Interview with Writer Ai Jiang (THIS WORLD)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your short story about?

Ai Jiang: The story is about a man who has lost his younger sister when leaving earth on a spaceship to a new world. The context of the story is that the narrator and his family must escape as a result of the destruction of the world, however, the narrator loses his sister in their escape due to a spaceship crash. What he recalls is a world that his sister dreamt of living in because of the pain that losing their home caused her. The narrator is desperately trying to recall memories of his sister through reimagining this world.

2. What genres would you say this story is in?

This story is in the science fiction genre.

3. How would you describe this story in two words?

Painful love.

4. What movie have you seen the most in your life?

I think I’ve rewatched the apocalyptic movie entitled “Train to Busan” about four to five times. It’s truly an amazing movie and the best out of all the zombie movies I’ve watched so far!

5. What is your favourite song? (Or, what song have you listened to the
most times in your life?)

My favourite song has to be “Lovely” by Billie Eilish and Khalid.

6. Do you have an all-time favourite novel?

I would have to say Flowers for Algernon. I think it’s a very moving story about intelligence and the way it affects how we experience and perceive the world as well as those around us.

7. What motivated you to write this story?

This story was actually inspired by a prompt on Reedsy’s weekly contests which I’ve just began to take part of.

8. If you could have dinner with one person (dead or alive), who would that be?

I’d want to have dinner with Shakespeare. I think it would be very interesting to hear about his thought processes and the way he comes up with ideas for his plays and sonnets.

9. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

I’m a competitive badminton player and compete at both a provincial and national level. I think it’s very important to have multiple interests in life but I think sometimes it does take some writing time away from me too!

10. What influenced you to enter your story to get performed?

I want to become a better-known writer and the best way to do that is to share my work wherever I can and gain more exposure.

11. Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?

I think one of the most important things is to overcome the fear that your writing is not good or that others may not like it. Every story is worth writing, as long as you write, you will improve regardless of the quality in the end. And with every piece you complete, you’ll be able to gain confidence.

Watch the Short Story Reading: 

Interview with Novelist Mark Renshaw (CYBORN)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your novel about?

Mark Renshaw: A cyborg private detective Infected with a tekvirus teams up with a sexbot operated by his estranged daughter (#awakward) to solve all his cases and find a cure before he shuts down

2. What genres would you say this story is in?

Sci-Fi comedy with a bit of Noir detective mystery on the side.

3. How would you describe this story in two words?

Pure escapism.

4. What movie have you seen the most in your life?

Star Wars – A New Hope.

5. What is your favorite song? (Or, what song have you listened to the
most times in your life?)

The Bear Necessities

6. Do you have an all-time favorite novel?

Legend by David Gemmell and the Dark Tower Series by Stephen King.

7. What motivated you to write this story?

Cyborn began life as a three-page screenplay about an android accessing random memories during the last three minutes of his life as he runs out of power. It won a major writing competition and encouraged me to write is as a feature screenplay.

That too did well in competition, culminating in me travelling to the 50th Nashville Film Festival in which it was nominated for Best Comedy Feature Screenplay.

I had a few short stories published at this point, so it seemed adapting Cyborn into my first novel was destiny.

8. If you could have dinner with one person (dead or alive), who would
that be?

Isaac Asimov,

9. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

I enjoy making short films. The last short movie I produced (The Dollmaker) has over 16 million views on YouTube, and I’d love to be more involved in making TV programs or feature films going forward.

10. What influenced you to enter your story to get performed?

I think Cyborn would make an excellent audiobook and wanted to see how it sounded. I’m also querying agents and publishers at the moment, and I’m hoping an audible sample will help me secure a book deal.

11. Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?

Write as often as you can, even if it’s one hour a week. It all adds up. No writing is ever wasted.

 

Watch the Novel Transcript Reading: 

Interview with Writer Adrianne Mouton

Matthew Toffolo: What is your short story about?

Adrianne Mouton: This story is about a world coming to an end because of the people who have neglected and mistreated it.

