Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Michael Kelly Interview (with Charles Tan)

Michael Kelly

Hi! Thanks for agreeing to do the interview. First off, how did the concept for Apparitions come about, and what made you decide to publish it yourself?

Thanks for having me, Charles! The conceit was simply to put together an anthology of ghost stories and strange tales by writers whose work I’ve admired. The story had to feature some sort of apparition, whether overt or ambiguous. Ghosts, sometimes, can seem a bit cozy. There’s nothing cozy, I thought, about apparitions. I published it myself after the press that was going to do the book became extremely back-logged. Rather than shopping the book around again, (because, frankly, I’d done quite a lot of that) I asked the writers if they’d consider letting me do the book, and, thankfully, they agreed. I’m very grateful to them.

As an editor, what do you look for in a short story?

I’m not sure I consciously look for anything – I edit mostly by feel -- but empathy is something that I’m always drawn to, whether it’s me empathizing with the characters or characters showing empathy. If a story can make me walk in another’s shoes, that’s a great achievement.

What is it about ghosts and weird stories that appeals to you?

Everything! I love the depth and breadth of the genre. I love the language, the mood and atmosphere. Horror literature, more so than film and other genres, has the ability to dig deep and explore the human condition. I’m always interested in that other side. And the weird, ghostly tale seems the perfect vessel for such exploration. I love that little frisson of terror I get when reading a well-told horror story. Maybe it’s a cathartic experience. Horror, to me, with its deeply personal examinations of that other, fights against the drowning cloak of entropy.

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