Oloris Publishing is proud to be launching a line of ebooks to provide more diversity for our readers. Our first new author is Sean Klein, who kindly agreed to answer a few questions for us about his new book, ‘Fury Said to a Mouse’.
When did you start writing?
Sean Klein:I’ve been writing on and off for most of my life, sadly, mostly off. I took creative writing classes while in college and wrote many awful stories. In the late 1990s, I got serious again, took another few classes and this time benefitted from greater maturity and a fantastic teacher. Some of the things she said to me 15 years ago still resonate and I find them useful to this day. I managed to publish a story or two and then in 2001 had the privilege of spending six weeks with seventeen other crazy-talented writers. In 2003, a new day job took over my life and I stopped writing for several years. I returned to writing in 2008 and have been doing it on and off since then.
What is the earliest thing you can remember writing? What happened to it?
Sean Klein: When I was about six years old I wrote a derivative piece about Bugs Rabbit. I remember being disconcerted because I couldn’t spell “rabbit” correctly. I have no idea what happened to it. I have no idea if I spelled “rabbit” correctly or incorrectly at the time.
What inspired ‘Fury Said to a Mouse’?
Sean Klein: I volunteer for a program called 916 Ink (916ink.org) which uses creative writing to promote literacy in kids and teens. My work has been with teenagers in a classroom setting where I work with an accredited teacher. During class, everyone (adults and kids) get writing prompts to which we write for fifteen to twenty minutes. Anyone who wants to can then read their work and get feedback. 916 Ink uses the Amherst Method so our young writers are encouraged to share their work and improve their skills. I’ve seen some amazing work come out of our classes.
“Fury Said to a Mouse” came out of my first 916 Ink class. We were discussing fairy tales and my prompt was a golden egg. I wrote an early version of the “Long Ago and Far Away” section that day. The golden egg became a cockatrice egg and later that day I envisioned the mouse chasing the cockatrice across time, both of them transmuting from mythical animals into flesh and blood people.
You decided to write it in a very unique way, shifting storytelling styles. What brought that about? Did you find it made telling the story easier, more difficult? Which was your favorite voice to play in?
Sean Klein: My original concept was for a single narrative that shifted as it went along. I’m a big fan of alternate narratives such as John Barth’s “Lost in the Funhouse” and Karen Joy Fowler’s “The Elizabeth Complex” (not to mention much of Philip K Dick’s work). It didn’t work out for me that way in practice. Once I realized I was going to separate each section, it freed me to experiment with the narrative and dive completely into each style. Every section had its own joys and challenges. Mimicking Cervantes’s playful style came to me easily and was a lot of fun. The Faulkner pastiche was a challenge because, as much as I love Faulkner’s work, I can’t write like him. I returned to the source material (“A Rose for Emily”) many times to get the tone as correct as I could and to avoid out and out plagiarism since my pastiche has some significant similarities to Faulkner’s story. That said, one of the joys of the Faulkner pastiche was getting to write in first-person plural which is one of my guilty pleasures.
When you were younger, did you imagine growing up to be a writer? What did you think it meant to “be a writer” then? What do you think it means now?”
Sean Klein: Do people grow up to be writers? Are writers people who ever grow up? At 916 Ink, we publish work by kids as young as eight or nine. By the act of writing, they’re writers. As a kid did I imagine growing up and getting paid to put words on the page? Certainly. Back then, I envisioned turning out books and seeing my name on the cover. Now, I’d like to see my name on at least one cover, but getting to tell stories and have people read them is rewarding. I think that’s ultimately what being a writer is about: telling stories that people enjoy.
What other projects are you currently working on?
Sean Klein: Presently on the front burner I have a short story that takes place circa 1906 and what may be a short novel or long novella best described as The Wizard of Oz filtered through the Coen Brothers and Charles Portis. On the back burner is a historical novel about the 20th Century titled Hyperreal and a dystopian YA novel.
Where can readers find more of your work?
Sean Klein: Two early stories are still available on the Internet. My other work has fallen out of print or is no longer available. If you see me in person, ask for a copy of “The Waltzing Mouse.” It’s a short short I print as a booklet here and there to give away.
“Winning Claire” http://www.all-story.com/extra/issue6/claire.html
“Mr. Muerte and the Eyeball Kid” http://www.strangehorizons.com/2002/20020805/muerte.shtml
About the book:
Mouse is charged with destroying the evil cockatrice before it can spread corruption through the land. Along the way, he is joined by Fox, and the two set out on a quest to find the knight that can bring about the end of the evil beast. Their journey leads them to foreign lands and different times, venturing through stories familiar to readers, and yet changed. An enjoyable fable for those who love to read the classics, and those who like to see them played with.
About the Author:
Sean Klein lives and works in California with a redhead and too many cats. He attended Clarion West in 2001. His stories have appeared in scifiction.com, Strange Horizons, Talebones, Zoetrope All-Story Extra, and a few other places.
Order your copy here: http://olorisbookshop.com/collections/ebooks/products/fury-said-to-a-mouse