2. What genres would you say this story is in?

Suspense

3. How would you describe this story in two words?

Mentally captivating

4. What movie have you seen the most in your life?

Dune

5. What is your favorite song? (Or, what song have you listened to the most times in your life?)

Purple Rain

6. Do you have an all-time favorite novel?

My favorite novel is Dune written by Frank Herbert.

7. What motivated you to write this story?

Everything in which I encounter is a motivation for what I write. Some stories, like this one, just start forming and I start writing.

8. If you could have dinner with one person (dead or alive), who would that be?

The one person I would have dinner with is Dr. Sebi.

9. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

Reading. I love to read and immerse myself in great stories.

10. What influenced you to enter your story to get performed?

I love to write and share what I write with others. I love to learn how they interpret my work and see if I am able to put forth a story to the readers’ imagination in a way that coincides with how well I can manifest it in my mind.

11. Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?

Write as much as you can and whenever you can. Don’t doubt yourself and your abilities.

Watch the Short Story Reading: 

Adrianne Mouton
Levels To My Insanity
https://amzn.to/2Lta6pm

Performed by Allison Kampf

Interview with Writer Tahnee Langshaw

Matthew Toffolo: What is your short story about?

Tahnee Langshaw: It is about a young singer who has just lost her mum to cancer.
Her mother was always such a huge influence on her life – constantly
challenging and testing her, treating her like an adult even as a child.
As her singing career grew and the pressures from the public crept in she
retreated into her music, scared of the responsibility and not ready to be a
leader and mentor to these young kids. But when her mother was diagonised it
suddenly hit her what it felt like to be alone – and what some of these kids
feel like everyday not having someone to learn and look up too. So it was then
she learned to lead and pass on her mothers message.

2. What genres would you say this story is in?

Inspirational. Entertainment. Young Adult.

3. How would you describe this story in two words?

Lead Brave.

4. What movie have you seen the most in your life?

Seabiscuit. Best movie ever has everything you could want in a film.

5. What is your favorite song? (Or, what song have you listened to the most times in your life?)

Honestly too many. But an old fav is INXS – Never Tear Us A part.

6. Do you have an all-time favorite novel?

My mother and brother’s novel that they wrote together – The Actrix Stone.

7. What motivated you to write this story?

My mum.

8. If you could have dinner with one person (dead or alive), who would that be?

Oprah Winfrey hands down.

9. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

Acting. Dancing. Yoga. Reading. Watching movies and t.v series.

10. What influenced you to enter your story to get performed?

Honestly have never heard someone other than me read my words out-loud before.
Was super cool I loved it.

11. Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?

Write something you would be proud to leave behind. Always have a message.

Watch the Short Story Reading:

A story about a young famous singer who discovers her reason for being here through the death of her mother.

Performed by Allison Kampf

Interview with Writer Camille Sanghera (WHO IS SHE?)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your short story about?

Camille Sanghera: This story is about a young woman who gets lost in her thoughts while staring at her unrecognizable self in the mirror. She describes feelings of sadness and touches on how she feels that she must put on a brave face. She is known as a happy and positive person and so she feels that she must continue to pretend that this comes naturally to her when in reality, she is empty, sad, and emotionless.

2. What genres would you say this story is in?

I would say this short story would land in a genre about mental health.

3. How would you describe this story in two words?

Regrettably relatable

4. What movie have you seen the most in your life?

Hmm. If I had to think off the top of my head, I would say Forest Gump.

5. What is your favorite song? (Or, what song have you listened to the
most times in your life?)

I absolutely love Is This Love by Bob Marley and Pursuit of Happiness by Kid Cudi.

6. Do you have an all-time favorite novel?

I love reading and books in general, but if I had to choose an all-time favorite, it would be A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini.

