Saturday, 3 May 2014

Interview: STORM Author Richard T Wheeler

1. What inspired you to write your stories for the STORM anthology?

I had a recurring nightmare of sharks with human eyes living in rain-filled construction ditches that were trying to eat me. (It was in fact the ditches that tried to eat me, the sharks were quite friendly once I got to know them. They were however, notorious cheats at cards) So instead of seeking an urgent psychological evaluation, I diligently wrote the concept down as a story seed for a novel. Perfectly normal behaviour for a writer.

When I met up with the Pretoria Writers Group, I heard that there was a potential space for me to publish a short story with them. Problem was, I had only until the end of the month to complete the story. I jumped at the opportunity and hashed out a rough, wildly confusing dreamscape in a week. The process of squeezing sense out of it took quite a lot longer, considering that the source material involved great white ditch dwellers.

2. Tell us what your story is all about.

Conventional wisdom states that the leopard cannot change his spots, that a villain will always be a villain. But if heroes can be corrupted, surely villains can be redeemed? What can change the nature of a man? How did he end up being a villain in the first place? Is there really such a thing as villains?

So here’s the story: Can a wrathful, perverted, murdering, soliciting, financial enslaver find redemption?

Note from Linzé: Richard's story title is A Girl Called Storm

3. What excited you about taking part in the STORM anthology?

The challenge. I’ve not dabbled in the short format at all. (Probably due to the truly dreadful short stories that I was subjected to during the course of my English degree.) I wanted to see if I can do it. I wanted to see if I was able to work on a short timeframe in an unfamiliar format and still have some success.

Moreover, the support that I received from the Pretoria Writers Group was overwhelming. I
finally felt that I had met some kindred spirits, and by making this effort, I will make a favourable impression on them.

4. What is your next project about and when can we expect it to be published?

I am currently mid-draft on a novel concerning an insomniac dropout who needs to deal with ghosts who possess him to fulfil their unfinished business whenever he sleeps. It’s set in Pretoria and has a full complement of corrupt vigilante cops, love at first sight and copious amounts of Oppikoppi. As for the publishing date, I’ve recently discovered that I’m terrible at writing and have pushed back the release date to Soon™ or perhaps to When It’s Not Terrible™.