Sunday, June 10, 2018

Author Interview: JAAP BOEKESTEIN by Dave Wolff

Interview with author JAAP BOEKESTEIN

When we started corresponding on Facebook you said your fiction writing encompasses everything from science fiction to fantasy to horror to crime to erotica.
Way back then I started with science fiction and fantasy, because that was what I was mostly reading at that time and I had way too little life experience to write about things I really had experienced and felt. But little geeks grow up and learn about the universe, life and themselves. Slowly but surely my field broadened. I did odd jobs like working for a detective agency and being a bouncer, I dug into alternative lifestyles, got stabbed, was set afire (by accident, it scared her way more than me) and worked for the Dutch penal system for a while (I’ve been in a LOT of jails). All this showed up in my writings. I started to write crime stories (or noir, or whatever you want to call them), and erotica for anthologies and zines. Although I read very little horror, I love to write the stuff. In my opinion you got two kind of horror writers: the ones who write horror to confront themselves with their own fears and phobias, and the ones who are just sick bastards who want to torture the reader. I seldom feel fear so you can figure out which kind of horror writer I am. Another reason for the wide range of (sub)genres, is that I like to try things. Am I enough of a writer to write Sherlock Holmes stories? Convincing lesbian erotica? Or gay erotica? Children stories, classic Gothic stuff, hard SF, sword & sorcery? Some genres are pretty funny, and I will return to them. Other genres are less interesting for me and I move on after proving to myself I can do it (or not, still haven’t been able to write a convincing romance. It is so boring!).

You stated you write for the passion of it, not fame and fortune. Also that few writers achieve notoriety for their work.
Mine isn’t a story of crushed dreams, I’m afraid. I’ve the advantage of being Dutch and the Dutch market is really small. When I started writing I looked around and realized right away that even the most successful Dutch fiction writers hardly could make a living from writing, and those guys and ladies were mainstream writers. Let alone for the tiny, tiny Dutch markets of science fiction, fantasy, horror or crime. Although I don’t write for fame and fortune, I do like to be published. It’s like: someone thinks the stuff that came from my mind is interesting enough to publish. Yeah! Of course if it’s great if people like it, but for me that’s just the cherry on top. Somehow for me it’s more about recognition (being published) then fame (being well-known). Anyway, I always approached writing as a fun hobby, even when I started writing in English for real (in 2015). Sure, that is a much bigger market, but with way more competition. Besides, if you want to try to make a living as a writer, you will have to do novels. Although I’ve done five novels (in Dutch) I am a short story writer at heart. The fantasy novels where basically mosaic novels: a bunch of short stories about the same characters. Quite like the Sword books by Fritz Lieber, a writer who has had a huge influence on me.

How small exactly is the Dutch market when compared to the markets in the U.S. and other countries?
About twenty million people speak Dutch, which is peanuts compared to the English market. For me it isn’t as much a question about how many potential readers I can reach, but about opportunities to be published. In the Netherlands there are about two to three zines for the fantastic genres and say two to four anthologies each year. I write about forty to fifty stories per year. The situation is even worse for crime and erotica. Even with several pen names I just had way too much stories for the market. And self-publishing isn’t my thing. Too much hassle.

How many pen names have you written under over the years?
I think four or five, but the majority were one offs. The only I used for a while, was a female one, Claudia van Arkel. I wrote the more experimental stories under that name and it was a great way to explore different styles and themes. After a few years I stopped with the pen names and nowadays I write exclusively under my own name. Not matter what genre. At a time the stories of Claudia van Arkel were published way quicker than my own work, and damn! She was getting fan mail. From male fans, which was not something I had anticipated, or was hoping for. I could really have milked those guys dry, but no, I didn’t. All the things I’ve done in English, are under my own name. Although crime publishers seem to prefer initials to full first names. So there are few crime stories out there by J.L. Boekestein instead of Jaap Boekestein. It is both me.

You were writing and publishing your fiction in Dutch for some time before writing and publishing in English. At what point did you switch and what were the reasons?
My first story was published in 1989 (I am that old) and at that time there were a handful of zines in Dutch around. During the years the number of publication possibilities dwindled and I started to translate stories to English. Basically for fun, because, hey it looks good to be published abroad. A writer friend of mine convinced me somewhere in 2015 to write directly in English and submit a story. To my surprise it was accepted and I suddenly realized I had a gigantic market with tons of anthologies and zines! That one anthology was never published because the guy behind it moved to Japan, but I started writing and sending of stories in earnest. English isn’t my first language, but it holds up good enough to be accepted. So far I’ve had over fifty English publications in a wide range of sometimes pretty obscure publications.

