Sunday, February 23, 2014

Mardi Gras Murder interview: Meet Selina Alaniz

Art by Karrett Barbosa
Selina Alaniz contributed "The Jester and the Girl" to Mardi Gras Murder. When the story begins, you think you know what's going to happen... but there's a surprise. We decided to ask her for more details.

Your story, "The Jester and the Girl", deals with an unusual meeting. Can you tell us what inspired the story without giving too many spoilers?  :)

My inspiration for "The Jester and the Girl" came from me wanting to tell a story that was a little different and a little twisted. I wrote these characters with this in mind and just allowed them to take me down this mysterious path. I also think New Orleans itself helped shape some of the elements like the tone and atmosphere. The city has a lot of history and has an allure that lends itself to telling a story like this.

We're pleased we're the ones who got to be your first short story publisher. Any more stories in the works? Novels?

I am so thankful and grateful that Mystery and Horror LLC were the ones to publish my first story. I don't have anything definitive yet but the wheels are turning so we'll see what I can come up with.

Speaking of novels... What do you enjoy reading?

I have to mention R.L. Stine because he was the author I grew up reading. I read every Fear Street and Goosebumps published. I still have most of those books and intend to keep them as long as possible. I love Charlaine Harris, Rachel Caine, and Stephen King. I also love Jane Austen and the Bronte Sisters. Right now I am reading Dystopian novels. I find it interesting to read all these different authors ideas of how people would survive in these end of the world scenarios.

Plotter or pantser?

That is a good question. I think I am a pantser with a hint of plotter. I like to have a general outline of my characters and story but I will sit at the computer and just type away. I'll let my characters do the talking and just go with it even it differs with what I initially started with.

Thank you for being with us today!

Mardi Gras Murder contains thirteen tales of crime that take place during the carnival season. It's now available at in print and Kindle formats. Other authors in Mardi Gras Murder include Paul Wartenberg, Nathan Pettigrew, and Debra H. Goldstein.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Mardi Gras Murder Interview: Meet Daniel Moore

Today, we're meeting Daniel Moore, the author of "Even". The tale is straight-up modern noir and I knew that I was going to be sending an acceptance before I even finished reading it. What drives an author to write noir? Moore gave me some clues.

Sarah: What inspired the idea for "Even"?

Daniel: While going through my personal backlog of books a few months back, I found myself reading all the Ken Bruen titles on the list. Bruen's a brilliant crime fiction author who once lived a criminal life alongside people who were obvious inspirations for the heroes in his books. That kind of credibility rally pulled me in. The book which got me into the drafting process for "Even" was "Her Last Call to Louis Macniece" where an aging English hood gets tangled in an affair with an American pickpocket. The idea that a seasoned crook and murderer could've been so easily crippled by a young woman paying him too much attention and wind up disrupting his entire enterprise struck me as an easy-to-understand joke that related far beyond crime fiction. It was a nice reminder of what a villain could look like to a protagonist that appears almost too capable in the face of danger.

Sarah: How did you pick the genre/setting/era you write in?

Daniel: I wrote this piece as a crime story because I think criminality and the law are the home of the modern and postmodern romances. Whether this speaks good or bad about society today I can't say, but there is, I feel, a deep fascination with what is and isn't criminal and who falls on either side of that line. I have that interest too and I think that's to blame for why the story takes place in seedy dwellings just beyond more civilized settings. I think the story reads as thought it takes place today, but I never think of my stories in the present but rather years from when I'm putting the words to paper. I think if you read the story with that in mind it'll drastically change the experience.

Sarah: Who is your favorite author and what really strikes you about their work?

Daniel: I can't give enough praise to William Gibson as being the author who speaks most directly to my imagination as a reader and a writer. If there's one external influence I'm grateful for in giving me the idea of going down the path to becoming a writer it'd be him and his work. Gibson has a way with words I don't think any other author has. Sometimes it reads as though he's perfectly translating what's in his head onto paper in a way that makes no compromises for the sake of the reader and forces you to bend to his will. And after a page, you'll do just that. Whether it’s the exploration of the mind through drugs or choice or technology, Gibson has a way to remain scarily relevant and topical after decades of writing in a way that only Vonnegut was capable of. His work has always been a source of inspiration. If one day my work were ever to be compared to his, it would be the only time a comparison wouldn't feel like an insult.

Thank you for being with us today!

See Daniel's story for yourself. Mardi Gras Murder is now available at in print and Kindle formats. Other authors include Harriette Sackler, Nathan Pettigrew, and Marian Allen.