Cover design by Jonathan C. Parrish, original artwork by Tory Hoke

Fractured Friday: L.S. Johnson

Cover design by Jonathan C. Parrish, original artwork by Tory HokeFor 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.

B is for Broken contains 26 stories (one for each letter of the alphabet) centered on the theme of brokenness. The diversity of genres and subject matter will blow you away. We’ve got science fiction, fantasy, horror and weird fiction about broken hearts, broken space ships, broken lives, broken bones–you name it. If you like speculative fiction and short stories, this collection is one you’re going to want to check out 🙂

I met L.S. when she submitted an amazeballs story to Fae and I’m super stoked to have her work in B is for Broken 🙂

Interview With L.S. Johnson

What letter were you assigned? V

Please share a short excerpt from your story:

On her knees in the dirt, Arianne can envision her mother before her, see her spattered hems and the rough clogs over her fine stockings. On her knees in the dirt, Arianne’s mind becomes formless and clear. On her knees the world is a whole thing once more, a single path as welcoming as an embrace.

Until she stands up, and the world breaks into pieces once again: the rows of brown grapevines splintering in all directions; the wind rattling the shutters on the crumbling cottage where she and her father live; the slope of the rise before the hollow, where the old house still stands, the embodiment of her mother’s betrayal.

Their tainted land.

What is the thing you’ve most regretted breaking? I have broken the hearts of some people close to me, not from malice, but simply because of my choices in life. Hindsight is 20/20, and it is hard not to regret at least the more flippant decisions.

Have you ever broken something and not been saddened by it? Can you tell us about that? I quit smoking cold turkey in 2000; two years later I buried a relative from smoking-related illness. I still miss some aspects of it—the social crutch, the way it dovetailed with my writing. But no sadness.

If you could break one law and get away with it consequence-free, what would it be? Deleting everyone’s debt (though that would probably violate several laws, alas). But to just make all those numbers go away: it would change this country.

Do you have any rules for yourself, a code of some sort, which you’d never break? No. I have many rules I try to live by, but life does a fine job of challenging even the simplest convictions.

Did you struggle with the letter you were assigned, or did the ideas come freely? I actually had two ideas. One became far more personal than I anticipated, and I needed to talk to my mother before proceeding with the story, which didn’t happen until after the deadline. So I ended up on the Plan B for V, as it were, which seemed to turn out okay—? We’ll see what readers say!

What, aside from the anthology’s theme and your letter inspired your story? There’s about a half-dozen myths and motifs that I have been circling around, well, I suppose for all of my writing life, which is longer than my adult life. One of them is part of this story. Too, I was reading Hilary Mantel’s A Place of Greater Safety at the time, so I had that period of French history in my head—both its violence and its idiosyncrasies. And it all got me thinking about how a person’s life, their entire context for being in the world, can change in a moment, whether due to something personal or national . . . or perhaps even supernatural.


L.S. Johnson lives in Northern California. Her fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Strange Horizons, Interzone, Long Hidden, Fae, Lackington’s, Strange Tales V, and other venues. Currently she is working on a fantasy trilogy set in 18th century Europe.

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B is for Broken is available now at:
Barnes and Noble

And add it to your shelves at Goodreads

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