Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Five Minutes with CS Fuqua
Today I've got Chris Fuqua, one of the Something Wicked Volume #2 anthology authors stopping by my blog for a little Q&A. Welcome, Chris, and tell us a little about your short story for the anthology.
Demons is a sequel to the story Occasional Demons that featured the phooka starring in Demons. At the end of Occasional Demons, the phooka was left to deteriorate in a cage within a bricked-in, windowless room. And that’s where he stayed for more than 15 years. Then the US invaded Iraq, and troops began returning, suffering PTSD and other mental and physical problems associated with war. I then decided to use the phooka and its situation to explore several issues, from illegitimate war to political and religious hypocrisy, while working within a fragile framework of compassion that even the most wounded and tortured can maintain for others.
What gets you writing? Tell us a little bit more about your approach.
I like to explore deeply personal issues that people face every day, issues that have wider social bearing, where ordinary persons react extraordinarily to triumph over challenges. Of course, triumph isn’t always what it seems and can even appear to be failure. Each story is a journey to find out a little more about what makes humans tick, and sometimes the best way to explore these traits is through surreal beings and settings.
What do you think are particular challenges associated with short stories as a form? As for longer works, do you have anything planned?
The primary challenge for me is finding publishers who are still willing to publish short works. In technical aspects of short story writing, I find the main challenge to be the inclusion of all required information while making characters real without blowing the length out of proportion. With that said, the short story and poem are my favorite forms, always challenging and forever rewarding when the challenge is met successfully. Regarding other projects, I’m working on several now, including a collection of connected stories, a nonfiction book, and a novel, with several other projects roughly outlined.
What's the one short story or novel you keep going back to (we all have them), and what makes it stand out above all the rest?
It would have to be Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. It has everything: satire, comedy, tragedy, science fiction, horror, love, hate... It’s just about perfect in nailing society for what it is and probably always will be. Now...if I could only writing something even half as good...
What scares you?
Willful ignorance and stupidity -- rather, the effects. For example, once upon a not so short time ago, science was considered for what it is, science, an exercise based in empirical fact. Today, at least in the US, thanks to corporations, politicians, and conservative religious groups, science has been cast as a faith-based proposition rather than reality. And because of this at least partially successful attempt to make science something one “believes” or “disbelieves” as though it were a religious myth, we humans choose to deny threats that could ultimately wipe us out. We ignore the evidence day after day -- rising global temperature, melting icecaps, rise in sea level, increased greenhouse gases, mega-storms, and on and on. Science -- empirical facts -- warns us that we’re in danger. And yet, we deny the reality. We choose to be willfully ignorant, willfully foolish, willfully stupid. And that’s extremely scary.
CS Fuqua’s books include Rise Up, Big Daddy’s Gadgets, If I Were... (children’s poems), Alabama Musicians: Musical Heritage from the Heart of Dixie, Trust Walk, The Swing: Poems of Fatherhood, and Notes to My Becca, among others. His work has appeared in publications as diverse as The Christian Science Monitor, Naval History, Main Street Rag, and Year's Best Horror Stories. Please visit http://csfuqua.comxa.com.