In our new author series, we’ll be offering a clairvoyant peek behind the veil of who and what makes up TRANSCENDENT. Here’s a glimpse at C.S. Fuqua and his story “Dogs.”
ABOUT THE STORY
What inspired your story?
Several elements came together for “Dogs,” including the memory of a wonderful dog from my childhood, the brutality of some parents, and the guilt many of us feel over our inability as children to protect the people and animals we love.
Did you have to do any research? If so, what kind? What did you learn?
This piece required no special research since I drew on my own experiences and knowledge of the setting.
Can you tell me a little bit about your protagonist?
Clark grew up in a violent household and, rather than respecting and thus becoming like his father, he became the opposite kind of man, one who’s gentle and caring. Even so, he carries a deep sense of guilt and helplessness stemming from his inability as a child to protect the things he loved.
Tell me about the setting you chose and how it influences your work.
The setting is a rural community that could be located in any southern state. The specific setting I had in mind is just outside of Andalusia, Alabama. I grew up in the South—specifically, in south Alabama and northwest Florida during the Civil Rights Era. Southerners and southern settings lend themselves readily to strange takes on life and to abusive interpersonal relationships. If you’ve read works by Truman Capote, Carson McCullers, or Flannery O’Connor, you know what I’m talking about. Most of my dark fantasy tales are in settings similar to that of “Dogs.”
What would you like readers to take away from your story?
A reviewer once lamented that my stories contain a moral. If they do, it’s not intentional. What I want—what I strive to do—is to craft a story that entertains and touches the reader in some unique way to his or her experiences. If the reader gleans a moral from the story, all the better.
Which phrase are you most proud of in this story?
It would have to be the opening: “The old man wasn’t two hours in the ground, but Clark already had the U-Haul loaded and ready to drive away for the last time…”
If your story was front-page news, what would the headline be?
“Resurrected Dog Delivers Absolution”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
If you had to put your name on someone else’s book/story, which would it be and why?
If a short story, it would be Raymond Carver’s “A Small, Good Thing” or Flannery O’Connor’s “A Good Man is Hard to Find.” Both stories exemplify perfection in short fiction writing and character creation. If a novel, it would be Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle, a masterpiece that comically explores the motivations, frailties, and self-destructive tendencies of human beings as they blame some supernatural entity they claim to worship.
When did you decide to take writing seriously?
I can’t recall a time I didn’t. As a child, books served as refuge and escape. By the time I was in high school, I had decided that I wanted to be a professional writer, whatever that is.
If you could choose a single superpower, what would it be and why?
I would relish the ability to replace the willful ignorance of individuals with the desire to explore, to pursue and accept fact and reality, to deal constructively with the challenges that face us rather than bury our collective head in the sand. Would that require a cape and tights?
C.S. Fuqua is a full-time creative writer. He began his career in the late 1970s as a freelance journalist for trade magazines. He later worked as a newspaper reporter and consumer and trade magazine staff writer before becoming a full-time freelance writer in the 1980s.Since then, his work has appeared widely in publications such as Year’s Best Horror Stories XIX, XX and XXI, Cemetery Dance, Dark Regions, Christian Science Monitor, Slipstream, The Old Farmer’s Almanac, The Writer, and Honolulu Magazine. His fiction and poetry have earned several “Year’s Best” honors. Chris’s books include Walking after Midnight ~ Collected Stories, the SF novel Big Daddy’s Fast-Past Gadget, White Trash & Southern ~ Collected Poems, Hush, Puppy! A Southern Fried Tale (children’s), and Native American Flute Craft, among others. He is also a craftsman of Native American flutes and a recording musician with several albums of Native American flute and world fusion music available.
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