Q&A with Adam-Troy Castro

Adam-Troy Castro returns to some beloved characters from his Nebula-nominated story “Sunday Night Yams at Minnie and Earl’s” with a new mystery in our September/October cover story “The Gorilla in a Tutu Principle, or Pecan Pie at Minnie and Earl’s” on sale now. Get a behind-the-scenes look at Adam-Troy’s method and madness. . . .


Analog Editors: Is “The Gorilla in a Tutu Principle, or Pecan Pie at Minnie and Earl’s”  [on sale now in our September/October issue] part of a greater universe of stories?

Adam-Troy Castro: Two, actually. As with three of my novels and closing in on thirty pieces of my shorter fiction including all the Andrea Cort and Draiken novellas, this is part of the “AIsource Infection” future history, albeit a very eccentric little corner of it much closer to our current time than the highly charged interstellar background that those two characters inhabit. Additionally, there have been two prior Analog novellas involving this very strange period in the early days of lunar colonization, “Sunday Night Yams at Minnie and Earl’s” and “Gunfight on Farside.”


AE: What made you think of Analog for this story?

It’s a sequel to two Analog stories. Honestly, the venue aside, this is not rocket science.


AE: Are there any themes that you find yourself returning to throughout your writing? If yes, what and why?

ATC: Figures as distinguished as Stanley Schmidt and the late Gardner Dozois have noted that I spend an awful lot of time focusing on human monsters and the terrible things people do to one another—one reason I write an awful lot of horror stories as well, though neither of these themes show up in the story under discussion today, which is pure love.


This is the best piece of advice I have: Write stuff you don’t think you’ll be good at. Figure out your weaknesses and conceive of stories that exercise them.


AE: What is your process?

ATC: There is only one process. Select a word, then repeat.


AE: How do you deal with writers’ block?


I . . . um. I’ll have to get back to you on that.


AE: What inspired you to start writing?

ATC: I was a story guy before age five. I knew it was what I was going to do by age ten. Stories begat stories.


AE: If you could choose one SFnal universe to live in, what universe would it be, and why?

ATC: Most fun ones are largely only fun for a very small number of protagonists, and usually not even them. A very small number are like amusement parks, as long as you stay around the correct neighborhoods, and I fear I would be the guy who did not.


AE: What are you reading right now?

ATC: I just finished reading the crime thriller The Chain by Adrian McKinty. Kidnapped kids.


AE: Do you have any advice for up-and-coming writers?

ATC: This is the best piece of advice I have: Write stuff you don’t think you’ll be good at. Figure out your weaknesses and conceive of stories that exercise them. Read a lot, but in particular read Donald Westlake. And here’s an important one: at some point, you will find yourself with a case of narrative OCD so dire that will despair of getting a character across a room and to the door. You will think you have to describe every step. And you will kill stories that way. Remember that it’s perfectly acceptable to just say, “He crossed the {damn} room.”


AE: How can our readers follow you and your writing?

ATC: My website www.adamtroycastro.com has links to published stories, podcasts, and news of upcoming publication, in addition to many, many rants and essays. My Patreon page www.patreon.com/AdamTroyCastro will, at various fee levels, provide story excerpts, some entire works unique to that platform, cat photos and monthly installments of my movie blog, The Remake Chronicles. I am also on Facebook and Twitter, but be nice.


Adam-Troy Castro’s short fiction has been nominated for two Hugos, three Stokers, eight and Nebulas. His 27 books include three novels about far-future murder investigator Andrea Cort, and six about the very strange young boy named Gustav Gloom. The Gloom series wraps in August of 2016 with Gustav Gloom and the Castle of Fear. See www.adamtroycastro.com.

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