That Unique Window Of Time

Barbara Black Author Interview

Music from a Strange Planet is a collection of short stories that explores thoughts and emotions in a unique and memorable way. What was the inspiration for this collection of stories?

The inspiration was the first story in the collection, “Mastering Surface Tension,” also one of the first short stories I wrote. It had a sense of humour, even pushing into magic realism, yet the subject matter (head injury) was serious. The story also involved an interaction with an insect that changed the character’s life and circumstances. It had a certain tone which became the blueprint for Music from a Strange Planet.

My approach was to write glimpses of people’s lives, to capture each of them at a crucial, intimate moment and to bring these experiences deep into the reader’s emotional sphere.

Your stories have interesting characters that span a range of personalities. What were some of the emotional and moral guidelines you followed when developing your characters?

My only moral guidelines, which would have been purely instinctual and not presupposed, were to recognize the character’s ability to move through a crisis and emerge changed, even if in the slightest way. Always, this passage through an unexpected event (whether negative or positive) was dictated by the character, not by me.

What experience in your life has had the biggest impact on your writing?

The moment in 2017 in Tyrol, Austria, when I test-drove my rental motorcycle (a Triumph Street Triple RS) in preparation for tackling the famous Silvretta High Alpine Road and immediately knew this was my perfect bike. It allowed me to ride with instinct. It let me take on challenges and go places I’d never thought possible. I had just started motorcycling in my 50s and, interestingly enough, I’d also just begun creative writing, too. And in that unique window of time, I learned to listen to my creative instincts, to take calculated risks, and to trust my unique voice and what fictional ideas it brought forth.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

My next book is a collection of flash and microfiction stories inspired by art, music, fairy tales, libations and the “authentic fabrications” of my ancestry. You’ll meet a lonely one-eyed monster who wanders the desert; a Medieval saint delighting in her “miraculous ruine”; a father and daughter saving species from extinction; a fisherman who falls in love with a giant herring …and much more. It’s a fertile microcosm of tales told with a nod to the absurd, the poetic and the tragic in life. The book is scheduled for release in Winter 2024.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website | Instagram

Off-beat, provocative, philosophical, Music from a Strange Planet traces the fault lines of identity and emotional attachment. Grief, tenderness, and longing soak the pages, admitting the reader into the intimate places of the heart: An awkward child envisions herself as a darkling beetle; an unemployed business analyst prefers water-walking over “rebranding” himself; after being kidnapped, a psychologist rejects the idea of marrying herself; and in the squatters’ district, a biogenetically-altered couple visits an attic to observe a large cocoon. From the ruins of a dystopian city to the inner self-created landscapes of a coma victim, this unique story collection places characters at the core of their vulnerabilities. With a masterfully crafted tone and a register that ranges from contemplative to comic, the subversive, immersive stories in this collection brim with humanity. Expect your planet to tilt a little to the strange after reading this engaging, vivid and incisive collection of stories.

About Literary Titan

The Literary Titan is an organization of professional editors, writers, and professors that have a passion for the written word. We review fiction and non-fiction books in many different genres, as well as conduct author interviews, and recognize talented authors with our Literary Book Award. We are privileged to work with so many creative authors around the globe.

Posted on February 7, 2023, in Interviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.


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