Monday, May 2, 2011

Interview: Joshua Reynolds

The Facebook face of Joshua Reynolds...
is he man or beast?
Joshua Reynolds is the author of The Far Deep from Historical Lovecraft. His story can best be summed up as a mixture of John of Austria dancing, a knight and his man-at-arms fighting Turks and undersea monstrosities, and witty dialogue. If your first thought upon reading that was that you should go read the story, you'd be correct. If your second thought was that Joshua Reynolds would give a completely dry and serious interview, you would, alas, be wrong.

1. What should readers think when they hear Joshua Reynolds? Why should they sprint to the nearest bookstore/online bookseller/ezine and read everything you've written?

Ideally they should think ‘Hey, I ought to buy that!’, but since that’s not likely I’ll simply say that I write stories about steampunk cyborgs fighting werewolves on the moon in between blatant Lovecraft pastiches and the occasional heartwarming story about Aztec detectives and Italian spies fighting midget assassins dressed as chimney sweeps.  If any of that sounds good, you’ll enjoy my stuff.  If not, well…buy it anyway.

2. What about Historical Lovecraft intrigued you?

Well, the title for starters…it’s got two words I love to hear attached to anthologies-‘Historical’ and ‘Lovecraft’. And it’s a good fit…Lovecraft was all about the weight of history and ancient evils and centuries old secrets.

Also, people with additional melanin content in their epidermal composition being on his lawn and/or looking at him funny. But let’s just concentrate on the former, shall we?

3.  What's your favorite story in the collection (that is not, to avoid awe inspiring amounts of narcissism and/or nepotism, written by someone in this email conversation)?

It's a toss-up between Nelly Geraldine Garcia-Rosas' "Ahuizotl" and Aaron Polson's "Ngiri's Catch". 

4.. How did you choose the Battle of Lepanto? Is it something you've always known about, or did you research it for the story?

Both, actually! I’m a sucker for history, especially as it relates to the Mediterranean, and Lepanto was a focal point of several books I was reading at the time. It was one of the largest naval battles in history with a cast of characters that would make Joe Abercrombie and George R. R. Martin weep with envy. It had pirates, zealots, knights, pirates, cannons, pirates and pirates. 

Did I mention the pirates?

5. How important was historical accuracy to you when writing?

It ranges from ‘Very’ to ‘Historical what now?’ depending on the story. Honestly, I’ve come to believe that the concept of historical accuracy is, at best, wishful thinking. Every time we learn something new about the past, it changes what is considered ‘accurate’. Basically, as long as you’ve got the big generalities right, there’s little reason to sweat the small stuff.

6. What're your general writing process?

First, I turn on the computer. Then I stare at it blankly for ten minutes or so. Then I start writing. That’s it really…it’d be nice to have a process, but really, I just write until the story is finished. Then I move on to the next story.

7. Do you have anything coming up to keep an eye out for?

Well, if you really want to know…besides a number of short stories appearing in various anthologies and magazines, I’ve got two books coming out later this year. The first, from Airship 27/Cornerstone Books is called THE MARK OF TERROR and features Jim Anthony, Super-Detective, an old public domain pulp character, going up against a cult of killers who worship the ancient Greek god of terror. The second, from Pulpwork Press, is called DRACULA UNBOUND!-it’s a sequel to my novel DRACULA LIVES!, released in October of last year.

Oh, and in 2012, the Black Library will release KNIGHTS OF THE BLAZING SUN, my first (and hopefully not the last) tie-in novel for that company. 

8. What's your dream publication?

My dreams are crass, mercenary things so I’m going to say one that pays me more money than is entirely ethical in today’s economy.

Seriously, I want to roll naked in a pile of cash. Any publisher that can make that happen is the corporate entity of my small, sad dreams.

9. What's your advice to someone trying to publish short stories?

Ha! First, find someone both smarter and more successful to ask that question of. Second, it’s dead easy to get published…just write and submit. Repeat ad infinitum, ad nauseum. Third, when an editor asks for changes, don’t argue, especially if there’s a paycheck in it.

Really, just write. And write. And write. Keep writing until you sell something, and then write some more. Write what you want to read, and what you hate to read and what editors ask for and what seems to be the current ‘thing’. It all works, as long as you write and submit.

10. Favorite Lovecraft tales?

“Pickman’s Model” is the big one. I also like “The Dunwich Horror” and “At the Mountains of Madness”. Oh, and “The Hound”. Flying bat-dog-zombie-sorcerers are awesome!

11. Let’s say you meet someone who’s never read horror, but is curious about the genre. If you had three books to try and convert them, what would you give them?

Ooh, tough one. Lessee…THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE, by Shirley Jackson. THE GRIN OF THE DARK, by Ramsey Campbell.  Aaaaand THE RED TREE, by Caitlin Kiernan. If I had four I’d toss in something by Guy N. Smith just for contrast.

12. Any final words?

I was once bitten by a camel. It’s an experience that still haunts me to this day. 

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