Today on Paws4Thought I present an interview with Misha Burnett.
Tell us about Fauxpocalypse.
It’s an anthology of original stories with a common theme. I put an open call out on the internet and received submissions from a wide variety of authors, some self-published, some traditionally published, some for whom this is their first publication. The contributors span the globe, America, Europe, Australia, and range in age from 13 to, well, I’m 50, and I may or may not be the oldest. The majority of the contributors have never met face-to-face and the entire project was put together via e-mail.
How did you come up with the idea?
Just about a year ago a major storm was predicted for the city where I live. Weather forecasters were calling for 6-12 inches of snow. Utility companies had emergency crews in place. Everyone was stocking up on canned goods and bottled water. We were all planning for the worst. Then the storm passed us by; we got a light dusting of snow—that was it.
That got me thinking about all of the catastrophes that fizzled out in my lifetime. I grew up expecting nuclear war at any moment, and if not that then death by overpopulation, pollution, Y2K, global warming, the bird flu—mass extinction has been prophesied so many times.
About this time I read a really excellent short work called “It’s Only Temporary” by Eric Shapiro. It’s a story about one young man facing the destruction of the Earth by a killer comet, and the last ten hours of his life. After I finished it I wondered what would have happened next, if the world hadn’t really ended.
I suppose if I had to sum up Fauxpocalypse in a nutshell, I’d say that I wanted to see how people would deal with the consequences of the things that they would do if they thought there would be no consequences. It ended up being a surprisingly deep subject, and I received a lot of very thought provoking answers.
How realistic do you think the future predicted in Fauxpocalypse is?
Which future? One of the benefits of having contributors from all over the planet is that different authors could extrapolate their own futures from a common starting point. My story assumes near total social collapse. Other authors (perhaps more optimistic than I am) posited a more orderly wait for the end. I think the realism comes from a broad range of reactions. In any crises you get some people who loot and some people who give what little they have left to strangers. Stress brings out both the best and the worst in the human animal.
Any significance to your choice of July 15, 2015?
Not really. I wanted a date that wasn’t significant. It’s the day after Bastille day, but I didn’t realize that until I’d already set the date.
If you thought that the world was going to end, what would you do?
Not much, to be honest. The reaction of the narrator from my story is pretty close to what I would imagine mine to be—do what I could to stay comfortable and relax. There are a lot of things I wouldn’t do, starting with filing my taxes. I probably would stop shaving, too.
Who are your inspirations in your writing?
Oh, let’s see. G K Chesterton, Tim Powers, Samuel Delany, Donald Westlake, Ray Bradbury, Phillip Dick, Clive Barker, William Burroughs, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Raymond Chandler, T S Eliot—I’m all over the board. The writers that I am most impressed by are the ones who make their own rules.
What are you currently reading?
Sigh. Nothing. I really haven’t been able to concentrate on reading for a while now—and I used to be such a voracious reader. For some reason since I started writing seriously I haven’t been able to read for pleasure. I hope it’s temporary and that I’ll be able to rediscover the joy of reading.
Tell us about your book series.
The Book Of Lost Doors is a Speculative Noir series. I set out to blur the lines between Fantasy, Science Fiction, and Horror. The cosmology of my universe is loosely based on William Burrough’s Nova Express—the Earth is host to parasitic Outsiders, non-corporeal entities that can communicate with humans and trade advanced technology for life force. The Outsiders are deliberately vague—they could be aliens or demons or ghosts or anything at all. All that is known for sure about them is that they lie about everything.
My protagonist is James, who has an Outsider called Catskinner living in his head. The two of them were linked together by James’ father when James was an infant. James and Catskinner have a complex relationship as they need each other to survive. Their goals are quite different, however, and often in conflict.
I based the James/Catskinner relationship on my own experience as a dissociative—I wanted to present a fictionalized version of Dissociative Identity Disorder.
The other semi-human characters are drawn from a number of sources, weaving together bits and pieces of fictional monsters. I wanted to avoid the common fantasy tropes—I have no vampires, werewolves, faeries, or zombies in my books. Instead I have come up with my own creatures, again deliberately mixing Fantasy, Science Fiction, and Horror.
What are you currently working on?
The Worms Of Heaven, which will be the third in the series. The first is Catskinner’s Book and the second is Cannibal Hearts. Both are available on Amazon. I expect to have Worms Of Heaven out in the summer of 2014.
How can readers connect with you?