Which Dutch zines consistently published your work in the early years of your writing career?
Well… There was a bit of a jinx. This was back in the late eighties, early nineties: pre-internet so you couldn’t put your zine online. It was mostly xerox-copied stuff with good to awful artwork and names like Survival Magazine, Holland SF, Rakis, Ator Mondis, Cerberus, Manifesto Bravado, Xuens√©. A lot zines seemed to fold right after they published one of my stories. I deny anything, but it sure was weird.

Are any of those magazines that published your earliest work still in print today? Do you still have copies of those published writings?
This is ancient stuff, nothing is in print anymore. I still have copies somewhere, and I’ve scans of the zines. Way easier to find! I scan all my publications. Heck, I scan all my papers. If my house burns down, I still have a backup of everything I’ve ever written.

Do you think local zines being short lived was a limitation on you promoting your work?
I just don’t promote my work. I write the piece, sent it off and the story gets published or not. The payoff for me is the writing itself and the publication. I care little for what happens afterwards because I will not -and certainly do not want to- make a living from my writing. That would totally suck the joy out of it.

When you started writing in English, how many publications published your fiction pieces most consistently?
Not many, I guess, because basically I’m a publishing-slut: I will put out for almost anyone who will publish me. And I do a lot of anthologies. Come to think of it, I’ve been published quite a lot in the anthologies of Hellbound Books Publishing (Devils, Demons and Denizens of Hell, Volume 2, The Big Book of Bootleg Horror, Volume 2, Depraved Desires Volume I & II). They like my kind of kinky bizarro horror and we’ve become friends. All this is very much not the way to go if you want to be a ‘serious’ author which is commercially interesting for the big publishing houses. They need authors and work that will sell to the masses and this stuff is just too uncomfortable. Don’t follow in my footsteps if you want to be the next Stephen King!

Were the anthologies you were published in offered for sale online? If so, how much did this help get your name around?
You can find most of them on Amazon, where I have an author page. Not to promote myself, but I’m vain and love to see all the publications together. I really don’t know if I reached any readers, but I do know at least some small press publishers know my name. Some sub-genres are pretty small with the same names over and over again. So pretty soon you’re a medium sized fish in a small pond. 

Which fiction genres are you still pursuing after proving to yourself you can compile a story? How often do you feel you have nothing more to prove in that regard?
Well, I don’t have a bucket list. I’ve a dozen sites I check daily for calls of submission and if anything looks interesting I put the details on my writing list. If I have the time and the energy I will write that story and sent it off. If it is accepted, yee! If not, I’ll submit it somewhere else. What triggers me are the ‘out there’ themes. This year I’ve written Edgar Allan Poe erotica, tentacle erotica, Weird Western, vampire stuff, noir, bizarro horror, sword and sorcery. Still on my to do list for this year are Splatterpunk in space, Christmas Noir, a Las Vegas horror story, a Bondage story, 1980’s trash, Cthulhu Mythos, Maid erotica, Consent and a few more. I sure hope to have time to write them all. What triggered me with Autoeroticasphyxium zine in the first place was the brilliant title and the artwork, so I sent you a story which I thought was a fit. Purely based on the title and drawings! Only later I read the blog and I loved it. Yeah, sometimes things work out in a weird way.

Which science fiction and fantasy authors were early inspirations when you started writing? Did any specific stories stand out to you in those days?
Besides Leiber’s dark humor and undercurrent of dark eroticism, there was the colorful work of Jack Vance, the elegance of Clark Ashton Smith and the decadence of Tanith Lee. There is also this Dutch writer Robert van Gulik who wrote detectives in ancient China (Judge Dee), but he isn’t well known outside the Netherlands. When I like a writer, I usually read all of his or her work. It’s hard to point at a specific novel or story that stands out. I just don’t have any favorite book, story, color, song, hero or such. I’m afraid writers like Stephen King, Clive Barker, H.P. Lovecraft or other big guns didn’t do much for me. Neither can I really point at any crime writers which got me going. Sure, I read Chandler, Hammett and plenty of others, and I can appreciate a lot of authors, but they didn’t really form as a writer.

