If you haven’t heard of our new project, the On Fire anthology, this interview series will showcase our authors and their writing lives beyond their ignited tales. In Ed Ahern‘s “The Birthing,” Matt falls into fire’s pit to come face-to-face with a new kind of flame.
How long have you been writing?
Newspaper articles, intelligence reports and marketing lies forever, fiction and poetry seven years.
What motivates you to write?
Doubt there’s ever a single motivation, but I like to play with words and to tell a story or poem worth reading. Poetry for me is emotional rather than intellectual catharsis, fiction writing is a (hopefully) deftly constructed word weaving that lets the reader both feel and think.
What is the best thing about being an author? What is the worst thing?
It’s definitely not the money (the worst). The best is the craftsman’s pride in creating something purposeful that is, even with deformations, attractive.
What is the first book or story that made you cry?
None. I cry when people and dogs die.
Are you a full-time author? If you have another job, what is it and would you like to become a full-time author if you could?
I’m retired. Full time has no relevance. But I spend at least six hours a day doing stuff involving writing. So maybe three-quarter time.
How supportive are your family when it comes to the time you spend as an author?
Wife is happy that I’m not fighting her for the remote.
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
A swamp gas bubble.
How many stories have you written?
Eighty some stories, mostly published and reprinted. Seventy odd poems, also almost all pubbed and repubbed. My record for reprints is five.
What did you edit out of this story?
Most of the stuff I thought was cool in the first draft.
How do you choose your character’s personalities and names?
Genre: Plot dependent. Folk/Fairy Tale: Stereotypical. General: Personal problem dependent.
I don’t replicate the psyches of friends and relatives, but do put together a collage or pastiche of traits drawn from several individuals. I steal names of real people for my stories as a mini homage to our friendships, but never make them villains. I find that some names ooze up reflexively, and I have more Phils and Sarahs in my stories than I should.
What advice do you have for beginning authors?
Write for readers rather than editors or critiquers, Change all the stupid mistakes they point out, but be careful not to rewrite the story to suit the taste of the editor or your favorite beta reader. You can always find another publisher who likes the story the way you wrote it.
Ed Ahern resumed writing after forty odd years in foreign intelligence and international sales. He’s had a hundred seventy stories and poems published so far. His collected fairy and folk tales, The Witch Made Me Do It was published by Gypsy Shadow Press. His novella The Witches’ Bane was published by World Castle Publishing, and his collected fantasy and horror stories, Capricious Visions was published by Gnome on Pig Press. Ed’s currently working on a paranormal/thriller novel tentatively titled The Rule of Chaos. He works the other side of writing at Bewildering Stories, where he sits on the review board and manages a posse of five review editors.
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