UnCommon Minds Q&A: Sara Thompson

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My new story, Sitala, has just been published in the UnCommon Minds anthology. To celebrate, I’m interviewing some of the authors about their stories. Today, I’m talking to Sara Thompson about The Dissertation. What attracted you to the UnCommon Minds project? I had been mulling over a story in my head about a ph.d. student who is writing her paper about a very young and very intelligent serial killer. I was really struggling with how to get the story out on paper as a novel. When I saw a call for submissions to UnCommon Minds, I challenged myself to write this story that was haunting me in a short story format. If nothing else, I would get it on paper and be able to move on with my life. What are you most proud of about the story? This is tough story for me to talk about because I absolutely love it. I’ve put in a few twists and I so desperately want to tell everyone about them but then that would ruin the story. I’m not good with surprises, I pretty much have to do my gift shopping right before the gift giving because it kills me to wait. This made it really … Read More

UnCommon Minds Q&A: Daniel Arthur Smith

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My new story, Sitala, has just been published in the UnCommon Minds anthology. To celebrate, I’m interviewing some of the authors about their stories. Today, I’m talking to Daniel Arthur Smith about The Enemy Beyond the Walls. What attracted you to the UnCommon Minds project? I have long been an avid reader of magical realism and the UnCommon project excels at promoting the genre. What was the inspiration for the uncommon mind in your story? The current dumbing down of our society inspired me to create a world where a child who possesses the knowledge of Trigonometry is unique in her city. What are you most proud of about the story? If I succeeded, the story is an allegory for the dangers of dumbing down and villainizing intellectualism and knowledge experts. If you could merge someone else’s mind with your own, who would you choose and why? My lovely wife as I find grace through her. What uncommon mind would you like to meet and why? I’ve had a recent fascination with Lin Manuel Miranda due to his ability to merge history and allegory into new mediums. What’s the setting for your story? A lone coastal city-state shouldered by the mountains and the … Read More

UnCommon Minds Q&A: J.D. Harpley

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My new story, Sitala, has just been published in the UnCommon Minds anthology. To celebrate, I’m interviewing some of the authors about their stories. Today, I’m talking to J.D. Harpley about Inamorata. What attracted you to the UnCommon Minds project? The anothology hosts are fantastic, as is the UnCommon community, and the stories! It’s a lot to get excited about ^_^ What was the inspiration for the uncommon mind in your story? Partially, the novella I was writing at the time, and partially a really cool album that had just released (Celldweller – End of an Empire) What are you most proud of about the story? One of the underlying themes is about true beauty, what it means to be beautiful, and accepting what you are, as you are. I wish more people could believe that they’re perfect in their imperfections, and that it’s wonderful. If you could merge someone else’s mind with your own, who would you choose and why? I wouldn’t! Upstairs is my personal space, but if I had to pick, probably a stranger from far away who speaks another language, so we could teach each other about our cultures and seamlessly learn another language in an instant. What uncommon … Read More

UnCommon Minds Q&A: Jessica West

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The UnCommon Minds anthology was published today. This “Collection of AIs, Dreamwalkers, and other Psychic Mysteries” features 20 stories by some fantastic writers. And me. I’ve been posting interviews with the authors all week but today I’m talking to the project’s editor, Jessica West.   What attracted you to the UnCommon Minds project? Magical realism plays really well with speculative fiction, my favorite, so I just knew I’d love whatever stories the authors came up with. I grew up reading brief works, first Goosebumps and then Clive Barker’s Books of Blood. I still read mostly short works because I love getting to know new characters and finding out what happens, and I’m not always a patient reader. Most of the time, I want to know now. Collections like these are perfect. I get to blaze a trail through twenty or so stories with each collection. It’s heaven. On top of that, I love meeting new people and reading new authors. The UnCommon projects were just too tempting in every way. What did you enjoy most about the experience of putting the anthology together? For me, it’s the authors themselves. Editing offers you a chance to see someone at play and work simultaneously. … Read More

UnCommon Minds Q&A: Tonya Liburd

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My new story, Sitala, is being released in the UnCommon Minds anthology TOMORROW! To celebrate, I’m interviewing some of the authors about their stories. Today, I’m talking to Tonya Liburd about Through Dreams She Moves   What attracted you to the UnCommon Minds project? I had worked with some of the editors in the Mosaics: Independent Women anthology, and was willing to work with these exciting people yet again. What are you most proud of about the story? The crafting of it word by word. Characterization, etc., I was happy with, but I was most invested in the crafting of the words. Are there any authors that influenced your story or your writing in general? Over at Lackington’s, Vajra Chandrasekera’s On Being Undone by a Light Breeze inspired me to want to write this in 2nd person, but what I ended up doing was a combination of 2nd and 1st person that a writer friend said they couldn’t pull off “in a million years”. Any plans to revisit the world of your story? Yes! In fact this isn’t the first story based in this world; I have The Ace of Knives, published in 2015 in the anthology Postscripts to Darkness, and Shoe Man published last … Read More