What books by the authors you cited as influences would you suggest to the readers?
That’s though, because these authors really were a start for me personally, but I haven’t the faintest idea if anyone else would find them interesting nowadays. I guess some work of Fritz Leiber will interest some readers. He was on the periphery of the whole Lovecraft circle and there is a flavor of decadent darkness in his work which is pretty good. Don’t expect gore, or the usual monsters. His villains are bad, but sometimes you want to be them. At least I wanted to be them as a kid!

I think I’ve heard of Clark Ashton Smith but I’m not completely certain.
He was a contemporary of Lovecraft and died sometime in the seventies, I think (Wikipedia knows). He only did short stories and a lot of poems. During his life he was more famous as poet then a fiction writer. Most of his stories are scoundrel fantasies set on several pe-historic continents. Like so many writers of the Lovecraft circle there are plenty of Mythos links in Smith’s work. Of the big three of that clique (H.P. Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard and Clark Ashton Smith) the work of Smith has not doubt the best style. Come to think of it, Smith was clearly inspired by partly the same source material as Poe and Lovecraft: the stories of 1001 nights and Vathek. My first published story was really a Clark Ashton Smith rip off. Like almost all writers, it took some time to find my own voice.

Why wasn’t Robert van Gulik recognized outside the Netherlands? How would you rate him as a writer of detective fiction?
I suspect a host of reasons. Maybe Robert van Gulik did not want to put in the marketing effort, or he had a bad agent, or the English market in the 1960’s wasn’t ready for historical whodunnits set in ancient China. Fair to say, in the Netherlands he was popular until the late 1980’s, after which his work dwindled pretty much into obscurity. Most of it is written in the 1950’s and 1960’s and it is a bit old fashioned. Like the work of Agatha Christie or such. What attracted me wasn’t as much the crime element, but the very convincing portrayal of life in the Ming dynasty. He knew how to make an utterly alien world alive and accessible, what I’ve always tried to do with my own fantasy work. Robert van Gulik was a China-specialist, spoke the language and knew a great deal about Chinese history. And he wrote a study called: Erotic Colour Prints of the Ming Period: With an Essay on Chinese Sex Life from the Han to the Ch'ing Dynasty, B.C. 206-A.D. 1644. A Dutch university has a copy and a friend of mine once got permission to study the book.

What can you say of the writings by Jack Vance and Tanith Lee? Are their writings still relevant today?
Both have their fans, but very few dead authors stay relevant. Public tastes move on and artists are a product of their time. I’ve both met them at conventions and I loved and love their work, for different reasons, but I doubt they influence a lot of new writers nowadays. Yes, at this day and age the work of deceased writers stays available by digital means: no more hunting for second had copies or trying to find that one anthology or zine. But when everything is available it’s pretty difficult to find the gems. As Sturgeon said: 90% of everything is crude.

What by Fritz Lieber have you read, and what do his published books offer horror fiction?
I’ve almost read all his books. I would recommend his Sword-series if you like scoundrels. There is plenty of horror in his short stories and of course the novels Conjure Wife and Our Lady of Darkness. And his sci fi novel The Wanderer is pretty interesting and certainly has its dark moments. The thing to remember is that Leiber is subtle. The blood doesn’t ooze from the walls, the maniac isn’t breaking down the door. Somehow he manages to put the horror in the possibility of the blood oozing from the walls and the danger of the maniac on the other side of the door. He’s an acquired taste and in this day and age he will probably feel rather old fashioned.

How much of an inspiration has Edgar Allan Poe had on you as a writer?
I read everything of Poe, which is one of the early giants of the genre. As a starting writer you really need to read him, just like Lovecraft. He had a subtle sense of humor, which I like, as his sense of the bizarre. What didn’t work for me was the whole Gothic doom and madness approach. I like my characters to go down fighting instead of complaining. The world is full of day to day horrors, and most people accept them and go on with their life. Romanticism with its suffering and moaning about destiny and lost loves, doesn’t do it for me. So yeah, Edgar Allan Poe influenced me, because he influenced a lot of writers I read (and don’t forget those great movies with Vincent Price et al), but I think it was mostly indirectly.

