I didn’t get a resounding response to my query about “fan fiction” — which probably says a lot about my fans/readership. :-)
So, I don’t believe I’m going to see a lot of response to this story when I share it later today. The point about sharing it, though, doesn’t have anything to do with putting it out there for comparison with the stories taken for the Midian Unmade anthology as much as it does to examining the process that goes into a story since I’ve read (and noted) some internet posts recently about how reading influences writing.
I stumbled across the call for submissions for the anthology by accident. I can’t recall the circumstances, but I did notice it and I thought it would be a nice idea to try to write something for consideration since Clive Barker is one of the authors I consider an inspiration. I came across his work first back in the mid-80s with The Books of Blood, vols. 1 through 3 when they were published in mass market in the United States. What I appreciated most about his stories and novels were how they looked at the world from a different viewpoint. I certainly hadn’t looked at the world in the same way; I was away at college for the first time, had just met the woman who would become my wife, and everything around me was fresh and new.
I wasn’t writing as much back then as I am now, so I can’t say how much his work would have influenced the impressionable Steve Nagy that existed then. Today, I’m writing more, but I fall into ruts with my work. That’s something that’s easy to do when you’re working on novels. At least, that’s how it seems to me. Shorter works let you reinvent yourself, try different methods to tell a story, and I’ve tried my hand at that medium to sharpen my skills after a long period slaving away on longer works.
So, finding out about the anthology at the time I did (which was late September, early October last year) was a happy coincidence, as my mind/muse was primed to create something quick and light and entertaining.
Since this post is about influences — call it an extended liner note about the story’s genesis — I’ll list them as plainly as possible.
1) Clive Barker and Cabal. Good story, good movie, each successful in its own way. I think the movie sticks with more people, but I always preferred the story. Ideas, written well, are stronger than visuals. Think of it along the lines of the pen being mightier than the sword.
2) Jefferson Bass. This is the nom de plume of Jon Jefferson and Dr. Bill Blass. They co-author a series of mysteries about the Body Farm run by the University of Tennessee. I found these books while taking my youngest daughter on a college road trip to the university. I was reading the second novel in the series — Flesh and Bone — at the time I saw the Midian Unmade call for submissions, and one of the characters in the Body Farm novel just stuck in my mind as someone to explore.
3) Scott Sigler. An old friend of mine who has made his own unique claim in the publishing industry with podcasting. I was working through Nocturnal, which is set in San Francisco, and has elements of Cabal woven throughout its narrative. The book has more akin to the television show “Grimm” than Cabal, but it was part of the reading environment in which my muse existed at the time.
And I think that’s enough said about influences. On to the main attraction — The Want of Breeding.