Sunday, October 19, 2014

Author Interview: Ed Ahern

And we're back!  After a two month hiatus, I am pleased to return to the blogging world, and with a new series of author interviews!  The new Martinus Publishing anthology, "To Hell with Dante," was released last week, and to help spread the word about this collection I'll be interviewing many of the authors who contributed to it.  Today I'm interviewing Ed Ahern, the talented author who contributed the story "Arabesque."  Thank you for being here, Ed.

MTI:  Starting off, could you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?

ED AHERN: Asking a septuagenarian to talk about himself is stepping into a pit trap. In brief calendar order I was a university student, naval officer specializing in diving and bomb disarming, newspaper reporter, intelligence officer in Germany and Japan, sales and marketing executive ( for a really long time) and fiction writer. Original wife, two kids, five grand kids.

MTI:  Now, getting down to business; what first compelled you to weave fiction, and what's your favorite type of story to write?

ED: My story ideas are haphazard. Usually genre- fantasy, horror and science fiction, but  I sometimes elevate my game and write modern children's fairy tales and retold folk tales, or degenerate into literary fiction. Short answer: it depends.

MTI:  Tell me, if you had to pick just one author who has influenced or inspired you, who would it be?

ED:  A trick question. I go through reading phases that sometimes last years, and in each phase have a favorite writer. Ditto for each genre. The acid question I guess is which author have I reread the most: J.R.R. Tolkein.

MTI:  Your story, Arabesque, appears in To Hell with Dante.  Tell us a little bit about that.  What's the general idea behind it?

ED:  I write a lot of dark, "Woe is us" stuff" and take mental health breaks by writing humor or children's stories. "Arabesque" is about as light a take as I could think of about death and the hereafter.

MTI:  Does your story hold any special significance, perhaps seeking to provoke some thoughts about the afterlife, or was it just a lot of fun fiction?

ED:  The inner meaning of nonsense like "Arabesque" (if there is one) is that life is inevitable and we shouldn't take it too seriously, it's going to take us in any case.

MTI:  Okay, on a totally unrelated note, if you could meet and talk with any one deceased person, who would it be?

ED:  Another trick question. In this harsh real world, I'd like to talk with the dead guy who hid the money from the Brinks robbery.

MTI:  Shifting back to your writing, can you tell us a little about what you're working on right now?

ED:  Just finished a (hopefully) funny piece about a troll child; starting on an article about salmon fishing in Quebec's Gaspe and a story about getting to have your death notice rewritten..

MTI:  Other than your piece appearing in To Hell with Dante, do you have any other stories being published in the near future?

ED:  Every once in awhile a clutch of my turkey eggs hatch at about the same time, and this is then.
The fairy tale for grandson Rhys went live on Bewildering Stories with a link to the Cast of Wonders podcast of the story. You go boy. "
Pest Hag" "Care and Feeding"
Paranormal Horror II (Amazon) Succubus
Showcase/Rampant Loon (November) "Happily Ever After"
Grey Wolfe Story Book (print, launch Oct 22nd) Puzwuk

MTI:  On a lig
hter note, have you watched any good tv lately?

ED:  My definition of Good TV is gratuitous sex and violence. Thank God for cable.

MTI:  How about music?

ED:  I only listen to classical music, with a focus on Wagner's operas. Rap that sucka.

MTI:  What are your favorite movies?  You know, the ones that never get old.

ED:  Mostly fantasy. I still drop back into Conan the Barbarian so I can study Arnold's acting style.

MTI:  Of course, writers are some of the most voracious readers these days.  Tell me, have you run across any great pieces of literature lately?

ED:  I'm currently over-reading on Elmore Leonard.

MTI:  Yes, my father is a big Elmore Leonard fan!  Now, you have the attention of potential readers.  Do you have any words of wisdom to share with them, or possibly a sales pitch to encourage them to read more of your writing?

ED:  I don't pimp my stuff. If a reader likes my writing he'll read more of it. Having said that, I work at getting the stories reprinted once or twice so they're available from multiple sources.

MTI:  Of course, readers love free samples, so let's give them a taste.  Here are the first few paragraphs of your story, as featured in To Hell with Dante:

Gus retreated into meditation after a bad day of work and another argument with Cynthia.  He ignored the leg cramps his lotus position caused, and cleared his mind of everything except his focal point, a Philips head screw. He exterminated feeling and thought but couldn’t reach a higher state. Frustration began to chew on his tranquility.
            Maybe if I think myself forward in space or time? Or maybe if I visualize myself high above my body, looking down? But as soon as he tried for a spiritual destination his tranquility ruffled like windblown water.
            I need a nonsense thought to restore my oblivion. And from nowhere came a memory of a dance step he’d always thought of as hinky—feet close together, then swing the toes forty five degrees to the side and bring the heels up behind them, while slightly waggling his backside.
            Still kneeling in his lotus position, Gus visualized himself syncopating sideways. Toes and heels, toes and heels, nowhere to go but sideways. Toes and heels...
            And he slipped through a crease in the world.
            Gus snapped into full consciousness, but his body was nowhere to be seen. And  that was weird, because he had no eyes. Literally senseless, he somehow knew that he now looked like a slivered sheet of mica.  What the hell is going on? Where am I, no really, where’s my body? 

Many thanks to Ed Ahern for this interview.  Those who want to read the rest of his story, and many more, can pick up To Hell with Dante!

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