Greetings from the Ether,
With the upcoming release of Hinnom Magazine Issue 005, we wanted to take a moment to spotlight some of the authors involved in the project. S. L. Edwards’ tale “We Will Take Half” is a weird, haunting tale that is akin to classic supernatural horror. Join us as we dive into his inspirations for the story, and what the future has in store for the emerging author.
CP: Can you tell us a little about yourself? How you came to write horror?
SL: I grew up in a house with a lot of Stephen King. My mom was a huge fan of horror, and I think books and movies that I wasn’t supposed to see and read got their hooks in me. From Goosebumps onwards I was writing scary things.
CP: “We Will Take Half” is an interesting weird tale akin to Lovecraft and Machen. What inspired the story? How did it come to fruition?
SL: Good question! The first drafts of “We Will Take Half,” were written in my junior/senior year of college. I hadn’t read any Machen at that point, but I think bits of Robert E. Howard and Machen overlap. Maybe there’s some influence there. I had read all of Lovecraft at that point.
But it was my first serious effort to get a story published. A magazine which has long shuttered its doors was opening them for a fairy tales issue. A good friend of mine pointed me in the direction of the changeling myth, and with my background in political science I was drawn to incorporate the things I was studying at the time, namely guerrilla warfare in Cuba.
Since then it’s undergone rewriting and re-drafting. But at its core it remains a cautionary fable.
CP: This past year has been very kind to you, your stories appearing in numerous publications. Where do you hope writing takes you? What goals do you hope to achieve?
SL: I already have everything I’ve ever wanted. I’d love to get a short story collection out, primarily because there are a lot of people to thank. From family and friends who always listen to my rambling story ideas, fellow writers who egg me onward and artists. I owe a lot to a lot of people, and I’d love something of mine to give them.
As for the sorts of goals I want to meet: I want to make stories that will leave people feeling raw and emotional. I want to make characters that they care about with losses that feel like their own. I’ve got a few reoccurring characters, namely the Bartred family (they show up in the pages of Occult Detective Quarterly) but also a series of connected Weird Westerns I need to find a home for. I hope those stories can scratch that itch.
CP: Do you have any forthcoming releases we can look forward to? What does the future have in store for S. L. Edwards?
SL: By the time this interview comes out, Chthonic should be out from Martian Migraine Press. I’m very proud of my story in that volume, “Volver Al Monte.” But, I’m also quite anxious to hear what people think. I can also reveal that pending a successful Kickstarter, my story “Office Hours and After,” will be included in It Came from Miskatonic University! from Broken Eye Books. It’s also always fun to see my poetry out there in the wild, and I have a long poem called “This Hungry Earth” forthcoming in Weirdbook #38.
That’s all the short-term stuff. I’m hoping I can write more stories about the Bartred family and can find a home for these Weird Western characters. Beyond that, who knows?
CP: What has been your favorite moment so far, as a writer?
SL: Oh man! There’s nothing quite like seeing Borkchito rendered by the incomparable Yves Tourigny. Seeing his first drawing, realizing that he was serious about it . . . that was something. Beyond that, it’s very hard for me to pin down one moment. I like acceptances, as I’m sure most writers do.
I’ll give you this answer: I’m living in it. For all the ills of social media, it has allowed me to forge friendships with talented writers and artists who I would otherwise never be able to interact with. To namedrop a few off the top of my head: Jordan Kurella, S. P. Miskowski, Russell Smeaton, John Linwood Grant, John Paul Fitch, Sean M. Thompson and my friends KA Opperman and Ashley Dioses. I’m sure I’m leaving folks out, but the point is that my favorite part of being a writer is interacting with my peers.
CP: What writer do you find the most inspiring, living or dead? Why?
SL: Osip Mandelstam. Mandelstam was writing poetry and fiction at the height of Stalin’s power in the Soviet Union and had the audacity to condemn him in “The Stalin Epigram.” The poem very likely got him killed. To me, that’s about the bravest thing a creator can do.
CP: We always like to end our interviews with a little tidbit of advice for up-and-coming writers, as most of our readers are writers themselves. What’s the best advice you could give to someone new to the craft?
SL: (1) Go outside! It’s a beautiful day and you could use the exercise!
(2) You’re going to get a lot of rejections. That’s just part of the math. Develop a thick skin and let the rejections roll off you like water. Now if you keep getting them, that’s normal. Be critical of your work, but not to the point that you become paralyzed.
(3) I can’t stress this enough: be friendly. This is applicable in every job, writing is no different. If you are just starting out you cannot afford to be a jerk. It’s a good idea to really think about how you are approaching your peers. Ultimately, your peers will be your best friends and biggest advocates. Take every opportunity to lift them up, because you’re all in this together.
S. L. Edwards is an author specializing in Weird Fiction and poetry. His works have appeared in Weirdbook, Ravenwood Quarterly, Turn to Ash and other Magazines. He has stories forthcoming in anthologies from Martian Migraine Press, Broken Eye Books and others. With artist Yves Tourigny he is the co-creator of the webcoming “Borkchito: Occult Doggo Detective.”
Find his blog and Amazon author page below: