Interview with Bruce K. Derksen

Bruce K. DerksenBruce K. Derksen’s short story, Rubber Boots, Mr. President, appears in the Spring 2006 issue of Shimmer. Contact Bruce at

Questions About the Story

Where did the idea come from?
I heard the phrase, (Robots in Rubber Boots) somewhere- I don’t know where but I wrote it in my Idea File and ran with it from there.

Do you work with a critique or writers group?
Yes, I am a member of our local city’s writer’s group. It’s really encouraging to receive feedback on my stories. I think it’s important to help other writers as well, especially those just getting started.

How did the story change as you developed it?
It didn’t change too much. It was a story I sat down and wrote from beginning to end in one evening. I spent some time after that editing and tweaking it a little bit but it came out pretty close to finished on the rough draft. I like stories like that. Sometimes it’s a struggle to get a story to come together at all, never mind in one sitting.

You know the advice “Sometimes you have to kill your darlings.” Was there a scene or line that it really hurt to cut, but cutting it made the story stronger?
No, I don’t think I made any painful cuts on this story. I think the biggest improvement to it was made from the suggestions of the editors at Shimmer.

Questions About Writing

Who do you write for? Yourself or someone else?
I’d have to say both myself and others. It’s very rewarding to put together a good story and be involved in its growth from rough draft to finished manuscript. I’m proud of them when I see them at that stage (especially when they get published). Also, I do write for other people. It’s nice to be able to give some enjoyment and entertainment to others.

How long had you been submitting before you made your first sale?
13 months. On my 28th submission.

How did you celebrate your first sale?
Well, after I read the acceptance letter I paced around the living room where the computer was and wondered if there could be some mix-up or mistake. Then I told my wife and kids and later the writer’s group I go to. Everyone was very excited for me. Later, I framed the cheque and hung it on the wall as a little reminder of how this crazy stuff all began.

What writing projects are you presently working on?
Mostly just more stories and some non-fiction articles on agricultural topics. (I used to work in that business). I’d like to start a novel sometime soon.

What time of day do you prefer to do your writing?
Mornings, or very late at night(when I don’t have to work the next day).

Favorite short story read this year?
Lemmings in the Third Year, by Jerome Stueart. It’s in the Tesseracts Nine Anthology put out by Edge Books.

Favorite book read when you were a child?
I had lots of books I enjoyed as a kid but I guess what stands out are the Black Stallion books by Walter Farley.

Random Stories

Do you believe in ghosts or the supernatural?
No, not really, but I do write about those types of things sometimes, and I wouldn’t be completely shocked if I was ever proved wrong in my opinion.

Fast food: Yea or Nay?
Yea, most definitely.

Favourite food?
Where to begin? How ‘bout roast beef, mashed potatoes and gravy, and some chocolate pie with whip cream for dessert?

Favourite restaurant?
A small restaurant named George’s in our local city. Big menu and great food.

What are some of your hobbies?
Reading, writing, carpentry, collecting paintings, religously following the Saskatchewan Roughriders (CFL football team).

Is there anything that you would “sell your soul” for?
My family.

All-time favourite movie?
Tough one. I’m usually disappointed in movies but I’d say maybe the Grumpy Old Men movies with Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon. I’ll watch anything with Gene Hackman too.

If you had a working time machine what advice would you give a younger self?
Don’t be so afraid to step out and take chances. Do what you really want to do. Go to college and develop skills to work in something you enjoy.

Quiz: How many writers does it take to change a lightbulb? Please explain
your answer:

I’d say about 12 or 15. However many attend our writer’s group on any given night. First we’d have to critique the correct strategy, character (or lack thereof) of those prepared to be involved in the task, the different pov’s from which to approach said light bulb, if it might be better to scrap the light bulb altogether (probably because it doesn’t add anything). Then we’d likely discuss if the bulb should have been changed in the past or the present tense. (Possibly the future or maybe even in a flashback, perish the thought). By the time we’d be ready to do the job, our time would be up and we’d have to adjourn until next week, when we’d be sorely tempted to begin the entire process again.

Speculative fiction for a miscreant world

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