What drew you to the fantasy genre?
Since I first heard the phrase "Once upon a time," stories of the fantastic were the kind of thing that I loved to read. When I started writing, they were also the kind of story that I loved to write. I love the possibility.
Who are you reading currently?
Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl, which is excellent so far. The latest issues of Saga, by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples, and Locke & Key by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez. I've been parceling out the short stories in Ben Loory's wonderful collection, Stories for Nighttime and Some for Day, since I bought the book, because I'm trying to make it last as long as possible.
What's on your top-five stranded on a deserted island books to spend the rest of your life with list?
Neil Gaiman's Sandman. The collected works of Shakespeare. Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke. The Showings of Julian of Norwich. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle.
In researching you it seems like you play a large role in two organizations with similar goals, can you tell me a little bit about fantasy-matters.com and fireside?
My role in Fireside is just as a writer. The editor, Brian White, is the one to talk to about the magazine, its goals, and why he's using Kickstarter as a platform. But I will say that I was thrilled that he asked me to be a part of it, and I'm having a great time working on my story.
Fantasy Matters started out as a conference in 2007. My friends Jen Miller (currently the site's editor-in-chief) and Lindsay Craig and I were in graduate school together, and we wanted to have a fantasy and science fiction focused conference that allowed writers, critics, and fans a place to get together and talk about the genre we loved. We had a great time, but realized that it was going to be difficult to organize a good conference every year. So last year, we launched as a website. Our goal is to continue to have conversation from different parts of the field, just in a more accessible space.
Now you’re offering a class on fantasy and science fiction writing on Lit Reactor. How did that come about?
LitReactor was looking for someone who could teach a course on fantasy and science fiction, as they had taken a poll, and their students were interested in having classes in that genre. My name was kindly passed along to them, and they contacted me. I was very interested in the opportunity to work with them, and I'm excited to be teaching the course.
The class you’re offering is 4 weeks in length and covers an aggressive amount of material. What’s one thing you hope your students take away from their time with you?
The skill to create a work of fantasy or science fiction that they are proud of.
We get a lot of submissions from writers who seem to be somewhat new to writing fantasy. What advice do you have for those people who are just starting out?
Read. Read everything. Not just in genre, but outside it as well. And pay attention to what you read - ask yourself why you like or dislike what an author is doing. Learn how to take criticism of your work. And follow submission guidelines - they apply to all of us.
A tortoise lays on its back, its belly baking in the hot sun, beating its legs trying to turn itself over, but it can't. Not without your help. But you're not helping. Why not?
Because I have been tied to a tree by the same dastardly villain who is going around flipping tortoises onto their backs.
Where can our readers find your writing?
I've recently published in Subterranean, Lightspeed, Apex, and Fantasy. I'll be in the upcoming Year's Best Science Fiction and Fantasy, 2012, edited by Rich Horton, and I'm in Stories, edited by Neil Gaiman and Al Sarrantonio. They can also hear that story ("A Life in Fictions") as part of Symphony Space's Selected Shorts program.
Anything else you’d like to plug?
Sure: Of things not my own, I'd love to draw your readers' attention to this Kickstarter for Escape Pod Comics. It looks like a terrific store. Here's Geekstarter, a new site that's gathering recommendations for crowdfunded projects that might appeal to the geeky crowd.
And one thing I am involved with - A Thousand Natural Shocks, a ballet I've been collaborating on with Sharp & Fine, which premieres 2 July.
Kat Howard is a fiction writer, blogger, and editor. Her short fiction has been performed on NPR as part of Selected Shorts, and has been selected for a year’s best anthology. It has appeared in Lightspeed, Subterranean, and the anthology Stories, edited by Neil Gaiman and Al Sarrantonio. Her nonfiction has appeared on Tor.com, and is frequently on Fantasy-Matters.com, where she is also the content editor. You can find her blog at strangeink.blogspot.com and she’s on Twitter as @KatWithSword.