For the next several weeks I’ve decided to call Fridays ‘Fractured Friday’ and use them to share news, contributor interviews and excerpts from B is for Broken.
B is for Broken is the second title in the Alphabet Anthologies series. It follows A is for Apocalypse and will in turn be followed by C is for Chimera. Each story in the series is associated with a letter of the alphabet and is titled in the letter is for word format. What’s more, just to keep things nice and complicated, the story’s title isn’t shared at the beginning but at the end so that you can guess at what it might be while you read.
On that note, even though the story titles could be considered spoilers because of how the book is formatted, for the sake of simplicity if the author has chosen to post their title publicly somewhere else (their blog, Facebook, wherever) I am going to include it in my posts. If they haven’t revealed that information, though, I’ll list the story titles as Letter is for…
I met Cindy through a local critique group we were both members of several years back. While I’ve lost contact with most of the people I knew from that group, Cindy and I are still good friends. It was my pleasure to include one of her stories in A is for Apocalypse (where she definitely won the award for most creative title. You will never guess what P was for) and I was super stoked to have her continue her involvement with this series with a story in B is for Broken.
Interview With Cindy James
What letter were you assigned? M
Please share a short excerpt from your story:
I stare at the dim outline of the ceiling fan as the rhyme repeats itself, and I see faces again. I’m accustomed to these disembodied, anonymous heads that flash through the dark with taunting, gnarled expressions, but they still make my heart race. I roll onto my side and promise myself I will talk to Dr. Woo when I have my checkup on Monday.
The next morning when I get to work, I call the cable company and arrange a service call and then sit at my desk Googling overheated electronics and stare at words like “toxic” and “tumour” and “toluene” until I don’t want to read anymore, and Shelley texts me to meet her for lunch. At noon I escape the office tower and find her downstairs on the sidewalk, huddled against the December bite in her long black coat with a smoke in her leather-gloved hand. I grimace at her, and she makes a face back.
“Don’t even think about saying anything.” Shelley narrows her eyes at me.
“I thought you quit.” I stand upwind of her and breathe shallow as she drags back her smoke in rapid-fire puffs.
“Yeah, so I’m weak. Gary walked out last night.”
“Oh,” I say. This isn’t really news, it’s happened so many times. “What happened?” I ask. I don’t mind talking about her problems. Shelley’s shitty life makes me feel better about my own.
What is the thing you’ve most regretted breaking? I’m sure I’ve broken a few promises along the way, but not real regrets.
If you could break one law and get away with it consequence-free, what would it be? Tax laws!
Do you have any rules for yourself, a code of some sort, which you’d never break? My one rule is if it’s going to make me feel guilty, don’t do it!
Never ever? Never!
Really? Isn’t there something which could make you break it? I don’t deal well with guilt.
Did you struggle with the letter you were assigned, or did the ideas come freely? Yes, I struggled with it.
What was your favourite idea you didn’t use? M is for Memorial. Couldn’t get it going.
What, aside from the anthology’s theme and your letter inspired your story? An episode from Law & Order from years ago stuck with me. A mother killed her children and while on the stand she said she did it because she couldn’t stand the thought of them suffering.
Cindy James lives in Edmonton, Alberta with her husband and two children. After twenty years working as a court reporter and listening to other people’s stories, she decided to engage the right side of her brain and tell a few of her own. She is pursuing a degree in English and History, and is committed to one day write something truly great. She now works as a broadcast closed-captioner, volunteers at the local art gallery, and agonizes in what remains of her free time over whether she should be writing or painting.
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