New Author Spotlight: Clint Monette
What drew you to writing stories that move across genres? Is this a new direction for your writing?
For me it was a natural direction to go in. There are far too many words and ideas out there to stick to only one genre. Genre boundaries are a scary thing to me. I would be afraid to feel trapped by one genre. At the same time, I realize that there is a reason that such genre conventions exist. They work, and they can be great thing to lean on when it comes to building something new. Just don’t lean too hard.
The theme for this issue is Success. Did you write it for the theme, or was it something that you’d already completed that seemed to fit?
I had been aware of the upcoming theme while I was working on the story, and at the time, I wasn’t sure how exactly the story was going to close. It is easy to imagine everything going badly or at the very least ending on a sour note. I would have to say that the topic of Success definitely colored my ending.
“The Plague Between Us” is a very intimate read. How did you capture that close-up feeling without losing sight of the characters among the minutiae of their lives?
The interactions and the lack of interactions between the characters was something that I felt I had to capture correctly to make it all work. I did not want to get bogged down inside the thoughts of each character. Their actions and reactions are always obscured by this large weight that they are carrying around, which is the world outside, but they have created their own little world inside.
Your story fits the theme of this issue, definitely, but as with many of life’s achievements, the success chronicled in “Plague” is costly on several levels. How hard was it to avoid writing ‘just another dreary post-apocalypse’?
The world that I have created is still pretty dreary, but the characters have a lot going for them. Survival is largely trivial for them, though they still have to work for it. For this reason alone, a lot of the darkness that normally plagues most post-apocalyptic worlds doesn’t have much of a presence in the plot.
Tell us something about your future writing projects. Are you developing more short stories? Do you have a novel in the works?
I am always writing. For better or worse I have a few novel-sized projects that are either hanging on for dear life in the cloud somewhere or currently being expanded on. Even so, I love the short story format, and there will hopefully always be a few short stories of mine kicking around somewhere.
Where is your favorite writing place? Can you draw us a visual picture of the kind of space you create for yourself when you write?
That is a tough question. I write where my laptop is. Usually I need someplace quiet, but if I can get the words flowing and flowing correctly—far easier said than done—then no amount of sound is going to stop me. I wouldn’t mind a cabin somewhere on a mountain side though, with very limited Internet access.
What’s the question that you wish someone would ask, but no one ever has?
Why is writing so important to you?
What’s the answer to that question?
It gives the ideas in my head a place to live, breathe, and be real. Everything that can be experienced by another person becomes real, and if a thought or idea only ever exists in my mind, then there is little purpose to it. Writing it down gives it purpose, and it even gives it some level of permanence. I get anxious when an idea exists for too long in my head. Writing for me is a release valve on the imagination.
Is there anything I didn’t ask that you think is important or that readers might want to know?
If anyone is interested in seeing more of my writing you can always check out www.clintmonette.com – I try to do some interesting stuff over there.