Here we are again, lucky readers, with an author interview from our current issue, Issue 034. Today we had the privilege to chat with Kim Rei about her short story “Campfire Song.” Go read the story here, then continue below for insight behind Kim’s words.
LSQ: This story reveals little about Sura or the world she lives in, other than brief snippets gleaned from her surroundings. What made you decide to present her world this way?
Kim: I wanted to throw my readers right into the action. Years ago, I was given great advice about reading. Open a book to any page and read it. Do you care what happens next? If so, dive in! I tried to offer enough insight to catch attention, but keep it vague enough to hold attention. I don’t like works that spoon-feed me every detail. Let the imagination fill in a bit. “Campfire Songs” is a peek out of a train window. You can see some of the landscape, but there’s a whole world to still explore.
LSQ: Dolls, especially talking dolls, are often used as an element of horror. Here, the doll is a guardian. What gave you the idea for Cathy’s role?
Kim: I love creepy dolls. I love tales of horror with creepy dolls. I also love the unexpected. When you find a doll in unusual circumstances, you expect it to say something off-kilter. You brace yourself for that moment when you are most certainly going to jump out of your skin. So what if that doesn’t happen? What if the anticipation shifts to something else? The doll isn’t the threat, but you know there has to be one. Where is it? What is it? When the scary becomes the safe place, what else is waiting?
LSQ: Did you have any challenges writing this story? What were they?
Kim: This one came pretty smoothly. Not easy! They’re rarely easy. But the story spilled across the keyboard. My biggest challenge was my wife. She kept demanding more, in that encouraging way spouses have. I heard, “You can’t leave it here” and “Where’s the rest?” Each time she nudged, a little more of the story opened up for me.
Kim: This world has so much potential. I knew I wanted to do more, but I wanted to go beyond Sura. She’s young and there are events in motion around her that are bigger than she is. She’s not ready for them yet. But at the end, there’s a hint that she is becoming ready. She’s moved beyond her own tale and maybe there’s more about to happen for her.
LSQ: Are you working on other projects currently? If so, can you tell us a bit about them?
Kim: I am! Like most writers, my WiP file is both invigorating and intimidating. I’m a squirrel, tucking away ideas and half-formed plots for a long winter. (Except I live in Florida and we don’t really do winter here.)
I’m continuing stories in this world, from other points of view (though we’ll likely see Sura again). The next “chapter” has been started. I’m not entirely sure where it’s going, but I can promise it will be unexpected! If it all goes the way I hope, one story will play off the next until the entire world is fleshed out.
I’m also working on a fairly beefy trilogy of SFF novels. It has swords and space ships, seedy characters and betrayals. The two main characters are strong women, each with her own path to follow. How those paths collide will span galaxies… and maybe spin imaginations.