Our TRANSCENDENT Authors: a Featured Interview with William Curnow

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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 William Curnow and his story “Tabula Rasa.”



What inspired your story?

There’s a quotation attributed to Michelangelo: in it, he says that he can see the statue in the block of stone before he begins carving; all he has to do is simply reveal whatever is there. The thought is a suggestive one, though of course it worked out rather better for Michelangelo than Jack in the story.

Did you have to do any research? If so, what kind? What did you learn?

I’ve done a little bit of wood carving in the past. For the story, I had to remind myself of the tools and the process of carving, but otherwise, the research was minimal.

Can you tell me a little bit about your protagonist?

Jack is at that point in his life when he feels he should be creating something of worth, which is, perhaps, a familiar feeling to many. With it comes a certain single-mindedness, from which his problems stem.

What would you like readers to take away from your story?

The story riffs on an old debate about the nature of creation: where does inspiration come from? I don’t claim to offer any answers, but it’s always an interesting one to think about.

Which phrase are you most proud of in this story?

I try to kill off phrases that I’m proud of, otherwise the story has a way of shaping itself around the phrase. They’re rarely as good as I think in the cold light of day, anyway.

If your story was front-page news, what would the headline be?

Delirium of Creation Holds Man In Its Grip: Gets More Than He Bargained For




What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

I don’t have a lot of time to write, so an iPad helps make the most of the morning commute. The downside, of course, is that there’s always a new and better writing app to try out – which rarely aids productivity.

If you had to put your name on someone else’s book/story, which would it be and why?

If I had to choose one novel, it would probably be M John Harrison’s The Course of the Heart. A miracle of compression that exists somewhere in the hinterland between mainstream and genre fiction, a place that even now is strangely empty. If I was allowed another, perhaps Colin Greenland’s Other Voices, which sketched out another direction for fantasy that was never taken. It remains inexplicable why he’s not better known than he is.

When did you decide to take writing seriously?

I’m not sure I ever did. Perhaps when I finally finish my novel…

If you could choose a single superpower, what would it be and why?

It’d definitely have to be one of those one-issue wonders, where the main wonder is how they came up with the superpower in the first place. Perhaps, the ability to speak to octopuses. Just octopuses, though. Not squid. That would probably be the preserve of my arch-nemesis.


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William Curnow lives in London. He has previously had stories published in Jurassic London and Pornokitch.



Get your hands on the limited-edition hardback copy of TRANSCENDENT only at transmudanepress.com


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