Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Logan Masterson: "Springing" into New Ventures

When you think of a writer of dark fiction, Logan L. Masterson looks the part. He's got that look, down to an art. But don't be fooled. Logan's work is filled with lots more than just darkness, and you should seriously get to know him and his work. 

You'll thank me. Trust me on that.

Tell us a bit about your latest work.

Aside from some short stories in the Steampunk and horror genres, I’m really excited to get the final edits back on my first book, Ravencroft Springs. It’s a supernatural suspense novella set in the Appalachian Mountains of East Tennessee, the first of a Southern Gothic trilogy. I’m so stoked to see it in print, and to hear what readers think of it.

What are the themes and subjects you tend to revisit in your work?

I write genre fiction, speculative stuff, so the central theme is the old question, “what if?” Within that wide boundary, I like to examine human nature, our place in the universe, and the progression of relationships. Those are the big topics, of course, and individual works take on specific aspects. My long in-progress epic adventure fantasy seems like a good romp through mystic realms, but it’s really a story about betrayal and forgiveness.

What would be your dream project?

My dream project. I have no idea. One that pays the bills? One that receives some critical acclaim, maybe wins a little award somewhere? I don’t like licensed work, preferring to blaze my own trail, so I guess there’s an ideal project for me, but I just haven’t found it yet.

If you have any former project to do over to make it better, which one would it be, and what would you do? 

My twenties? Seriously, though, my twenties. I have only begun publishing in fiction, and I guess I don’t have the perspective yet to offer a good answer, but for now, “everything.” Will do. I see flaws in every sentence, every scene, every transition.

What inspires you to write?

I’ll be perfectly honest here, I’m not much good at anything else. I’ve been a dilettante, which is the death knell for most artists. Writing, though, is the one discipline in which divided attention can be a benefit. When you make up worlds for a living, it’s good to know a little bit about everything.

More telling may be the reason I’m good at it. It’s the one thing I really love. Stories are magic. They can change lives at best and make us forget our troubles a while at worst. What better thing could I be doing?

What writers have influenced your style and technique?

Wow. All of them. The heaviest influences probably come from Tolkien and Lovecraft, who I reread consistently. The next tier would probably be Neil Gaiman, Raymond E. Feist, Charles Dickens, Stephen King. After that are folks I read pretty widely, but not quite as rabidly. Stephen R. Donaldson, Lois McMaster-Bujold, Asimov, Doc Smith, Moorcock, and lots of comic book writers! Comics are a great way of telling stories. Some of the best are Alan Moore, J. Michael Straczynski, Chris Claremont and Garth Ennis.

Where would you rank writing on the "Is it an art or it is a science continuum?" Why?

This whole question is spurious. Anyone who practices art seriously knows there’s a science to it, regardless of the media or format. There can be a difference between them, but it’s more like the difference between a Honda Accord and a Porsche 918 than between a car and a jet plane. What makes the Mona Lisa and a mid-century cigarette ad different? Placement and passion. People like Ursula K. LeGuin and Alex Bledsoe write with just as much resonance and relevance as the literary darlings, but they don’t get the credit because high-brow academics consider their genres inferior. It’s not the genre, it’s the story.

And it’s not whether it’s an art or a science, or that there’s a continuum between those. The science is skill. It’s learned application of specific techniques to achieve certain effects. Art is wisdom, and its power lies in choosing the effect.

Any other upcoming projects you would like to plug?

You betcha! I’ve just finished the second story in my steampunk universe. It’s really springpunk, but I’ll make you read it to find out what that means. I’m just about done with a short story set in the past of Ravencroft Springs, which I hope will be accepted into an anthology from Chaosium.

Then there’s my upcoming Pro Se Signature Series, an eight story epic fantasy tentatively called The Canticle of Ordrass: Wheel of the Year. It will be an interesting examination of religion and persecution in a setting where God not only exists, but has competition. What’s more, the Powers are active forces in the world, working through their worshippers to achieve sometimes unknowable ends. It’s very closely tied into my own world view, of course, so there are a lot of progressive and pagan themes to it, which I hope will strike a lot of chords.

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