UnCommon Minds Q&A: Michael Fountain

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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 Michael Fountain about Buddy Bolden’s Last Stand.   What attracted you to the UnCommon Minds project? The editors’ call for “magical realism”, where I think I belong, though that might be a brown paper bag for people too embarrassed to ask for fantasy. What was the inspiration for the uncommon mind in your story? Ten years as a psychiatric aide and a love of eccentric history, in this case old New Orleans, when Louis Armstrong was a boy soprano and Stalebread Lacombe was in the streets. Which actor would you like to see playing your main character and why? Keith David, because his voice can slide from humor to menace and back again. A great character actor. What do you think the title of the next UnCommon anthology should be? Uncommon Abilities? Uncommon Animals? Come On, Mon: Uncommon Calypso. What are you working on now? Don’t be shy… I have several unpublished novels in constant revision on the inside of my heart: The Fox’s Daughter, a 90,000-word historical fantasy: an Irish witch and her brothers … Read More

UnCommon Minds Q&A: CB Droege

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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 CB Droege  about Mixers. What was the inspiration for the uncommon mind in your story? Whenever anything bad happens to humans, there are always some who are immune. We’re very resilient animals. If our entire society is disassembled from within our minds, there will be the few who make it out undamaged, whether from planning or by chance, and these will all be thrown together to rebuild, whatever differences they might have had before the disaster. So, I was thinking about the inevitability of continued pressure against artists’ abilities to remix and recreate the art of the past, and where that might lead, and how it might go wrong, and who might be left after. What’s the setting for your story? Our own world. It’s already true that most of the policing of copyright infringement, especially on social media, is performed by algorithms, which are not answerable to humans, as anyone who’s tried to dispute a YouTube copyright violation notice already knows. Even major media creators sometimes have trouble posting their own, legal content … Read More

UnCommon Minds Q&A: Christopher Godsoe

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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 Christopher Godsoe about LEGION Protocol. What was the inspiration for the uncommon mind in your story? I’ve always been fascinated by the concepts of artificial intelligence, mind uploading, and the digitizing of human consciousness. I can’t get too much more into it without giving away the plot of the story, but I think those ideas alone could be fodder for hundreds if not thousands of stories. What are you most proud of about the story? Hopefully, that it makes people think. There’s a twist that happens at one point in the story that is meant to encourage the reader to ask themselves some very difficult questions about themselves, and about the nature of life in general. What uncommon mind would you like to meet and why? There are actually three. Nikola Tesla, Albert Einstein, and Alan Turing. I think that the three of them each understood deeper truths to the nature of our reality, and human mortality robbed us of them having the time to answer more of the “big questions”. A big part of what … Read More

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