Monday, November 24, 2014

From the Bookshelf: Losers and Their Friends by Erin Thorne

I first had the joy of meeting Erin Thorne through her submission to an anthology I was asked to edit, Canopic Jars: Tales of Mummies and Mummification.  Her tale, "Jarred Expectations", was one of the first stories accepted.  So when the fine folks at Great Old Ones Publishing approached me to write a forward for Thorne's new collection, Losers and Their Friends, I didn't hesitate despite a work schedule that was and is growing denser by the day. Thorne's book, its meat drawn mostly from a pool of excellent tales that went out into the publishing universe and somehow came back rejected, is difficult to put down once picked up.  Perhaps part of my fondness for the release involves the inclusion of "Jarred Expectations" as one of the collection's reprints; the story is as fresh the second time around as it was the first when it set a very high bar as to the kinds of material that would be accepted in our book of modern day mummy tales.

Stories of alien invasion, holiday horror, an unexpected and antihero superhero novella, and, yes, that marvelous read of canopic jars that contain forbidden secrets are all part of Thorne's vision, each tale presented beautifully with original artwork.  The author was kind enough to share her insight on Losers and Their Friends, as well as news of what's to follow.

I loved Losers and Their Friends—there’s a little of something for everyone, and yet it’s all in Erin Thorne’s unique voice.  What are some of the highlights on the Losers journey that you, yourself are most proud of?
I think getting the chance to work with so many talented artists was one of my favorite elements of the process. They ran the gamut from amateur to professional, and they all did an excellent job. Most of the pictures in the book were commissioned pieces, so I was able to see what someone else’s vision of my story or character would look like. One in particular really grabbed me; it’s the illustration for “South Ridge Superhero,” done by Erik Wilson. He depicted the exact appearance of the man on whom the story was based, after having been given only a rough, one-paragraph description. It was almost uncanny, and highly moving.

Was there a method in choosing the variety of stories for this collection?
Many of them were prior submissions, some of which were rejected and subsequently revamped. One that was accepted had started as flash fiction for a holiday episode of the podcast, “The Wicked Library,” and I expanded upon the story after it had aired. Others were simply tales that I was inspired to write, with plots and characters that wouldn't leave me alone until I’d gotten them out on paper.

What's your process of creating stories?
That can vary, depending upon the impetus for writing the story. If it’s one that was based on dream or a spontaneous idea, I scribble a hurried paragraph or two containing the basic premise while the memory is still fresh, and work it into an outline later. When I’m crafting a story in response to a submission call, one which usually has a specific theme in mind, I brainstorm a little more. I pull from the mundane, often from actual incidents and people, then stretch and embellish the whole thing until it’s a different (and entirely fictional) account. I also do this if I have a story I want to tell that’s based on real life, if there’s an image or a feeling I want to remember.

I happen to believe you’re one of the publishing landscape’s most exciting new writers.  When not writing, what’s Erin Thorne’s world like?
Thank you! I have two children who keep life both busy and fun, and I also work with my significant other at his gallery/studio, Cornerstone Creations, where we hand-pour concrete statuary. I paint several pieces, too; it’s relaxing, and another way to enjoy being creative. We vend at various fairs and events together, at which I sell and sign my books. I love working out as well, although I’m not enough of a fitness nut to give up sweets or fast food.

What are you presently working on, and what’s next for you in terms of releases?
I’m working on a few stories and projects at the moment, some larger than others, and I’ve recently sent two more out as submissions. As far as upcoming releases, I’m excited to be working on a re-issue of my third book, Behind the Wheel, right now. It was picked up by Great Old Ones Publishing, and will feature a custom painting for each tale by the artist Bob Chipman, aka Greywolf Moonsong. Two of his works, “Solace and Sorrow” and “The Lighthouse at the Edge of Forever,” are in Losers and Their Friends, and the new illustrations are amazing. There will also be an introduction, in which I’ll describe what lies behind each of the stories, and a foreword by a special surprise contributor. All in all, it promises to be a beautiful collection when finished!

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