7. What motivated you to write this story?

My husband and I had recently gone through some trauma and I found myself feeling very alone. Just like the woman in this short story, I am known as a person who generally has a positive outlook. I felt that my husband and family needed me to be strong so that they could stay strong, and if I had shown them how I really felt then everything would have come crashing down. I was also afraid that if I let myself be vulnerable and publically accept how I felt, I would forget how to be positive. I wanted to write this short story to let people know that you are not alone. It is completely okay to feel how you feel. You don’t have to hide like the woman in this story. Use your support system because you don’t have to carry that burden alone.

8. If you could have dinner with one person (dead or alive), who would
that be?

If I could have dinner with one person, I would choose Bob Marley. He seems to have just radiated positive energy.

9. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

Apart from writing, I am passionate about health and fitness in the mind, body, and soul. I run frequently, spend time with my dogs and loved ones, and try to grow herbs and vegetables.

10. What influenced you to enter your story to get performed?

I am a strong believer in the law of attraction, and I had asked the universe for some direction. Soon after, I was approached by someone from LinkedIn who was familiar with my writing. This person encouraged me to enter, and the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to see where this could go. It has all been extremely exciting so far.

11. Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?

Personally, I feel like the best piece of advice that I can pass along to other writers is to just be as honest and as raw as possible. Be present in every moment of your day. Remember how you felt, what you saw, what you heard, what you smelled in an environment or situation and use that when creating a character. Also, don’t give up. Writing can be a long process, and it can be tricky to put what you’re thinking into words. To help clear your mind, jot down all of your thoughts in point form, and then expand, and then expand some more until you have a sentence, a paragraph, a chapter, a story.  

Watch the Short Story Reading: 

Performed by Allison Kampf

Interview with Writer Keith Brandon (I WAS THERE)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your short story about?

Keith Brandon: A young girl re experiencing her past existence.

2. What genres would you say this story is in?

Supernatural-thriller

3. How would you describe this story in two words?

Frightening past.

4. What movie have you seen the most in your life?

SW and LOTR

5. What is your favorite song? (Or, what song have you listened to the most times in your life?)

Nessun Dorma-Puccini, This song saved my life- Simple Plan

6. Do you have an all-time favorite novel?

Terry Godkind’s Sword of The Truth series, Asimov’s Foundation

7. What motivated you to write this story?

A friend of mine asked me to write to her for her acting

8. If you could have dinner with one person (dead or alive), who would that be?

Dead-Pavarotti, Live-Terry Goodkind

9. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

Quite a few things in life, but playing the violin most

10. What influenced you to enter your story to get performed?

It is always good to get your story promoted and exposed to broader audience

11. Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?

Keep on writing and use every opportunity promote yourself.

 

Watch the Short Story Reading:

Performed by Hannah Ehman

Interview with Writer Maureen Kellar-Kirby (Jiminy Cricket Has Jumped The Wicket)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your short story about?

Maureen Kellar-Kirby: This story includes alleged communication from the spirit of Jimi Hendrix after a seance was held in 1972 (two years after he died) although it is only a part of the whole story which includes other material that has been condensed into a movie script. The communication is a poem called “The Marshmallow Box” and has been retitled “Jimmy Cricket Has Jumped the Wicket”. This material has been kept secret for 47 years and is now being made public – the motive being to reveal Jimi’s message – “Oh baby, no body ever dies and other mysteries of the afterlife. I will consider it being made into a movie, although the script itself tells more of the whole story.

2. What genres would you say this story is in?

This genres is Paranormal.

3. How would you describe this story in two words?

Spirit Communication

4. What movie have you seen the most in your life?

“Brother How Art Thou”.

5. What is your favorite song? (Or, what song have you listened to the most times in your life?)

Belly Button Window – Jimi Hendrix

6. Do you have an all-time favorite novel?

Green Darkness

7. What motivated you to write this story?

It is time to tell this story and let Jimi’s fans decide for themselves what they think about it.

8. If you could have dinner with one person (dead or alive), who would that be?

Jimi Hendrix of course – to dinner.

9. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

Passionate about – the paranormal and contact with the deceased, unsolved mysteries and music.

