"The Dancer at the Red Door" Interview: Q #7

Mark Leslie Lefebvre interviews me on Facebook regarding my Aurora-nominated story, "The Dancer at the Red Door"...

MARK: Can you please tell us a bit more about IMPOSSIBILIA, such as where the title comes from, how it came to be and the process of putting the book together?

DOUG: Early in 2007, I was discussing the possibility of a short fiction collection with PS Publishing, a small UK press that specializes in SF, fantasy, horror and crime.

Their philosophy is "to produce top quality (in terms of both the stories themselves and the production values of the actual books) collectable but affordable signed limited editions -- both fiction and non-fiction -- within the field of science fiction, fantasy and horror." They put out their first titles in 1999, and have since won six British Fantasy Awards for the Best Small Press, a Bram Stoker from the Horror Writers Association, a World Fantasy Award, and the International Horror Guild Award.

They offered me one of the first slots in a new line they are starting, PS Showcase, which will be "short, chapbook-style collections by notable emerging writers of short SF, fantasy, and horror." (So I guess I'm emerging. Not sure from where, but perhaps it's better not to know.) The collections are all 20,000-30,000 words, and mine will be at the high end of that range.

IMPOSSIBILIA will contain three novelettes, two of which are brand new, plus one reprint of an award winning story. "Bouquet of Flowers in a Vase, by van Gogh" is a science fantasy, time-travel, love story revolving around an attempt to use remote viewing to search for undiscovered paintings by Vincent van Gogh.

"Going Down to Lucky Town" (Springsteen fans may recognize the title) is a contemporary fantasy about an itinerant gambler and con man, chasing a strange pattern of extraordinary good luck across Ontario, while trying to reconcile with the daughter he'd abandoned years ago.

The third novelette will be my Aurora-winning story, "Spirit Dance," which I've always called a love story with a high body count. It involves my race of shape shifters, the Herok'a, a covert CSIS agency that hunts them, and a tragic love story, all wrapped up in environmental themes and Cree legends. My first novel which I'm finishing up now, picks up a couple of years after the end of "Spirit Dance" and involves the same protagonist, Gwyn Blaidd, a Herok'a of the wolf totem. My interest in putting out a collection was to help promote the novel when I'm marketing it to agents and publishers, so it was important to have "Spirit Dance" included.

Why IMPOSSIBILIA as the title? I wanted something short and punchy, and I hadn't been able to come up with something that encompassed what are three very different stories. It was actually suggested to me by a friend and fellow writer, Mici Gold, and I decided that I liked it. Plus all my other title ideas really sucked.

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