How did Lovecraft and his published works help to inspire your writing?
I started with Lovecraft pretty late; style and theme wise he did nothing for me. I don’t care for the whole “it’s terrible that we humans are insignificant in an indifferent universe” thing. The Mythos as a shared universe is great but that was never Lovecraft’s real aim. He and his fellow writers started it for fun and it grew from there. I like to write Mythos stories every now and then, but they are pretty far removed, theme-wise, from the original works. I have people entering R’lyeh through BDSM, or Cthulhu worshippers stray from the path because they run into a funny, seductive dominatrix. So did Lovecraft inspire me? Only as far that there is this big story universe with plenty of interesting places to visit.

How would you say your Mythos fiction compares to that of Lovecraft and other authors you have read?
Most Mythos writers love to make their own Elder God and forbidden book. I couldn’t resist to invent the Liber Buckesteynus as a joke, but there is such a multitude of Ancient Ones that I stayed away from making one up. A lot has been done with the Mythos by a lot of different writers. The one thing that connects my Mythos stories, is that none of my characters really get excited about all the old aliens and ultimate secrets. That stuff is usually going on in the background and my characters are busy leading their own lives. They want money or power or love and the cults and monsters are just a way of getting it. In my stories the mythos is mundane, because everything becomes mundane if it is around long enough in people’s lives. One tale is about a cultist who is bored because his mother makes him go to these endless rallies where they pray for the end of the world by the hands of some ancient, sleeping, gigantic alien. He would rather go to all those weird and scary and mysterious BDSM-parties where people do all kinds of interesting stuff. I’m pretty sure Lovecraft would have hated my take on things…

How much vampire fiction did you write this past year? Did you draw inspiration from any particular eras or use your own imagination?
The fun thing is that I recently did some vampire erotica stories, which were really my first serious vampire stories ever. I think I’ve done three so far, mostly to prove to myself I can write them, and because vampire erotica anthologies keep turning up looking for stories. For a long time, as a writer, I had the same problem with vampires as I did with dragons: the traditional vampire who is super powerful and can infect anyone, is unbeatable in the real world. Are as dragons. They are too damn strong to make sense. Only when I started making vamps considerably weaker, I could create a believable world where they could exist. My inspiration for vampires was painfully limited: Dracula (I read the damn book about three or four times) and way to many Anne Rice vampire-novels. Oh, and Kim Newman excellent Anno Dracula-series. Of course I’ve seen scores of vampire flicks. Some of them were entertaining enough, but the only one that really inspired me, was Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula. I guess it was the dames in corsets that worked for me.

What about the storyline and character development in Coppola’s Dracula was an inspiration to you?
Francis Ford Coppola gave Dracula a background story, which I thought really worked for a modern audience. We want some meat on the bones of our villains nowadays. But in the movie I think Coppola struggles with the fact that Bram Stoker had so many male characters. You got the three suitors of Lucy, you have Mina’s husband and of course dirty old Van Helsing. That makes five good guys, which is way too many for a movie and even for a book. Probably Bram Stoker choose three suitors because three is a powerful number and Dracula has three brides, but poor Quincy Moris (the American) does little more than waving his Bowie knife and dying. And after his ordeal in Dracula’s castle, Jonathan Parker becomes a non-entity in the story. What I liked in the movie was the beautiful cinematography, Gary Oldman’s performance and -oh god!- the extremely hot Sadie Frost. And Anthony Hopkins’ portrayal of Professor Van Helsing. In horror there are only two famous Dutch characters: Professor Van Helsing, and the Flying Dutchman. I’ve used them both in stories.

How do you view action packed vampire movies such as Blade, Underworld and Van Helsing?
I love them for what they are: entertainment. They absolutely have their faults, but shoot, watching Wesley Snipes dusting vampires (Blade), or Kate Beckinsale run around in black gleaming body suits (Underworld) or a corset (Van Helsing) is fun! Which doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate the artier vampire movie. The Hunger with Catherine Deneuve and David Bowie was great. I’m not a vampire acolyte, but I like them well enough. Thematically they usually are a lot more interesting than slashers or torture porn. Which may sound a bit strange, because I’m no stranger to describing torture in my horror stories.

What did you like about The Hunger when you saw it? What do you think was unique about that movie?
Definitely it 1980’s aesthetics, but also the theme of aging and decay. Most vampire movies focus on the bloodsucking and fighting the vampires. In The Hunger the vampires where brutal but you could see why. Blood is survival. Come to think of it, Only Lovers Left Alive did the same in a more mellow way. Also a nice movie.