10. What influenced you to enter your story to get performed?

My publisher mentioned this contest to me.

11. Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?

Publish now while you are here to tell the tale

Watch the Short Story Reading:

A woman, haunted by the events of a seance that took place two years after the death of Jimi Hendrix in 1972 is still not able to explain the contents of a poem, alleged supernatural communication from the rock star – until now, forty-seven years later.

Performed by Carina Cojeen

 

Interview with Writer Mike Arsuaga (Twitter Short Story)

Matthew Toffolo: What gave you the idea to write this very short story?

Mike Arsuaga : It’s two chapters from my novel COME FIND ME. The full-length novel is at https://www.iheartbookpublishing.com/come-find-me.html

2) How many stories/screenplays have you written?

Sixteen books published. Maybe six short stories. Two feature-length screenplays and a pilot for a TV series.

3) What movie have you watched the most times in your life?

Terminator, Lifeforce, Me Before You.

4) What’s your favorite thing about twitter? What’s your least favorite thing about twitter?

Favorite: Expanded character allowance. Least fave: Ad pop-ups.

5) Who would you really like to have dinner with? (dead or alive)

HG Wells

Watch Twitter Story:

Performed by Carina Cojeen

ABOUT WEENA by Mike Arsuaga

Another time traveler crosses eight hundred thousand years to discover that Weena survived the forest fire. She is the only Eloi patient enough to learn fire-making and defeat the Morlocks. World rebuilding isn’t so simple. He takes her home to get help.
—–

Interview with Writer Rick Danford (Twitter Short Story)

Matthew Toffolo: What gave you the idea to write this very short story?

Rick Danford: I’ve always been a big fan of Vampires and with just 240 characters, I thought this would be the easiest subject matter.

2) How many stories/screenplays have you written?

I’ve written well over 30 or 40 scripts and countless stories since i was a kid.


3) What movie have you watched the most times in your life?

Probably Shaun of the Dead. It seems every time i watch it i catch something new.

4) What’s your favorite thing about twitter? What’s your least favorite thing about twitter?

It’s convenient and everyone is on it.
The character limits.


5) Who would you really like to have dinner with? (dead or alive)

Steven Spielberg for sure.

Watch Twitter Short Story:

Performed by Carina Cojeen

CARPE NOCTEM by Rick Danford

With glazed eyes she tilts her head back. My razor sharp fangs find purchase in a throbbing vein just beneath the soft flesh of her neck. Ecstasy as her life force courses through my body and leaves her own. But she will be reborn. Another hungry soldier for my growing army of the night.

Interview with Writer Micki Hogan (Twitter Short Story)

Matthew Toffolo: What gave you the idea to write this very short story?

Micki Hogan: I have always enjoy short fiction. The idea of writing within the guidelines was intriguing.

2) How many stories/screenplays have you written?

I have been writing fiction and poetry most of my life. I have works on Amazon and featured in magazines like Shadows and Light.

3) What movie have you watched the most times in your life?

Annie with Aileen Quinn, Albert Finney and Carol Burnette with always be my favorite movie. I knew it so well I would preform reenactments in my living room as a child.

4) What’s your favorite thing about twitter? What’s your least favorite thing about twitter?

My favorite thing about Twitter is the ability to advocate and interact with fellow writers. My least favorite thing would be the harsh negativity often unleashed by fake accounts

5) Who would you really like to have dinner with? (dead or alive)

To dine with my husband in a quiet setting in peace without the eyes of others on us would be my ideal dinner. He suffers from Ankylosing Spondylitis and has a service dog. We do not get out as often as we should and when we do it is hard to just relax.

Watch Twitter Story:

Performed by Carina Cojeen

She was the Queen of Lava and Fire. She lived alone on her island. She felt isolated. She never knew love. He was the King of Water and Ice. He lived in a frozen land feeling seclusion. It took centuries for them to meet. It was her fire that drew him close. It melted his heart.