Gary McMahon : Kitty
Gary McMahon was born in Sunderland in 1969 and has a lifelong love of genre fiction. His critically acclaimed short fiction has appeared in many magazines and anthologies. His first mass market novel was "Hungry Hearts", which was then followed by the Thomas Usher books ("Pretty Little Dead Things" and "Dead Bad Things") and the "Concrete Grove" series of horror/urban fantasy novels.
His work has been nominated for the British Fantasy Award on seven seperate occassions. When reminded that he is still to win one of these, he gives a wry smile.
We asked Gary McMahon, the author of Kitty in Eulogies II to give us a bit of back story on his tale and this is how he responded:
The idea for Kitty came to me when I was watching the excellent TV show American Horror Story: Asylum. It was the episode titled “Piggy Piggy”, which features a character who is terrified of urban legends – specifically one known as Piggy Man, who can be conjured by saying the words “Here piggy, pig, pig” into a mirror. This urban legend was clearly invented for the show; I don’t think it’s one that’s been passed around in the usual manner. The writers came up with the story of Piggy Man, and for me that gives it an additional edge and makes it more interesting – it appeals to my love of stories within stories.
This idea fascinated me. I loved the notion of a fictional urban legend, and I’d been toying with writing something about suburban ennui and marital infidelity occurring within a tight group of friends. The two ideas merged, meshed, and Kitty was born.
The voice of the story came easily. The tone and rhythm were there from the start. I didn’t need to tinker with the story much after getting a first draft down on the page in a single intense sitting. I think it’s a strange, eerie, and oddly sexy little tale. I’m particularly proud of the final line, which never fails to give me the creeps. I have a feeling that the urban legend of Kitty might appear again, perhaps in a novel. I think there’s more to discover about the story. Kitty is still out there somewhere, roaming the night, sharpening her claws.
TT Zuma : Chiyoung and Dongsun’s Song
We asked T. T. Zuma about the backstory to his tale, Chiyoung and Dongsun’s Song and this is how he responded:
I’d love to say that there was some sort of philosophical or transcendental meaning to the plot, or even the ending in Chiyoung and Dongsun’s Song.
It would have been cool to say that there is deeper meaning to the story, and then be able to espouse intellectually on its moralistic premise.
But you know what? It’s just a story I made up. It has no lessons to impart or any redeeming value- unless you count entertaining the reader as a redeeming value.
Chiyoung and Dongsun’s Song started out as a writing exercise. Horror World occasionally conducts writing exercises for its membership (submissions are anonymous) using a published author as a moderator and allowing that moderator to choose the topic. In this case it was Robert Dunbar who accepted the position and his topic was Children’s Folk Lore.
I wrote Chiyoung and Dongsun’s Song in about a two week period and then I submitted it to Rob. After I submitted it, I forwarded it to my writers group to see what they thought of it, and damn, the look on their faces when I attended the next meeting sacred the hell out of me. I quickly emailed Rob and withdrew the story, replacing it with one I hastily wrote to fill the spot. In the meantime, I also shared Chiyoung and Dongsun’s Song with Chris Jones to get his feedback on it. He responded with a one word sentence, “Wow”, and I had no idea if that meant he liked it or not and I didn’t dare follow up.
Cut to the end of 2012 when Chris and Nanci were accepting submissions for Eulogies II. I submitted the only new story I had to Chris, one that I thought was good but was almost twice the length called for in the guidelines. He said it was okay, but did I happen to have that weird sex story about the young Korean kids still kicking around. To make a long story short, it turns out that “Wow” meant he had loved the story, and after many emails back and forth with Chris, I made it available to him.
Of all the stories I’ve written or have had published, I get the most comments about Chiyoung and Dongsun’s Song. Men almost always laugh when discussing the story with me and women usually have only a one word comment - and it isn’t “Wow”.
And, in case you are wondering, the answer is no, my wife hasn’t read Chiyoung and Dongsun’s song.
Stay tuned for the final guest post from Monica O'Rouke
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