Welcome to another author interview! This week, I’m happy to spotlight Edward Ahern. Edward is an accomplished writer who’s had work appearing in dozens of anthologies and journals, including See the Elephant, Flapperhouse, and Bewildering Stories.
A few months back, Edward and I discussed his trajectory as a writer as well as the tips he can share for other scribes out there.
A couple icebreakers to start: when did you first decide to become a writer, and who are some of your favorite authors?
I’ve been a writer of sorts since I was sixteen and started doing obits for a weekly. Degree in journalism, and a year as a reporter at the Providence Journal before needing more money to handle a pregnant wife, so wrote intelligence, marketing and sales reports (frequently fiction) until retirement. Was sixty-seven before resuming writing, I mostly read genre ( including about 25,000 words/week reviewing for Bewildering Stories) and general or realistic fiction rather than literary. Having just typed that, I have love/hate relationships with David Foster Wallace and James Joyce.
At over sixty short stories, you are widely published in the speculative fiction field. What advice can you offer for new writers trying to break into the literary world?
The biggest mistake I made in trying to get initially published was in thinking that my still rough draft was good enough for the top of the market. After a great many rejections I would in frustration send the story to the bottom of the market, which would, more often than not, accept it. I finally realized that I needed to re- and re-write ruthlessly to get a story in shape for a top publication. And even then the top tier rejects me a lot.
Since you have heretofore written more short fiction, how did your process change (or stay the same) when you wrote your novella, The Witches’ Bane?
I’ve now had over eighty stories and poems published, most also reprinted. I write terse, and usually short, so when I got into the novella I felt like I was trying to eat too much ice cream. Now have the same stomachache working on a novel. I often take a little break and write a short poem or two before getting back into the double chocolate.
Out of your published pieces, do you have a personal favorite?
Personal favorites: Hmmm. Literary stories it would have to be “The Cottage” which won a couple awards. Fairy tales “Care and Feeding” which has been published five times so far. There’s a lot of fantasy, but maybe “Listen to the Deaf Man Sing” which will be out shortly at Metaphysical Circus. Sci-fi, one of my earliest stories “The Body Surfer” (four pubs) Horror would have to be a quiet little piece, “The Dog Fisherman.”
Any last tips you’d like to share?
I absolutely swear by Duotrope, it’s more than worth the $50/year. And relationships with editors who’ve accepted a story or two are gold. They already know and like your stuff.
Big thanks to Edward Ahern for being part of this week’s author interview. Find him online!