Posted by Literary Titan
Stuck That Way and Other Quandaries is a collection of eerie short stories that tell some fantastic paranormal tales. What was the inspiration for the titular story in this collection?
The title story was inspired by a conversation I had with a former yoga teacher. We were discussing frequencies and elevating oneself to higher vibrational quality. The question, did I think ascension was the raising of one’s frequency, was asked. Fascinating question and it made me wonder if the lowering of the frequency sends one to this plane. My story was born.
My favorite story from the collection is “By Induction.” Do you have a favorite story in this book?
Something Lurking is my favorite in this collection. It is loosely based on my dog Finn and the dark woods behind my house. Sometimes he stares, frozen, out into the woods. Scary.
What were some themes that were important for you to explore in your stories?
I am always finding ways to expose and explain the shadow aspect of our personality. That and perspective are always themes in my writing.
What is the next book that you are working on, and when will it be available?
Since publishing Stuck That Way and Other Quandaries, I have had two children’s books published: A Perfect Place for Scary Monsters to Hide with author Jill Yoder and Pigglety Pigglety Poo, illustrated by Jane Jago. In addition to these two books, I also have The Many Worlds of Mr. A. Skouandy and Other Stories from Oakwood Sanatorium, a postmodern collage-style short story cycle featuring sketches by Tanweer Dar, and the first volume in a new series of gothic poetry with poet and author Derek R. King entitled The Darker Half, Volume 13
November 12 is the release of a beautiful inspirational book based on the Japanese art of Kintsugi, written with Derek R. King entitled Honey; Words to Heal & Mend. And on November 26, the release of Volume 12 in The Darker Half Series of gothic poetry, entitled Santa’s Claws. Another two books might squeak in as well: Our Christmas: Traditions, Memories, & More, with Derek R. King and maybe, just maybe, the release of That’s Creepy, Santa! The Trilogy, which includes part one from Stuck That Way. More to come in 2021.
Posted in Interviews
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Posted by Literary Titan
Stuck That Way and Other Quandaries by Julie Kusma is a collection of short stories that are delightfully unnerving. Ranging topics like beastly transformations, death curses, and demon hunters are all masterfully crafted to create raw emotion. Quick warming: These stories do have violent and disturbing scenes that I don’t think are appropriate for children.
My favorite story of the bunch is probably “By Induction”, a story about a woman who fully believes that she can curse people to their deaths by putting their name in a jar and putting that jar in her freezer. When her curse strikes again, she has a change of heart and decides to curse another. No spoilers, but it is a great short story.
Another great one is the titular story, “Stuck That Way.” A father is showing his young boy how to create a corporeal form in parts, but the mother warns against it, because she does not want him to become trapped inside a body and disappear from their plane of existence. It’s quick, unsettling, and a commentary on human life. Fantastic work.
The writing is very strong overall, and Kusma does well to develop setting and motivation for her characters before twisting the reader’s expectations and toying with the seemingly inevitable ends. She also does well by making the characters think and act very logically. It’s pretty easy to understand why the characters make their choices, even if the results are not positive. If there was a weakness in the writing, I would say that the rare moments of action are sometimes not clearly described, but these clear up quickly and efficiently.
I’ll be looking forward to more work from Kusma, and I hope that the next set of stories are just as chilling and unsettling.
Pages: 83 | ASIN: B088JT34CT
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