Thursday, February 9, 2017

My Interview with author Lou Antonelli

  Lou Antonelli has had 104 short stories and three collections published since 2003. He was a finalist in 2013 for the Sidewise Award in Alternate History for "Great White Ship" (Daily Science Fiction – May 2012). He was a two-time Hugo nominee (Short Story and Best Related Work) in 2015.
His collections include “Fantastic Texas” published in 2009; “Texas & Other Planets” published in 2010; and “The Clock Struck None” and “Letters from Gardner”, both published in 2014.
His steampunk short story, "A Rocket for the Republic", was the last story accepted by Dozois before he retired as editor of Asimov's Science Fiction after 19 years. It was published in Asimov's in September 2005 and placed third in the annual Readers’ Poll.

What and who are some of your influences and inspirations?

As far as short stories in general, O. Henry. As far as the style of short stories, Rod Serling. In the fantasy and s-f field, I’d say Howard Waldrop, Ray Bradbury and Alfred Bester.

How and why did you decide to start writing?

I started writing for publication as a journalist when I was in high school; I decided to start writing fiction and submitting for publication when I was 45.

What genres and/or literary style do enjoy writing in the most?

Twilight Zone-type fantasy.

Tell us about your latest published book, short story or novella. 

I’ve just had my retro-futurist alternate history novel “Another Girl, Another Planet” published by WordFire Press. It’s mainly set 30 years in the past, in an alternate timeline where, thanks to the efforts of Admiral Robert Heinlein, the Cold War was replaced by a Space Race.

Besides the “entertainment factor,” what do you strive for in your writing?

Clarity of prose scattered with clever wordplay.

Would you say that your stories are more plot-driven or character-driven?

Definitely plot-driven.

What can you tell us about your latest work(s) in progress?

I have any number of short stories in various slush piles. I’m contemplating a sequel to “Another Girl, Another Planet”.

What are some literary goals you’d like to achieve?

I don’t believe in setting goals, it only leads to frustration.

What genre of fiction have you not yet written for, but plan to in the future?

I’ve had 104 short stories published; at this point I’ve had at least one story in every genre I can think of.

Name a few of your favorite literary characters and tell us why they are your favorites?

The Wizard of Oz because he is so human in a strange environment; Professor Morbius in “Forbidden Planet” because of the way his pride leads to his downfall; the Foreman in “Metropolis” because of his dedication to duty and the way he was willing to take on the mob.

What are some of your all-time favorite films and TV shows?

Films: “Metropolis”, “Forbidden Planet”. TV Shows: “Wild, Wild West”, “Warehouse 13”.

Tell us about your writing habits, such as: Do you outline extensively? Do you create your characters first, or your plot? Do you listen to music while writing, and if so, what kind?

I don’t outline, I’m definitely a pantser. I usually come up with an image, piece of business or conceit to possibly anchor a story with, then I come up with a plot and then populate it with characters.

What else can you tell us about yourself and your reading habits?
I write very sporadically, but because my day job is as a journalist, I’m never rusty and I write fast. Once I started a story after lunch and had it finished, proofed and accepted by the time I went home at 5 p.m.