Are you interested in any movies from the zombie genre, anything from the 1970s to the present day?
I dig the Romero-movies, and I love Shaun Of The Dead, but most of the zombie genre does not appeal to me. The whole nihilistic approach most zombie-movies have, is just depressing. World War Z was rather boring after close escape numero zillion and The Walking Dead are not really about zombies but is just a pretty unrealistic survival story. The Resident Evil movies are fun, bet hey, pretty babe fights and shoots gory monsters. What is not to like?

Would you ever consider writing a screenplay for a vampire or zombie movie?
It would be a challenge. I’ve haven’t done any real zombie stories yet because I’ve haven’t found an original take on zombies. Making them conscious with feelings feels like cheating. In my eyes they just aren’t zombies anymore.

How many Western based pieces have you written to date?
Exactly one, which is the story I’ve done earlier this year. And this was Weird Western: a Western setting in combination with supra-natural elements. Like Stephen King’s Gunslinger. My story is about ghosts stopping at a saloon on their way to Hell. I’ve submitted it and now it’s playing the waiting game. Maybe I will write more (Weird) Westerns if an interesting anthology comes riding into town. Who knows?

How would you define what you termed as bizarro horror? How many fiction pieces of this theme have you worked on?
Don’t shoot me if I get this wrong! As far as I can see, is bizarre horror the kind of horror that includes ultra-nasty psychological, sexual and body elements. I’ve done stories were people want to feel living metal everywhere in their body, were an ancient Death-God initiates an acolyte with his nails, or a fetish party where glass shards rip open latex and flesh. How many did I write? God… about twenty so far. I don’t freak out about bodily functions, so I’m comfortable to write in excruciating detail about whatever nastiness I’ve come up. I do this grinning, because I know some reader will feel sick, or aroused, or sick because he/she is aroused.

How many of your personal experiences, if any, were written into your crime fiction? Do you feel comfortable relating those experiences in your work?
Of course there is the theory that you can learn an author’s character by reading his work, and I pretty much believe that is true. At least in my case. I write about what interests me. My characters think and react, up to some level, how I think and react. Of course I don’t go around killing people or such, but when I write about it, it is me doing that shit. On paper, but it’s me. Over the years I’ve used plenty of my own experiences in my stories. Little details from the several jobs I held, plenty of things I experienced with friends and at parties. I’ve been stabbed back in 2009 and I used that in several stories. I don’t mind and I don’t see it as some therapeutic exercise. Those things make unique, good stories and I’ll use them gladly. Maybe I’m just an exhibitionist (all writers are), I sure am a sadist, and I just don’t dwell in the past too much. It happened, I survived, and hopefully I learned a few things. And why not use it? It sure is much easier than making up things! The protagonist in my story Rabbit Burns is a kinky Vietnamese stripper with a big mouth and cynic outlook on live. I couldn’t have written about her, if I wasn’t familiar with those elements. I’m pretty cynical, she is based on several friends and I am familiar enough with her lifestyle to write about in convincingly. Right now I’ve written about ten stories about her, which has a word count of 46,000. If I reach the point of 50k+ words, I’m thinking of hammering it into a kinky noir novel and trying to flog it. Probably small press because I doubt ‘kinky noir’ is anything for the bigger publishers.

How did you come up with the idea for the Rabbit Burns series?
It all started with an anthology which wanted stories about Texan P.I.s in an unusual Texan setting. I’ve never been to Texas and to hide my ignorance, I decided to take a character most people knew little about themselves. Hence a second generation Vietnamese woman living and working in Houston. I decided to throw in some elements I actually knew a bit about, so she became a stripper with a kinky hobby. For that first story she gets hired by her uncle, who has lost his wedding ring with some dominatrix. He can’t go to the cops, and he can’t find the lady, so he goes to the black sheep of the family and hires her to find the dominatrix and his ring. Sadly the story was rejected for that anthology. Later on it was published somewhere else. I actually quite liked the foul mouthed stripper babe (Gee, why?) and I wrote some more stories.

Did you base the characters in the Rabbit Burns novels on people you knew in real life?
Definitely! The black guy is a former Dom of a lady friend of mine, the white Sam is 90% a girl I know and Samurai Girl is a combination of two half Asian lady friends, a no limit dominatrix (She is a fun girl and I tease her merciless, I am one of the few guys who is not scared of her), plus some other friends and a shot of myself. I don’t set out to write people I know into stories, but looking back at a story, I can usually tell what I took from real life and put in. I guess it just makes better characters.

