It’s kind of become a tradition that I interview the contributors to my anthologies and share those interviews on my blog. It’s also kind of become a tradition that it takes me a very long time to get them all posted. I plan to continue the first tradition but I’m hoping to avoid the second. Just to be different.
I met today’s interviewee, Michael M. Jones, when yesterday’s featured contributor, C.S. MacCath, introduced us at the World Fantasy convention in Washington, DC. I loved Michael’s contribution to B is for Broken and his C is for Chimera story just blew me away even further. You’re gonna love it 🙂
What letter were you assigned?
I was assigned the enigmatic letter “E” which has always been one of my favorite vowels.
Did you struggle with the letter you were given?
Not really. As with my story in B is for Broken, I happened to have a story already in the works which, with a title change, was perfect for my needs. It helps to have a good vocabulary and an esoteric grasp of weird words.
What was your favourite idea for the ‘word’ to use in your title that you didn’t use?
I have so many ideas. I never throw any of them away. In this case, the story came first and the title came in a flash of brilliance. I never really considered anything else seriously, save for a few vague concepts I’ve filed away until they can be of use.
What kind of chimera is your story about?
It’s about two different things which combine to form something different. But it’s not how you’d expect.
What, other than the letter you were assigned, helped inspire your story?
This story was originally written as a class exercise. We were supposed to write from a non-human perspective, and after I stopped laughing because honestly, most of my stories are written from the viewpoint of nonhumans, I started thinking about a shadow that was alive and wanted to be a person.
Lion, goat or snake–which are you more like?
Lion. To differentiate me from all the other Michaels we know (5 or 6, including editor Mike Allen and brother-in-law and fellow author Michael Shean) I often respond to the nickname Leo. Because in the Chinese zodiac, I’m a Leo. And by the Chinese yearly cycle, I’m a Tiger. I’m just a cat any way you look at it.
If you were going to be magically transformed into a chimera composed of three different creatures, what would you want them to be?
I would be part coyote, part raccoon, part cat. This is already established. Ask my wife. It’s weird, okay?
What if it wasn’t limited to creatures? What three things would you want to be composed of?
A book, lightning, and the color blue. And if you figure out what that creates, tell me.
Unrealizable dreams have been called chimeras. Taking the ‘unrealizable’ part out of the equation, what is one of your fondest dreams/goals?
I’ll give you a hint: it’s shiny and rhymes with Yugo. Please vote for this anthology next year.
Can you share a short excerpt from your story?
I am a shadow who once was a girl.
I flit through the hallways, darting from one dark place to another, leaping from person to person as they talk and laugh in the brief moments between classes. Every now and again, someone detects my presence, shivering despite the late spring heat and ineffectual air conditioning. Even rarer, one of them stops and turns, trying to figure out what they’ve seen out of the corner of an eye.
A bubbly gaggle of girls comes out of the bathroom, giggling over some shared joke. I linger on the nearby lockers and borrow one brunette’s laugh, trying it on for size. My attempt to join in comes just as the group quiets; they look around, baffled and just a little uncomfortable.
The laugh doesn’t feel right to me and I leave it behind as I continue my journey. The girls’ group disbands as they move along to their various classes, their shadows following obediently, nothing more than patches of darkness.
Michael M. Jones lives in Southwest Virginia, with too many books, just enough cats, a plaster penguin, and a wife who knows where all the bodies are buried. His fiction has appeared in anthologies such as B is for Broken, Clockwork Phoenix 3, and A Chimerical World. He also edited Scheherazade’s Facade and the forthcoming Schoolbooks & Sorcery. Visit him at www.michaelmjones.com.
Find C is for Chimera online: