Continuing in our series of contributing author interviews to Martinus Publishing anthologies, today, I'm interviewing Gerald Costlow, an exceptional author who contributed three short stories to "Quests, Curses, & Vengeance." Thank you for taking the time to be interviewed, Mr. Costlow.
MTI: Starting off, could you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?
MTI: Let’s get down to business. What first compelled you to weave fiction, and what's your favorite type of story to write?
GC: Oh, I grew up with a love of reading. While the other kids were playing ball, I would be lying under a tree fighting pirates, encountering aliens, and exploring strange new worlds. Eventually I became determined to give other people the same pleasure other writers had given me. My favorite type of story to write is my favorite type to read, of course. I like characters that come to life, that have a few flaws and have to face and overcome something extraordinary in their lives. Beyond that, they can be horror, romance, comedy, or a mixture of all three. I don’t limit myself to one genre.
MTI: Tell me, if you had to pick just one author who has influenced or inspired you, who would it be?
GC: Oh my, there are so many. Growing up, I was influenced by the great speculative short story fiction writers like Ray Bradbury rather than the massive trilogy type authors like Tolkien.
MTI: Your stories, Hooked on Questing, Family Curse, and Digging up the Past all appears in Quests, Curses, & Vengeance, an eclectic collection of stories ranging from high fantasy to imaginative sci-fi adventures and even supernatural horror. You had the opportunity to read many of these stories in their original, rough draft form. If you could, point out a few of your favorites.
GC: That’s a toughie, because all the stories bring a fresh, unique voice to the mix. I’d say the ones that stuck in my mind are Odin’s Spear by Susan Royal, Wipeout by A. C. Hall, and Revenge, Inc. by Nye Hardy.
MTI: Shifting back to your own writing, can you tell us a little about what you're working on right now?
GC: I am working on the next volume in a supernatural romance series being published by Rebecca Victory Press, set in Appalachia in the 1920s. On top of that, someone persuaded me to write a western novel of all things. And that’s on top of whatever short stories pop into my head and end up in anthologies here and there.
MTI: Of everything you’ve written thus far, do you happen to have a “favorite” piece of fiction?
GC: Whatever I’m currently writing or just had published is my favorite. My story in this anthology, “Hooked on Questing” is one of my current favorites, to the point I’ve already mapped out the further adventures of Bertram, wizard for hire.
MTI: That’s good to hear, really. Bertram is an intriguing character.
Other than your three pieces appearing in Quests, Curses, & Vengeance, do you have any other stories being published in the near future?
GC: The second novel in the Appalachia Romance series, titled “Hillbilly Deputy” should be ready for the editor by the end of the summer.
MTI: On a lighter note, have you watched any good tv lately?
GC: I’m a huge fan of The Big Bang Theory, and I’ve caught most of the BBC Sherlock in the 21st century series.
MTI: Yes, Sherlock is really a great modern adaptation. What sort of music do you like?
GC: Classic rock, soul, and country. The music I grew up with.
MTI: And if you would, name three movies that you could watch over and over again and not be bored?
GC: The Incredibles, Monster’s Inc, and WALL-E. Spot a pattern?
MTI: You’ve got the attention of potential readers. Is there anything you’d like to say to them, perhaps something to pique their interest in your work?
GC: My stories are about people with problems. The people might be in the form of wizards, mummies, or even dragons, but they’re characters you can identify with and care about. The rest... every story I write should contain at least one surprise.
MTI: As we wrap up this interview, do you happen to have a short sample for our readers? Nothing too long, but maybe a few fresh paragraphs?
GC: How about the introduction to the main character of my story, “Hooked on Questing”?
The wizard Bertram heard the howls of the werewolf pack coming closer as he limped into the dark alley. The beasts couldn’t be more than a block away. That doppelganger he’d conjured and sent running in the other direction hadn’t fooled them at all, not with the lingering trail of blood from his chewed-up leg for them to track. He figured the alpha leader would be on him in less than a minute and he was too exhausted to win another battle.
A minute was all he needed -- that and a doorway. Even a brick wall would do in a pinch. He thrust his staff out. “Sanctuary!” he intoned. The wall before him shimmered and a solid wooden door appeared, light and sound spilling out around the edges. Bertram grabbed the latch, yanked the door open, and stepped through just as a snarling, furry demon bounded into the alley.
The noisy tavern fell silent as Bertram slammed the door shut behind him and limped into the extra-dimensional tavern called Sanctuary, using his wizard’s staff as a cane to spare his injured leg. He ignored the curious faces and made straight for his reserved corner booth, sighing with relief as he slid onto the cool vinyl padding. His leg throbbed even with his weight off it and he checked the bandage under his torn trousers. There was fresh blood seeping through so his healing spells weren’t up to the task. No surprise there. A werewolf bite is resistant to ordinary magic.
MTI: Excellent stuff! Thank you for a great interview. I look forward to reading more of your work in the future. Those who want to check out your stories can pick up a copy of Quests, Curses, & Vengeance.