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 Chris Campeau and his story “Candlesticks.”
ABOUT THE STORY
What inspired your story?
I used to visit my grandparents’ nursing home when I was a kid. Some of the residents there would wander the corridors, seemingly lost, with their heads down or eyes glazed. It was sad, but I understood that it was just what old age looked like (for some, anyway). I was also terrified, and the image stuck. Recently, I wondered what that terror might look like in a household setting, in the dark. So, I got to work.
Can you tell me a little bit about your protagonist?
Dom’s middle-aged and suffering a stagnant relationship with his wife. He cheats, the affair consumes him, and it renders him oblivious to his wife’s needs, and to her world in general. Consequently, he has to deal with his guilt, and it haunts him in an unexpected way (I hope). That’s what this story is about: not ghosts, or rail-thin, harrowing old ladies; it’s about being responsible for your actions. It’s about rude awakenings. Really, I wanted to try my hand at creating an ugly protagonist that readers can empathize with.
What would you like readers to take away from your story?
Family is everything, and it shouldn’t be taken for granted. It’s not always easy, but you need to appreciate what you have—who you have—because you may end up hurting someone indirectly. Or yourself.
Which phrase are you most proud of in this story?
Description-wise: “…a place where family goes to visit once every other weekend; a place where residents live out their few remaining years, frail, only to be transported to their deaths in stale hospice beds. Or sweeping beds of fire.
Character-wise: “He wanted to say more, but instead wondered why they no longer shared breakfast before work.”
If your story was front-page news, what would the headline be?
Displaced apparition wreaks havoc on granddaughter’s cheating husband.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
I bought my first George Saunders book, Tenth of December, in 2016. It was used, but I should’ve bought it new; he deserves all my money.
If you had to put your name on someone else’s book/story, which would it be and why?
No one’s. You’re the only one who can write like you, and that’s worth owning.
When did you decide to take writing seriously?
I went back to school in 2015 and took a few creative writing courses. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
If you could choose a single superpower, what would it be and why?
The self-control to stifle my nicotine cravings.
Chris Campeau is a writer of short fiction and creative nonfiction. His work has appeared in publications such as Deadman’s Tome, Polar Borealis, and The Furious Gazelle Magazine, and his first children’s book, The Vampire Who Had No Fangs, is available via Amazon. He studied writing in Ottawa, Canada, where he lives with his wife and two cats and works as a B2B copywriter. Creepshow 2 on VHS is his most prized possession.
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