Monday, October 6, 2014

Steampunk Granny Interviews Author Christine Hardy from the Reading Glasses Anthology


Christine is a member of the wonderful South Jersey Writers’ Group and she was published in our group’s first anthology, Tall Tales and Short Stories from South Jersey, which is a collection of stories ranging from humorous to horror. Christine's story was  The Gargoyle Cat.

This year, Christine was featured in the Hypothetical Press Anthology called Reading Glasses. Her story is called The Beach House.

Marie Gilbert: So excited about interviewing you, Christine. Tell us a little bit about yourself and what drew you to writing.

Christine Hardy: There has never been a time that I wasn't making up stories. My first “book” was a crayon-illustrated fable about flowers who were attacked by evil weeds. Some friendly earthworms saved them by eating the soil around the weeds so they fell over. I was very proud of it, and spent a lot of time printing the words out neatly and drawing the little pictures. I’m sure my mom still has it.

Marie Gilbert: What genres do you like writing in and why?

Christine Hardy: Fantasy is my natural home. I've always loved the magical, mysterious and unpredictable quality of fairy tales and myths. I had an hour-long bus ride to school as a child and would read the whole way there and back.  Mysteries were a favorite also. Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers…  I devoured them all. It was actually quite tough to write something in the sci-fi realm for The Beach House. 


Marie Gilbert: What other works have you published? I remember you saying something on facebook about another story of yours being published in an anthology.

Christine Hardy: "The Dragon in the Kettle" will be included in A BARD DAY'S KNIGHT, coming from Double Dragon in early 2015. It was the first full-length story I'd written in a decade and very dear to my heart. A female blacksmith, who has earned a reputation for her exquisite ironwork, has been secretly using a dragon's egg to keep her forge unusually hot. One morning, she finds that the egg has hatched into an insatiably hungry, iron-munching baby dragon. She puts it in a kettle and tries to smuggle it out of town before anyone finds out, but the dragon doesn’t stay in the kettle for long.

"Bessie Returns" will appear in DIFFERENT DRAGONS II, which will be released by Wolfsinger Press on Oct. 1st. In that story, a dragon roller coaster battles the Loch Ness Monster to protect the human employees and guests at a lakeside amusement park. I was highly caffeinated when I pitched that concept and wasn't sure how I would pull it off, but somehow I did and it's a lot of fun to read. 


Marie Gilbert: What was the inspiration for The Beach House?


Christine Hardy: The idea for "The Beach House" came from a prompt on the Wolfsinger Press website, in which an object delivered in a box transports the recipient to another world. My idea at the time was a shipment of bare root roses that would grow up over an arbor and create a gateway. When the South Jersey Writer's Group had a story contest with a theme of "Another Jersey Shore" I put the two together. The result was The Beach House, which won the first ever SJWG story contest. I can’t tell you how surprised I was when it won. There is such a sense of validation when your work is appreciated. “They like me. They really like me!”


Marie Gilbert: Did you know someone in real life that you based the character of Pooja?

Christine Hardy: I did have a childhood friend named Pooja, though she was a few years younger than I. Her family lived across the street from us. As soon as you walked into their house, you smelled the spices and heard the soft, lilting tones of their voices. It was like entering another world. The real Pooja is a lawyer now and we’ve lost touch, but she did have an infectious giggle and was always both very pretty and very sassy.

Christine & some of the South Jersey Writer's Group members                                                                    

Marie Gilbert: What project are you working on now?


Christine Hardy: I'm not working on anything particular at the moment, but I've got two fantasy novels and a teenaged elf story brewing, all set in the same world, plus a children's story about a pair of mice. I've had requests for more Gargoyle Cat stories, so I'm toying with some ideas for that, too.

Thank you for doing the interview, Christine and I know people will love your story. Don't forget to visit the South Jersey Writers' Group this Saturday, October 11th for the Collingswood Book Festival in Collingswood, New Jersey. We will be selling the new Reading Glasses Anthology, and
                                          Tall Tales and Short Stories from South Jersey,

                                                   What to Expect When You're Dead

 and of course the first book in my apocalyptic tale with a twist, Roof Oasis. Stop by and say hello. My pet zombies will be there to greet you.

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