Dearest readers! Let us continue our interviews with our fabulous collection of authors who have short stories featured in our current Issue 034! Up next: Carly Racklin with her story “Our Lady of the Wasteland.” Read it here. Then continue on to her interview below.
Carly: Thank you! I agree, and that’s the main reason why I wanted to write this story. Much of the dystopian or post-apocalyptic fiction I’ve come across has left me feeling more hopeless than when I began, and I don’t think any story should leave a reader feeling totally powerless like that. And I’m saying this as a person who loves sad stories, and who writes a lot of them. To me, there’s a difference between a sad story and a story that leaves readers in despair. Despair is counterproductive. I wanted to put an angel in the wasteland because it’s important to me that readers see how even in an ugly, cruel world, goodness can still flourish.
LSQ: Let’s talk a bit more about hope. How important do you think it is to have hope in stories, particularly sci-fi/dystopians? Do you think there needs to be more of it?
Carly: I think it’s absolutely vital to have hope in a story that deals with such a harrowing subject like the end of the world. Every story needs some hope, even if it’s just a tiny seed that we never get to see grow. The planting of the seed is enough, in my opinion. Like I said, I love sad stories, but even the saddest stories I write still have glimmers of hope hidden in them somewhere, even if they’re never realized. I believe that to give into cynicism is the easy solution to a horrible situation, but it’s braver to cling to hope despite the world’s cruelty. I want to see more stories that present hope and compassion as things that can save the world.
LSQ: What was the hardest part about this story to write?
Carly: For a while I had a difficult time getting an actual plot into this story. From the beginning I knew that I wanted the story to read as a kind of urban legend, a tale being told around a campfire. But in its early drafts, I clung too tightly to the idea of the angel as just a vague, larger-than-life figure. I had to get the reader in the dust storm with the narrator to really give the story the intimacy and impact it needed. It took a couple rewrites and heavy edits, but I think it did get there in the end, and managed to keep the voice I envisioned.
LSQ: The two characters, Uzi and the Lady, have very distinct voices. What was it like to build the story around the dialogue of these two characters?
LSQ: Are you working on another project at the moment? If so, can you tell us a bit about it?