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 Ken McGrath and his story “The Astronaut’s Ghost.”
ABOUT THE STORY
Did you have to do any research? If so, what kind? What did you learn?
Not for this story, although I did spend a lot longer than I normally would on figuring out timeframes. So that was a new challenge for me. My stories are generally quite linear.
Can you tell me a little bit about your protagonist?
Beth (Elizabeth Margaret Shaw) is a typical, teenage girl from rural Ireland. She’s the youngest in her family, likes art, isn’t too pushed about school, although she’s quite bright, and gets into the right amount of mischief.
Tell me about the setting you chose and how it influences your work.
Thurles, County Tipperary, in the mid-lands of Ireland, which is where I’m originally from.
What would you like readers to take away from your story?
I just hope that people enjoy and get some sort of reaction from it.
Which phrase are you most proud of in this story?
My favourites are: ‘“Her hair. Sweet Jesus, she looks like Sinead O’Connor.” Mum actually cried tears when she saw it.’
‘I think he always wanted to be Reed Richards, but I’ve no idea why. Reed was a dick.’
If your story was front-page news, what would the headline be?
Mystery as ghost of astronaut spotted on country lane. Local girl questioned.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
I did a writing class through Big Smoke Writing Factory in Dublin once and learned so much about the mechanics of writing a short story. Through Big Smoke Writing Factory I made friends with other new writers and eventually met the people who have become my writing/critic group.
If you had to put your name on someone else’s book/story, which would it be and why?
I don’t think I would want my name on someone else’s book, but I do often read sentences and wish I’d written them, most recently from Neil Gaiman, Derek Landy, Annalee Newitz, Naomi Alderman, and Cassanda Khaw.
When did you decide to take writing seriously?
I’ve always written in some form or another. In the past it was interview features and reviews for music magazines/websites. I gave all of that up around 2012 and have been writing mostly fiction since then. At the beginning of 2017, I decided I was going to be more focused in what I was doing, and I’m happy with the results so far. Small steps.
If you could choose a single superpower, what would it be and why?
Gambit was always my favourite of the X-Men, but I doubt being able to manipulate kinetic energy and convert it into a weapon would be much use in my day-to-day life so I’ll just go with his ability to look awesome while wearing a head-scarf thingy and long jacket.
Originally from Thurles, County Tipperary, Ken McGrath now lives in an upside house in Dublin, Ireland with his wife. His fiction has appeared in Daily Science Fiction, Cirsova Magazine, Bards & Sages Quarterly, Liquid Imagination Magazine and The Arcanist among others. He has stories coming out in various avenues over the coming months.
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