Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Ahimsa Kerp's Trial of Socrates

Yet again, it is my pleasure to present an author writing in a time period I enjoy. I got to translate sections of Plato's Apology in college, but Ahimsa Kerp presents a very different view of the Trial of Socrates. Kerp is the author of the historical horror novel Empire of the Undead from Severed Press and co-author of the mosaic fantasy novel The Roads to Baldairn Motte from Reputation Books, as well as a contributor to many anthologies including Cthulhurotica, Tales of the Talisman, and Dead Harvest. Ahimsa hails from the Pacific Northwest but has been living overseas since the aughts.

When did you know you wanted to become a writer?
I don't know exactly. But since I learned how to read, I've always been fascinated with stories. And you can only read so many before you want to start telling your own. I was writing stories about orcs living in Mordor when I was 8, though I'm not sure if I could have articulated that I wanted to be a writer at that age.

How did you pick the genre/setting/era you (usually) write in?
It just depends. Each story needs a different setting and that's part of the initial process. When is best to tell this story?  I one story set in 1920's New Zealand, because a lot was going on in the country then. Another is set during 1890's China, with some of the events right before the Boxer Rebellion. Others are near future, or set ancient Rome or Greece.

How did you come up with the idea for your story in History and Horror, Oh My?
I always thought there was something fishy about Socrates. Why didn't he leave anything recorded? What was his part in the war with Sparta? It's hard to trust Plato and Xenophon, as both clearly had vested interests in his martyrdom. Once I started thinking about the Lovecraftian angles with the worship of new gods, the corruption of youth, and of course Atlantis as a briefly sited R'lyeh, it was hard not to write.

Did you encounter any obstacles in researching the setting?
I re-read the respective Apologies by Plato and Xenophon but frankly not much of that made it in. I realized this story could either be 12,000 words long and have all kinds of historical elements that might not be exciting to anyone other than history geeks, or 2000 words and do a similar job. So in the end I didn't use most of my research.

Do you have a favorite historical period you enjoy reading or writing about?
For reading, I don't have a preference. I love the breadth of history (up unto about the 19th century when it's a bit too modern.) Give me medieval castles, Mongol hordes, Janissary soldiers, intrepid Vikings, solitary Ronin, and the redoubtable Praetorian Guard.

Who is your favorite author, and what really strikes you about their work? 
Zoinks; tough question.  I suppose my current favorite is China MiĆ©ville. His prose is poetic and I don't think anyone else is as good at boiling "big ideas" down into pulpy adventure.

Okay, so you're an author. What do you enjoy reading?
For those who like historical specfic, Tim Powers is super duper incredible. Books like The Anubis Gates, On Stranger Tides, and Declare all use real history but postulate supernatural reasons for unexplained phenomena. It's really cool.

Read Ahimsa Kerp's story for yourself!
History and Horror, Oh My! is now available in ebook formats on Smashwords and in print and Kindle formats on Amazon.

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