The characterization in your story is interesting because there is only one human character, and many Megan creatures for your character to contend with. What caused the decision to write about a single human character?
When I think of survival I usually think of one person alone against the elements. But Lynda was originally responsible for the idea by creating the Longuaie. When I saw that in the background notes, I immediately thought of Leiningen and the Ants, a great story I read when I was a boy. You could say this is my homage to that story.
Did you draw on your experience as a sword fighter in any part of Bota’s fight?
Not directly. But indirectly it stays with me in any tactical situation. One has to adapt to the other fighter. And a common precept is that you need to make your own luck.
What do you want the reader to believe Bota’s chances of survival are at the end of your story?
Well—much better! But he still has many problems to solve; he and the other colonists must solve them one at a time.
Your story closes out the anthology, as it is set two years after the crash happened. What is the significance of this timeline in your story?
It gives the reader a glimpse into the near future of the colony, and whether it survived for long. Perhaps it shows an extra ray of hope. I very much look for those rays.
You have worked with Lynda Williams before; what inspired you to be a part of the Megan Survival Anthology project?
Firstly, it was an honour to be asked. Secondly I have a strange brain that looks for unusual solutions. So, any story with a theme like that attracts me. But also, the Okal Rel universe that Lynda invented is so rich with possibility, it’s always bright with gems to be found by a writer or a reader.
Was the writing process different for this short story than the Okal Rel novellas you previously wrote?
It was similar. We had to conform to the Okal Rel universe. We had to ask a lot of questions. But we had leeway to create within that universe. That was very appealing and stimulating. This time around we had more rigorous editing, which was an intricate and rewarding process. As I believe Hemingway said, “The art of writing is the art of rewriting.”
Reality Skimming Press brands itself as optimistic sci-fi. What does that phrase mean to you?
Without optimism, life would be meaningless. How could we explore without such a concept driving us? Personally, I hate to read tragic literature or see tragic films that are void of some redemption. Certainly, sometimes we have to take two steps backward to take one step forward. But I’m always focused on that forward step.
What projects are you currently working on?
Many. But my main literary concern is an historical novel, set in Vancouver in 1917. This is a thriller, with a detective trying to solve a murder and protect a secret gold shipment.