The following is an interview with Art Lasky, author of the short story “Faith, Begorrah, and Oy Gevalte!”, which appears in Neon Druid: An Anthology of Urban Celtic Fantasy (available now on Amazon in digital and paperback).
1) What inspired you to write your Neon Druid story, “Faith, Begorrah, and Oy Gevalte!”?
My story starts with a little boy falling down a coal chute. Shortly before my second birthday, it was traumatic enough to remember. When a workshop prompt called for a story about a trip I had taken, well…
2) What’s something that always seems to pop up in the stories you write?
My stories always include humor and a sharp turn into weirdness.
3) Which book/story has had the biggest influence on your writing?
Winter Warriors by David Gemmell, showed me that sword & sorcery heroes need not be dour, irresistibly powerful characters. It is okay for them to have weakness, it is great for them to be funny, they just have to always find a way.
4) Cross over into the Otherworld and tell us about a deceased writer you would most like to chat with and learn from.
I admire quite a few writers who have passed. While I can name half a dozen that I’d have loved to talk to. I don’t think craft can be learned by asking specific questions.
5) Excluding your Neon Druid story, what piece of writing are you most proud of, and why?
“The Great Bambino – His First Career”,was written five years ago, when I first started writing. It proved to me that I could write well enough to share my work with others.
6) What’s a “universally loved” book/story/movie/TV show that readers would be surprised to learn you are NOT a big fan of?
The Harry Potter franchise, the story is enjoyable, but there are places where it drags. And for those of us into fantasy the idea of Schools for Wizards, and magicians secretly living among us it not revolutionary.
7) Now flip it: What’s a “universally disliked” book/story/movie/TV show that readers would be surprised to learn you ARE a big fan of?
The Dresden Files was pretty much a flop as a TV series, but I think it’s such a rich idea: a wizard who has all of our normal everyday problems such as love life, family and making a living, plus those of a wizard always trying to do the right thing though often overmatched by his foes.
8) What do you do when you’re NOT writing?
When I’m not writing or reading, I can be found jogging in Central Park (unless the snow is too deep), hanging out at the American Museum of Natural History, babysitting my grandkids, and first and foremost – spending time with my wonderful wife.
9) What writing project(s) are you currently working on?
I have just finished a Novelette, it is an Urban Fantasy about a New York City civil servant whose job is, in short, a social worker for ghosts. Any publishers out there? Please find me.
10) Excluding your own marvelous contribution, what was your favorite Neon Druid story, and why?
My (second (ha ha)) favorite was “The Flat above the Wynd”. I liked it for the setting, for the Urban Magic element, and for the use of logic and quick thinking to out maneuver brute magical strength. Not to mention it’s an exciting story.
Art is a retired computer programmer. After forty years of writing in COBOL and Assembler he decided to try writing in English; it’s much harder than it looks. He lives in New York City with his wife/muse and regularly visiting grandkids. Art’s had stories published in Drunken Boat, Third Flat Iron Anthologies, The Lane of Unusual Traders, Fall Into Fantasy, The Rabbit Hole, Crypt-Gnats and Home Planet News Online. You can contact him at ALASKY9679@YAHOO.COM