How soon do you expect the next installment of Rabbit Burns to be completed?
It really depends if I can fit her in one of the stories I want to write for one of the anthologies. There is this Christmas noir anthology, but so far three different starts with this lady didn’t work, which usually is a sign to move on. But she will show up, sometime, somewhere.

Of all the genres you have written in, which have you gotten the most from?
That used to be fantasy, but currently its bizarro horror. There are no limits in that genre and you can go as deep and dark as you want. You want to focus on graphic body horror? Sure. You want to put in some perverted erotica? No problem. A sophisticated, twisted universe? There you are.

Do you have any ideas in mind for splatterpunk in space and Christmas noir?
For splatterpunk in space I see aliens with tentacles and a zero-G environment with thousands of decaying human corpses. It won’t be pretty. Right now I’m out of ideas for the Christmas noir story, but something will show up. I mean: happy happy Christmas in combination with the desperation and angst of noir? That is a delicious combination!

Are there other fictional genres besides those we’ve covered you would consider trying out?
Only a fool says he has no limits, but anything legal I am willing to give it at least a try, if the challenge is interesting enough. Which doesn’t mean I wholeheartedly embrace the ideology of any genre. I can do a furry story, without being a furry. Or some religious piece, while being an atheist. Now, that sounds like I’m ready to write anything, but the reality is that in the field of science fiction, fantasy, horror, crime and erotica there are more than enough interesting calls for submissions to keep me busy. For me writing is about having fun. Sure, I like to try out new things, but there isn’t some career path or bucket list. I see plenty of fellow-writers who get frustrated because their work doesn’t sell, in spite of having done a ton of promotion and such. I respect they have ambitions and dreams, but I have neither and that works just fine for me.

Are you thinking up any ideas for a new series of novels to start writing?
I tried many times, and I just get bored around 20,000 words. I’m definitely a short story writer. Ideas are never the problem. That’s what you get from starting out in science fiction, which is a real idea genre. On regular basis I write science fiction stories with a writer friend, Tais Teng. When we are together it’s a barrage of ideas. Our minds really feed on each other. That only seems to work for science fiction and fantasy. Individually we both write horror, but it just doesn’t work together. We are thinking of doing a noir story together, and I really look forward to that. Can we use all those ideas and energy to write dark crime stories? We will find out soon.

Anything you have in mind as far as new short stories?
Right now I should be working on for stories with deadlines at the end of June, but somehow I just can’t get into the right groove to write them. Luckily I write for fun so when that happens, I just pick a story I really want to write. I’m working on a manga-like story with robots, cyborgs, demons in warp space, psy-mutants and inquisitors. We will see where it will lead me.

How much research have you been doing for the manga piece you have in mind?
About five minutes. Did the name of my main character already exist? (No.) And how do maids look like in manga? (Pretty much as I remembered: cute, big-eyed and innocent-sexy.) I always have had a slight fetish (one of a zillion of my slight fetishes) for French Maids, so I know how one looks and behaves (in fiction at least). This won’t be a fetish story, but an anthology like this, will play with those elements. I put her in a steampunk-like environment with an Empire, a military caste, big ass space ships and weird races and villains, and the story writes itself pretty much. My character will be cleaning, saving the world end taking revenge for the death of the love of her life. I have fun tremendous fun writing this because it is very much over the top.
To be honest, nowadays most of my research takes about ten minutes, or thirty minutes tops. Things are way easier to find with on internet, and I by now I know what I need to lie convincingly to my reader. I know what I want to tell and details are color locale, they are not the story. The longer you write, the easier it gets. At least, for me it is.

How soon do you expect this new fictional endeavor to be released officially?
I’ve no idea. The deadline is somewhere in October this year. If the story is accepted and the anthology goes through it will be 2019. Having a story accepted, or even have signed contract doesn’t always mean the story will be published. Plenty of small press and zines go bust. It’s pretty frustrating because that means a story can be out of circulation for two years or longer, but I’ve learned to take it into account. My deal is: if accepted but there is no contract and no communication for over a year, the story is submitted somewhere else.

If you could be remembered as a fiction writer years from now, in what way would you want people to remember?
That dirty, funny Dutch uncle who enjoyed life to the max.


-Dave Wolff

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