Interview with Colin Anders Brodd

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Author of Remember!

Scary Short Story Contest Winner

1) Can you tell us a little about the inspiration behind your entry for this contest?

Well, the primary inspiration for "Remember!" was a story called "The House of Ecstasy" by Ralph Milne Farley from the April 1938 issue of Weird Tales. It was a rare 2nd person narrative. I began to wonder if I could write one. So it was a personal challenge to myself to write a plausibly 2nd person story in my Norse fantasy setting of Midhgardhur (which did not have the advantage of hypnosis, which was the key to Farley's 2nd person story - sort of "This happened to you, but you don't remember, because you've been hypnotized." So I got the inspiration to have something that affected the mind and memory of my 2nd person protagonist (you) in a medieval fantasy world . . . 

2) What made you decide to enter this “Whatever You Do, Don’t Turn Around” contest?

I saw the contest advertised on Goodreads, and I thought, "Oh, I've got a scary story! Just about everyone who had read "Remember!" was creeped out by it. It isn't literally about not turning around, but I thought it fit that theme pretty well figuratively - the protagonist (you) can't remember what's wrong, you try to retrace your steps, but doing that only makes your situation worse . . . and it ends up being kind of circular, ending where it began (sort of), because you got turned around. 

3) Who are some of your favourite authors and why?

I'm a classicist by training, so a lot of my favorite authors are actually ancient Greeks and Romans. But in terms of contemporary-ish writers, a lot of my favorites are old pulp and sword-and-sorcery writers and the early fantasy authors they inspired (H.P. Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard, Fritz Leiber, Michael Moorcock, and Jack Vance come to mind, followed by J.R.R. Tolkien and Ursula K. LeGuin. More recently, Robert Jordan, George R.R. Martin, Patrick Rothfuss, Neil Gaiman, Pierce Brown, and Scott Lynch. These are some of the visionary fantasy and speculative fiction artists I most enjoy reading both to entertain myself and to learn about the craft of writing.

4) What is your favourite book you read this year and why?

I think my favorite book this year has been The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden. It weaves her own story with elements from Slavic mythology and folktale, which is what I try to do with my own work using Norse mythology and folktale. I read it months ago, but I'm still in awe and keep coming back to it. Piece Brown's sci-fi Iron Gold is probably a close second. 

5) What is your best piece of advice for all the new independent authors out there?

My number one piece of advice to aspiring authors is always this: READ.  You can't write if you don't read. Read everything, Read for inspiration. Read research. Read other kinds of stories to see other ways of telling a story. Just read. I saw it put this way recently - reading is inhaling, writing is exhaling, but it's all part of breathing, or at least, what it means to be a living, breathing writer.