Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Day of the Dark Authors’ Interview Part 1 by E. B. Davis

When Kaye George announced she wanted to publish an anthology based on the topic of this year’s solar eclipse, occurring on August 21st and which will be highly visible throughout the U. S., the submissions were heavy. She expanded the anthology to include twenty-four stories. Few of the authors included in the volume are newbie writers, and some are award winners. The stories encompass topics such as crime, love, murder, magic, and madness—and they all include the eclipse in some manner. This is a group of highly creative writers so don’t miss this anthology and don’t forget to get those glasses so you can watch the eclipse. 

Grace Topping and I decided due to the length of this interview to present it in two parts. Next week, we'll present the rest of the authors in this anthology.

Please welcome the authors to WWK.    E. B. Davis
“Dark Side of the Light” by Carol L. Wright

Why is your title a double entendre?  Have you visited Pompei?

Actually, I never imagined my title could reference Pink Floyd's "The Dark Side of the Moon" (nor their concert in Pompeii which I, sadly, have never visited). Rather, I intended it to reference the darkness and light of the eclipse occurring on the same day that a husband and wife, who had each kept the other "in the dark" about some life-altering information, reveal their secrets to each other. But it does not follow that being "enlightened" necessarily leads to happiness. In fact, there can be a dark side of the light.

“Chasing the Moon” by Leslie Wheeler

What is an Airbnb? Do you like happy endings?

1. What is an Airbnb? Airbnb is an online marketplace for people to list, find, and book accommodations, ranging from a room for a night to an entire house for a month or more. In my story, Randi Lawrence and her mother are the hosts of an Airbnb, renting a room in their home and providing breakfast to guests, Victor Yates and his wife.

2. Do you like happy endings? I believe that an ending should be appropriate to the story that's being told. If nothing really awful happens, I'm fine with ending on a "happy for the moment," "positive," or "cautiously optimistic" note, but not a "happy ever after" note, because that isn't true to life. Because the stories of the four main characters in "Chasing the Moon," are relatively light in tone, giving them happy endings works.
But I've also written stories that are sufficiently dark to warrant less than happy endings.

“The Path to Totality” by Katherine Tomlinson

Is our science policy governed by science, politics or the media?

At this point, I’m not even sure there is such a thing as a “science policy.” I think we have people with little understanding of—or regard for—science making ill-informed decisions according to their politics. These decisions are then amplified by partisan media outlets that echo their ignorance and anti-science bias. When you have people making policy who think that “wind is a finite resource” and “global warming is a Chinese hoax,” there’s little room for actual science based on fact. #SAD

“Blood Moon” by Paul D. Marks

How old is your character? Would your MC be the same man had he lived in Maui?

I see the nameless character in the story at around thirty years old. Old enough to be disillusioned but young enough to be desperate. Whether he would be the same man if he lived in Maui is a tougher question. There’s so many variables. One would think, of course, that living in a laid back paradise like Hawaii would mellow you out. But that’s not always the case. And, as I’ve lived in Hawaii in the distant past, I can say with certainty that even in “paradise” humanity runs the gamut of emotions, crime and existential angst. Of course if he was smoking Maui Wowie that might make a diff.
“Torgnyr the Bastard, Speaker of Law” by Suzanne Berube Rorhus

Is the law king? In terms of your story, would you define corruption?,8545,-10704979171,00.html
Historically, the authority to rule came from being strong enough and rich enough to force weaker men to obey. Over time, as powerful men passed their wealth and authority to their sons, kings began to believe they ruled by divine right or that they actually were gods. 

Vikings were too fiercely independent for this nonsense. Torgnyr Torgnyrson, a real-life Viking-era speaker of law, told the Swedish king Olaf in 1018 that if he did not submit to the will of his men, they would kill and replace him. Torgnyr said, "We will no longer suffer law and peace to be disturbed." Thomas Payne echoed this sentiment in Common Sense, saying, "In America, the law is king."

Corruption is when government agents put themselves above the law. If a king rules by law but is not subject to the law, his people can have no peace, being vulnerable to the capricious whims of their ruler. 

“An Eclipse of Hearts” Dee McKinney

What is an ulda and it is “real” folklore?

Yes, the ulda is an Anglicized spelling of a creature from Scandinavian folklore. Traditional spellings include huld, holda, huldra, or hulder. They're often seducers and always associated in some fashion with woods and forests. They aren't mean spirited, though; they protect the poor or those laboring in the fields. Females are the norm from legend, but I chose to go with the male in this case because it's not quite clear if they can truly shapeshift or just mess with people's heads and create illusions of what a person wants to see. Also, the males have crooked noses, a detail I decided to keep. Like most folklore, there are hundreds of variations, including one where they have cow tails! Enid Seward's ulda didn't reveal whether that feature is real or just a myth...

“The Baker’s Boy: A Young Haydn Story” by Nupur Tustin

What significance does the shroud have? Is there a painting of Haydn or descriptions of how he looked?

I've conflated the idea of the Shroud of Turin—a remarkable piece of linen that bears the imprint of a bearded man believed to be the Christ—with a practice Chaucer refers to: the sale of relics, oftentimes fake, but always accompanied with the promise of good fortune.

The story begins at a low point in Haydn's career. His middle brother Michael has obtained a lucrative position while he himself is still struggling. So he's susceptible to the call of the crone who's selling pieces of the shroud and dispensing prophecies. But there's also a sense that destiny needs to be helped along. When the baker's boy is accused of murder, Haydn feels he must act to prove him innocent. Doing so is a way of establishing for himself that the shroud has the power to bring his own dreams to fruition.

