WHO ARE THE KINDLE ALL-STARS?
A series of 20+ short interviews with the team behind the Kindle All-Stars short story anthology ‘Resistance Front’ posted daily in the run up to its publication.
Please be sure to check any relevant images and links for each individual at the end of their interview.
Today I’m delighted to be talking with the inimitable RJ Astruc!
FS: How did you come to hear about the Kindle All-Stars project?
RJ: Bernard’s twitter.
FS: What’s your contribution called?
RJ: The Ghosts of Los Hellas.
FS: And without giving too much away, what’s it about?
RJ: Gig, a virtual reality consultant, travels to the island of Los Hellas to problemshoot for the IT conglomerate, SWIFTWATER. There’s rumours on the island that SWIFTWATER’s new “virtual tourism” technology has the side-effect of, well, raising the dead…
FS: What was the main inspiration behind it?
RJ: It’s sort of a sequel to my novel, Harmonica + Gig. A fan of the book asked me to write them a story about two characters, Lucas and Gig. I’ve always liked the tension between those two, and their weird relationship – Lucas’s mother, Regina, is Gig’s lover. In the book their interactions were largely refereed by Regina, so it was interesting to explore how they would work together when Regina wasn’t around.
FS: Did you write it specifically for the Kindle All-Stars, or was it written prior?
RJ: The story was written in 2005, and first appeared in the magazine Abyss & Apex in 2006. It’s one of the few stories of mine that I’m quite protective of, from a copyright perspective – I’ve never let it be reprinted until the Kindle All-Stars anthology came up.
FS: Obviously the primary goal behind this anthology is to make some money for disadvantaged and abused children. But secondary to that, it is to promote fresh, new writing talent – the punk rock of literature – and show that Indie writers are out there, dedicated and working hard to produce Class-A work.
If people take notice of what you’ve written for this anthology, what do you hope the outcome is of that attention?
RJ: I don’t know, some sales would be nice I guess! But I think it’d also be neat to make more writer-y friends who I can talk to about writer-y things.
FS: How do you write? Are you a plotter? Do you fly by the seat of your pants? When do you write, and where? I write at night, at the dining table, when the kids are in bed and the place is finally peaceful and quiet. And I work everything out on paper before I sit down to write. What have you found works best for you?
RJ: Sounds like a nice set up you have! I plot everything scene by scene in precise detail. Then I write the whole thing, start to finish. I don’t edit, and I only do one draft – I believe in getting things right the first time. I usually write in bed after work with my trusty Vaio notebook.
FS: How did you find the editing process with Bernard? I found it to be like a smack in the mouth and a pat on the head at the same time, saying “I like this” at one point, to a specific sentence, and then “You need to stay in Active Voice!” the next. I learned a lot, and I think I have a much stronger piece of writing now than I did when I submitted it. What was your personal experience?
RJ: I don’t think I got any edits from Bernard. Maybe a couple of punctuation changes? (This story was previously edited by the Abyss & Apex editor.)
FS: Is there anyone in particular who’s contributed to the anthology that you’re excited to be included alongside?
RJ: I wasn’t really familiar with anyone’s work before – although that’s because I’m not, um, a big reader. We’re talking about four or five books a year, here. I’m really enjoying the extracts that I’ve read on the site, though.
FS: We know that there will be a KAS 2 at some point. Plans are already afoot. Is there a dream name you’d like to see involved in it the next time around? Me personally, getting published in a book that includes a story by Alan Dean Foster is one of those “Wouldn’t it be great if one day…” things that I can now tick off of the list.
RJ: I don’t read much. Um. I like Stephen King. That’d be pretty cool. A lot of the writers I really admire aren’t published (and might never be) – I just happen to know them through various communities and they let me read their works in progress. So… any of those guys. You know, I will probably write to them when KAS 2 happens and suggest they send something in!
FS: So when you’re not helping to fight evil, what do you get up to in real life?
RJ: I’m a public servant by day. Hm, and that’s pretty much my life…
FS: Are you working on anything now? Anything you’d like everyone to know about?
RJ: I’m just about to publish my first honest-to-goodness indie novella. It’s called Clockworld and, uh, it’s pretty weird. So that’s, um, a thing.
FS: And to your readers – both potential and existing – is there anything you would like to say? They might be reading this months after Resistance Front has landed, wanting to know more about you. What would you like to say to them?
RJ: If anything has happened to me, it should be on my website at http://www.rachelastruc.com. I put up all my out of print fiction on the website, as well as snippets of works in progress.
FS: Thats it! Time’s up! Hopefully we’ll the chance for a much more in-depth chat at some point in the near future when KAS is out on sale!