Author Interview: Craig DeLancey

Craig DeLancey
Craig DeLancey

Craig DeLancey’s fiction has appeared in Analog, Cosmos, Nature Physics, and other places. Craig also writes plays, and his plays have received staged readings and performances in New York, Los Angeles, Sydney, Melbourne, and elsewhere. He pays the bills teaching philosophy at the State University of New York at Oswego. Stop by his web site at Craig’s story “Gödel Apparition Fugue” appears in Shimmer #14.

Did you ever want to write “just like” someone else?  Who? 

What day of the week is it?  Wednesday?  Dickens.  Tomorrow it will be Nabokov.  Friday, Bill Gibson.  Chekhov all weekend….

Or was there any book that made you say “I can do better than this!”?

No.  I’m impressed by anyone who gets it done.

Do you work with a critique or writers group?

I studied a bit under Nancy Kress.  That was very helpful.  And I belong to an ongoing critique group, of course.  Doesn’t everyone?

Favorite book you’ve read recently?

I read a lot recently that I favor.  I enjoyed Peter Hamilton’s Pandora’s Star and Judas Unchained.  I thought they had a wonderful sense of scope.  I liked Thomas Ligotti’s Teatro Grottesco for its profoundly unusual tone and vision; it’s reassuring that something so very uncommercial finds an audience.  I discovered for myself Laird Barron and admire both his short story collections, The Imago Sequence and Occultation.  Plus:  all hail the plays of Rajiv Joseph.

 How do you explain what writing is like?  Is it something that you think about?  Do you ever find yourself debating it with strangers?  

Alas, strangers, being statistically likely to be non-writers, are going to think writing is easy, and then tell you to write “a book like Harry Potter” and get rich.  Professional writers usually want to talk about publishing and the biz.  So, in fact, I wish that there were more opportunities to talk about craft.  One thing that makes writing hard is that there’s so little feedback.  No task improves without feedback, and the more feedback the better.  But mostly you get none.

 If you could choose any five literary people — real or imagined, living or not, friends or otherwise — for a tea party… who would they be?

Is this a polite version of the far more ribald game that English majors play?  Can I secretly play that other version?  If so, I pick:  Helen of Troy, Galadriel, Hedda Gabbler, Anna Karenina, and — just to be provocative — Lady Macbeth.

Or did I just cross out of PG-13?  Then I’ll play your tea version, and say instead, Cthulhu alone, because I really do want to correlate all the contents of the human mind.

What was the absolute worst piece of advice someone gave you about writing?

All that talk about prose and symbolism.  That’s nothing but gravy.  Plot and character are the main things, they are almost everything.  But in some environments, people treat fiction as a kind of symbolic poetry.  It can send a writer astray.

Have you ever wanted to let your character[s] run your interview?  

My characters would find me immensely boring, and thus not want to say anything about me, so no, I don’t want to let them steal my fifteen-web-hits of fame.

Is there something you do that no one ever asks you about?

Writing.  At my day job, no one knows I write.  Probably best to keep it that way.

Particular favorites for books,

John Gardner’s Grendel,


everything by Tarkovsky, Kurosawa, and Miyazaki,


I secretly long to be Reed Richards,


slushpile hell,

and etc.?

and the plays of Conor McPherson.

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