Yes, there are several portraits of Haydn and you see the pronounced nose but not the pockmarked skin. Haydn had smallpox as a child, and it left its telltale marks on him. My description of him comes from musicologist David Wyn Jones's biography: Haydn had dark eyes, was of small stature, and walked with a brisk pace. 

“Black Monday” by Chéri Vausé

“It was insane that you could know something was an illusion, and still react to it. Crazy.” There are two clues in that sentence—he wasn’t totally crazy, was he?

Or was he haunted? He did say Lulu was a fantôme. I like to leave that up to the reader. But, that said, having suffered a little from PTSD, you might know something isn't real, that harm won't come to you, the reasoning part of your brain kicking in saying, “Nothing to see here.” Nevertheless, you react, as if it were really happening. You sweat, your heart races, you can't breathe, you panic, and you might pass out. And all that is very real. Totally crazy? Let the reader decide. Is it warm in here? Who said that?

“I’ll Be a Sunbeam” by M. K. Waller

Do we hate them more for appearing to be mild-mannered?

In real life, I guess we do. A murderer who has concealed his true nature behind an amiable or bland façade evokes an extra measure of revulsion and outrage. We don’t want to admit that people who seem to be just like us can do evil, and we probably feel more compassion for his victims. Marva Lu Urquhart, however, might be the exception. I’ve known her a long time, you see, and despite her murderous tendencies, she’s so sincere and single-minded, and tries so hard to get it right, it’s difficult for me to hate her. That’s fiction, though. If I discovered a real Marva Lu living next door, I’d move.

“Ocean’s Fifty” by Laura Oles

Do we enjoy anything more when it’s a choice and not a necessity?

Yes, absolutely. There¹s something to be said for having the freedom to choose how you spend your time, especially when it involves paid work. While what we choose to do may also be a necessity, the idea that we have a choice at all can make the required task more appealing.  Ocean¹s Fifty explores what happens when one kind gesture involves the unintended consequence of trading one's freedom to secure another¹s independence.

“The Devil’s Standtable” by Melissa H. Blaine

Is the Devil’s Standtable located in the south of Carbondale, Illinois, in Giant City State Park where the eclipse on August 21st will last the longest—two minutes and forty point two seconds?  Were you a Chewbacca fan?

It is! The Devil’s Standtable is just a little to the northwest of the point of greatest duration for the 2017 eclipse, but both are part of the lovely Giant City State Park. When I saw Kaye’s call for submissions and learned that Southern Illinois was in the path of totality for the eclipse, I knew I wanted to set my story there. I spent several years around Carbondale while working on my master’s degree and couldn’t resist using the Devil’s Standtable with its intriguing name. As for Chewbacca, I think this might be the point where I quietly start backing away while muttering under my breath something about not knowing much about Star Wars.

“Date Night” by Cari Dubiel

Have you read time-travel stories such as those by Ray Bradbury? Behind your back, how do you think your characters would finish their story?

Yes, I'm a huge reader of time-travel stories. I love Doctor Who and Star Trek. My favorite time-travel novels are The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, The Man From Primrose Lane by James Renner, and Every Anxious Wave by Mo Daviau. As for my characters: Star Trek fans will know that there are multiple universes that branch off from every time point that gets altered (and Dark Matter by Blake Crouch is another great novel that explores the multiverse). I think in some universes, they stay together, and in others, they stay on the course that "fate" has created for them.

Come back next Wednesday to hear what the rest of the anthology's authors have to say about their stories.                                                                                                                                                    E. B. Davis 


  1. congrats to all my fellow anthology authors! It's going to be a great eclipse. "Baby Killer," Margaret S. Hamilton

    Where are you all going to view the eclipse on August 21st? Do you have your viewing glasses?

  2. Wow! This looks like some excellent reading :) I like the potpourri of's like that eternal "box of chocolates", you never know what you're going to get :) Of course, at least we all get a sample of the flavor of each one before we dive in :)


  3. Congratulations, Kaye, on assembling a fine group of writers with an interesting theme. Sounds like a bestseller to me.

  4. This is quite a collection of stories. Interesting that they are all based on the upcoming eclipse. I look forward to reading these stories.

  5. Thanks for doing these interviews--that was a lot of work! We're all thrilled you did it, though. Some stories are not based on this specific eclipse, but they all have AN eclipse in the plot. I was so pleased at the inventiveness of the submissions. I hope everyone else will be, too!

  6. Congratulations on such an exciting project! I can't wait to read it.

  7. I already know I want to get a copy of this book.

  8. There were two stories that will go in my "all time favorites" pile. They know who they are since I had to write to tell them how much I liked their stories. That doesn't happen often with me, but all of the stories were well written and strong. Congratulations, Kaye. Will pull for you at nomination times!

  9. That's wonderful to read, E. B.! Thanks so much for that.

  10. Sounds like a great anthology! I haven't gotten my copy yet, but I will be ordering it!

  11. Thanks for the 2 part series of interviews. All the stories, as you note, are quite different. Looking forward to seeing the book in print.

  12. Delightful! What a wonderful anthology. Looks like a must read book. Congratulations to Kaye, and to all the authors.

  13. Thanks for all the comments--I love the enthusiasm I feel for this project!

  14. Elaine's wonderful questions bring out the unusual aspect of each story. Great interview! Thanks for hosting us.

  15. Thanks for taking the time to do the interviews (it might have been my first one ever!)

  16. I'm late commenting here but thanks so much for doing these interviews (parts one and two). I'm delighted to be sharing the pages with so many wonderful authors.