UnCommon Minds Q&A: Shebat Legion

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My new story, Sitala, is being released in the UnCommon Minds anthology on 21st January. To celebrate, I’m interviewing some of the authors about their stories. Today, I’m talking to  Shebat Legion about Whatever Lola Wants.   What attracted you to the UnCommon Minds project? I am intrigued by concept and joined the Uncommon project in the second volume, UnCommonOrigins. The acceptance of my story, The Apple also led to a meeting of minds with brilliant authors whose voices set the bar for excellence. What was the inspiration for the uncommon mind in your story? For the story, Whatever Lola Wants, there were two main inspirations. I channelled Edgar Allan Poe, his darkness and meter. Also, I was inspired by how horrifying it can be when a story appears in my mind and I am compelled to write it. It is an unknown source, this so-called Muse. It is controlling and without mercy. It allows for no excuses made, nor does it respect circumstance. A muse is a force and the writer is its slave. What are you most proud of about the story? There are stories that write themselves. There are other stories that fight you; a monster on a hook. I … Read More

UnCommon Minds Q&A: Tausha Johnson

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My new story, Sitala, is being released in the UnCommon Minds anthology on 21st January. To celebrate, I’m interviewing some of the authors about their stories. Today, I’m talking to Tausha Johnson about 11.11   What attracted you to the UnCommon Minds project? Last August I was in at a writers’ workshop in Transylvania, and I happened to meet two amazingly gifted writers whose work appeared in UnCommon Bodies. They brought the book with them to Transylvania and shared it with me and the other writers. I was highly impressed with quality of writing and the design. I thought it was very cool. I didn’t immediately make the connection when I saw the call for UnCommon Minds, but when it hit me this was part of the same series, I knew I wanted to submit and, fingers crossed, be a part of the project. I had the story 11.11 about a psychic medium, so I thought it definitely fit the theme. What was the inspiration for the uncommon mind in your story? A number of factors inspired the uncommon mind in my story 11.11. Believe it or not, the title came first. A few years ago I was visiting family in the … Read More

UnCommon Minds Q&A: Patrick S. Baker

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My new story, Sitala, is being released in the UnCommon Minds anthology on 21st January. To celebrate, I’m interviewing some of the authors about their stories. Today, I’m talking to Patrick S. Baker about Chief Canis and the Helpful Locals   What attracted you to the UnCommon Minds project? I saw the open call on a Facebook group I belong and thought my story would be a good fit. And so it seemed to be. What was the inspiration for the uncommon mind in your story? I watched a TV show about military working dogs; guard dogs, bomb sniffers, etc. and saw the connection between the dogs and their handlers. So I just took that connection to a deeper, more science fiction/fantasy level. Also I’m a US Army veteran and like to write stories that feature veterans and the military. What are you most proud of about the story? How the connection between Canis and Buffy and between the team members came out. I think I gave the story a bit of “We few, we happy few, we band of brothers; For he to-day that sheds his blood with me, Shall be my brother;” Even if the “brother” is a dog. What’s … Read More

UnCommon Minds Q&A: Zen DiPietro

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My new story, Sitala, is being released in the UnCommon Minds anthology on 21st January. To celebrate, I’m interviewing some of the authors about their stories. Today, I’m talking to Zen DiPietro about Subliminal. What was the inspiration for the uncommon mind in your story? I wanted to portray someone who’s had everything about him stripped away, but still knows who he is at his core. Someone who manages to overcome his obstacles to fight for himself. It’s a metaphor for the struggle that we all face in life–the need to persevere and survive, and to use what we’ve learned to make us better. The story is a prologue to Translucid, the first full-length novel in this series. This unseen early event leads to everything else that happens, unbeknownst to the main characters. Because life is like that–a neverending cascade of events that flows from the past to the future. I wanted to show this early event, to highlight one such moment in time that touched off a series of events. What are you most proud of about the story? The structure of the story. There’s a repetitive element and I’d never written anything that unfolded that way. It was risky, and … Read More

UnCommon Minds Q&A: Ashleigh Gauch

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My new story, Sitala, is being released in the UnCommon Minds anthology on 21st January. To celebrate, I’m interviewing some of the authors about their stories. Today, I’m talking to Ashleigh Gauch about In Loving Memory. What attracted you to the UnCommon Minds project? I loved UnCommon Bodies and Origins! Although In Loving Memory was already underway when I found out about the project, reading the open call gave me the courage to turn it into an empathy story rather than sticking to the typical “machines and technology will kill us all” stereotype that dominates the genre right now. What was the inspiration for the uncommon mind in your story? I’d been playing around with the idea of an AI built entirely on human memories and emotions for some time, but Kyrkos herself was actually based on a series of interviews I did with autistic friends. When I learned how they coped with difficulties regarding reading other people and understanding tone, I used the information to help showcase how Kyrkos learned the things Lana didn’t directly teach her. I passed my story over to them before submitting it, and even though the character wasn’t an autistic human, they loved the representation and … Read More