EC's The Emperor's New Clothes Issue will be out the last week of this month and to get ready for it, we've asked author, Gerri Leen, (whose story, "My Husband, the Emperor." will be featured in the issue) some questions for our new Writers on Writing series. We hope you enjoy getting to know a little bit about Gerri and get some insight into her creative process. (Note from Kate: Amanda, art director and contributing editor, will chat with two other authors from the upcoming issue over the next two weeks. The rest will be interviewed after the issue is published.)
1. What is your favorite fairy tale and why?
My favorite fairy tale is probably "The Princess and the Pea" because I suffer from chronic migraines that make all my senses more acute (to the point of discomfort). When I'm annoyed by a sound others don't hear, getting a headache from fragrance in a product others think is scent free, or scrambling for my sunglasses on an overcast day because the light is still too bright, I think of the princess and her ability to feel the pea and smile.
|Art by Gordon Robinson|
2. What was your first published work, and when was it published?
My first published work was "Obligations Discharged," a short story I wrote for the Star Trek Strange New Worlds VII contest anthology (Pocket Books, 2004). Not only did this experience allow me to write in a world I loved (and would write in again, I also made it into the ninth and tenth volumes), but it allowed me to understand first hand the difference between writing media tie-in (aka "Work for Hire") material and writing original stories.
3. What author's work do you admire, and how has that influenced you in your own writing?
There are so many writers I admire and have tried to emulate. I'd say the ones who really stand out are in two camps. People like Rod Serling (and his fabulous stable of Twilight Zone writers) and Jeffrey Archer, who have taken the idea of the "twist" and turned it into an art form, and writers like Stewart O'Nan or Connie Willis, who have shown me how versatile one person can be (and who have taken risks in pursuing that versatility--not everything works, and that's okay). I absolutely love to employ the twist if I can--to the point where, when I started writing romance, I felt it was a good idea to use a pen name as brand assurance so readers would know that with Kim Strattford you'll get the happy ending and not the cruel twist that Gerri Leen loves to do. As far as versatility, I've been published in poetry and prose--in fantasy, horror, science fiction, romance (both with the pen name and less happy stories without), crime, and mainstream. I haven't done a straight up mystery yet, but an urban fantasy novel I'm working on has a mystery at the heart of it. I guess that just leaves thrillers--not sure I'll ever get to those, but my muse can surprise me.
READ a story by Gerri that appeared in a previous issue of EC by clicking on the picture below:
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Interview by Amanda Bergloff