs, and such, but fictional novels have been few and far between. I also have a tendency of to not gush too much over things and works an always looking with a bit of a critical eye toward them. I find that’s what makes me more creator than consumer.

I do have one thing going for me, and that’s retention. I can remember details about things long after they have passed.

That being said the last story I loved that I read was Fredrick Douglas’s autobiography An American Slave as Written by Himself. My favorite thing about this story was how you could see he had to hold back a raging peeve he had that occurred throughout his life when the institutions of Christianity were used to preach the justification of slavery. The bittered passion Douglas felt over this, you could feel rising up, but him having to hold it back to keep himself distracting from the narrative. You come to find the reason he felt so strongly over that is, as a man of God himself, it tore him up to see the very beauty of his religion being used as a tool to cage black people.

At the end he added an epilogue where he finally lets all that emotion go.

I feel those furs within the minority who identify as Christian (or gays who do so as well) will find echoes of themselves in there. It’s amazing that as much as things seem to change, how constant certain things really are. And thus, the story, while over 100 years old, is still very relevant to this day.

7. Besides writing, how do you like to spend your free time?

If I really have not much else to do, I will read some news articles here and there. I don’t game as much as I used to, I seem to find that my job keeps my mind stimulated and engaged to the point where I don’t feel I need to escape to feel influential or important as I one did. I’m in a rare position of feeling empowered and essential in my workplace, and ironically I’m applying many lessons I learned in my virtual tenures of leadership to my real world ones.

Other than that I’m also working on non-fiction items. There are the Flayrah articles, but that’s technically technical writing. However I also want to share some of the lessons and problems I’ve solved in my spare times that I feel will help individuals and society as a whole. I plan on calling it “The World in Rooview”. The pilot will be about sometime in the future, or it could be one of those projects I start and never fulfill.

8. Advice for other writers?

If there is a universal trait about humanity it is this: We are a creature of narrative. All conflict can be drawn to simply a competing of narrative. We all want to write our own stories and have endings we want to see.

Conflict or “drama” is what arises when two endings cannot exist in the same narrative desires of two groups/individuals.

9. Where can readers find your work?

I have a Goodreads profile here: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8578080.T_S_McNally

I have free stuff up on SoFurry here: https://www.sofurry.com/browse/user/stories?uid=164657

I would advise against buying my novel of Light right now. I plan on releasing a new version with “bug fixes” later in the year and will be doing a promotion at that time.

10. What’s your favorite thing about the furry fandom?

Above all else, our perseverance. We deal with a lot of garbage from others in this world. And when Nuka released his statistics on furries and their history with bullying, it shows we seem to have always had to in some shape or form.
Many have taken this bitterness of others and allow it to fester within them, consuming them to the point where they themselves become bitter. Many have done so, and continue to do so. As we hear stories about needless violence, death threats from the shadows, we see the negative sides of anonymity.
However, in opposition to that stands this fandom, ones who use anonymity not to spread fear, anger, or disgust. Instead we try to spread happiness, joy, and creativity.
My hope, if anything, is that is a foundation that will not change.

 

Check out T. S. McNally’s member bio here!

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