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Member Spotlight: Bill Kieffer

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

The Goat: Building a Perfect Victim is both one of my most recent and my one of my oldest works. I lost the original files during the decade of hiding. Phil Geusz, always a supportive creature, reminded me that there was a copy in the archive of TSA Talk, an email-based group of writers.

I had an online friendship with a Fur I’ll call My Goat as I haven’t gotten his permission to talk about him in relation to this novella. It was quite intimate and heartbreaking as he’d found his true self in Furry Fandom… and there just wasn’t a way to get that in real life. I’d been sorta slumming in Furry before I met him. He was like a stubborn classical Greek Hero. Eventually, he had to give up Furry to build his life back. I was one of the things he had to give up, too.  And I had to let him go. In real life, I could never be the master he needed (besides the
fact that I was in a committed RL relationship). As I started to let him go, I tried to imagine what type of master would make him happy.  Frank was a very wrong answer; but I felt some sympathy for him.

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

I’m a “pantser,” except when I do a mystery or crime story.  I outline mysteries and crimes so I don’t cheat, trying to be witty. Otherwise, I let my characters pull me along. Last fall, I tried writing two pieces for Munchkin’s Fragments of Life’s Heart… both contained a lot more death than I had planned. Seriously, I write the worst love stories.

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

I like writing TF (transformation) stories.  I like exploring form and function. I like writing Metamor Keep stories, even if most of the Keepers think I’m trying to break the MK universe when I do so.

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

Greyflank, from the Tales of the Blind Pig, is a Mary Sue, so he doesn’t count. Wheeler and Clay, from my Metamor Keep stories, are two halves of my soul. Wheeler, the seasoned fighter and former sex slave, represents the part of me that knows what he wants and is looking for. Clay is younger and sheltered, his whole world shattered about him, forced to be the stronger partner. He represents that part of me that only suspects what he wants and how he is to fit that into his life.

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

Piers Anthony. Stephen King. Phil Geusz, Charles Matthias. Alan Dean Foster. Richard Matheson. Alan Moore. I don’t think I write like any of them; but I know I stole some good moves from each of them. From Anthony, I learned sex and attraction needs no moral compass. Actions will tell. From King, I learned the threat of a bludgeoning was more frightening than the bludgeoning itself.  From Geusz and Matthias, I learned how to build serial characters that readers will care for. From Foster, I learned a well-written character can stomp out any plot hole. From Matheson, I learned a living character can explode the slightest story concept into living art. From Moore, I learned to build on the past, twisting it as we go. I also may have picked up a great deal of wordiness from Moore, too.

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

Mindtouch by M.C.A. Hogarth was the last novel to floor me. It put asexual relations in perspective for me and changed my outlook.

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

I like food. I cook, I eat, I stalk the aisles of Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. I’m a tubby pony.

8. Advice for other writers?

Write.  Write about people. Don’t write, except for kicks, to please anyone. Be pleased when you do. Don’t feel rejection when you are rejected. 9/10 of this stuff is timing. And you’ll never ever see the clock.

Yes, even if you’re writing about badgers and foxes building a better tomorrow, write about people. Hide a statement in your piece. Make Easter eggs for your readers. Give them something they can claim as their own.

9. Where can readers find your work?

The Goat: Building a Perfect Victim is a naughty m/m novella that will be available this summer or fall from Red Ferret Press. This takes place in my “2×4” universe where a few of my stories take place. If I can remember how to build a website, those other stories will be on Xepher.net in a few months. “Brooklyn Blackie and The Unappetizing Menu” appears in Inhuman Acts from FurPlanet. This takes place in a universe I call Aesop’s Planet.  Except for Captain Carrot fan fiction, this is the only published work in that universe. My Metamor Keep stories can mostly be found at the Metamor Keep Story Archives, although my Ursa Major Award nominated short story “The Good Sport” was recently reprinted in An Anthropomorphic Century, also from FurPlanet.

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

I like how it transforms people. I like how it transformed me. It helped me to accept that I’m bisexual. I like that being a horse gave me a framework to hang my anxieties on. I like, most especially, the acceptance that I receive. It’s not universal, but it’s enough.

Check out Bill Kieffer’s member bio here!

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