Artist and author Che Gilson is the subject of our interview today.
Hi Che! First off, please tell us a bit about yourself. Have any super powers or secret talents?
Hi! My name is Che Gilson, I was born in Montana but have lived for years in California. My not-so-secret talent is art. I designed my own book covers for my novella “Carmine Rojas: Dog Fight” and my novel ‘Tea Times Three”. I love to draw and paint. I mostly draw cute anime style characters. I majored in Sequential Art in college and my goal was once to write and draw comic books.
Can you tell us a bit about what inspired your story in the anthology?
“Fight or Flight” was an experiment in Steampunk although I chose a secondary world for it. I love floating islands like in the Miyazaki film “Laputa: Castle in the Sky”. But I wanted to come up with an explanation of WHY the islands could float. So I came up with a special stone that reacted to ley lines. I had the characters and setting in place, but didn’t do anything with the idea until the Absolute Write Forum’s SFF Secret Santa one year. The prompt I received from my giftee was “flight”. I realized I already had a world that fit the theme and I wrote the story in a couple of months.
What have you been up to lately? Do you have any books out right now? Are you working on anything new?
I have one novella out from Black Opal Books right now, an urban fantasy about werewolves, gangs, Los Angeles, and mayhem called “Carmine Rojas: Dog Fight”. Coming out this year is the kinder, gentler, contemporary fantasy “Tea Times Three” about three witches who open a magical tea shop in a small Maine town.
I am always working on something. I’m halfway through a sequel to “Dog Fight” and have some short stories that need attention.
And, I just wrapped up a novella, a genderbent retelling of “The Light Princess”, where the princess saves her prince.
I’m always fascinated by where and how people work. What is your writing setup like? Any tools you enjoy using?
I sit in a chair and I write long hand in pencil, on loose leaf binder paper. My favorite pencils, which I use for art and writing are Sakura Sumo Grip mechanical pencils. The fat grip is easier on the wrist than narrow pencils.
I can’t compose fiction any other way than on paper.
Most writers are lifelong readers and books tend to be important to them. What books or stories have most influenced your life (genre stories or otherwise)?
I have read so much over the years it’s hard to single out any one or two books/stories that have influenced me the most.
Raymond Carver had a huge influence on my work. Though you can’t tell anymore.
ElfQuest, which I discovered in third grade and which settled me on a career path I had to veer from.
Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind- perhaps the greatest books ever, written and drawn by Hayao Miyazaki.
Where can we learn more about you and your writing?
Thanks Che! We’ll be sure to keep an eye out for “Tea Times Three”!
If you’re intrigued by the inspiration behind “Fight or Flight”, consider getting yourself a copy of “The Best of Luna Station Quarterly: The First Five Years” and read it for yourself, along with the other forty-nine awesome stories and gorgeous cover art by Julie Dillon.