Author Interview – Chris Kuriata

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"Helping Hands in the Acreage"

Anthology: Uncanny & Unearthly Tales
Release Date: Oct 27th, 2023
Preorders: Paperback
About the Author: Chris Kuriata lives in and often writes about the Niagara Region. His short fiction about elderly poisoners, whale-hunting clowns, and translating the dead, have appeared in many publications in Canada, the US, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and translated in Japan.
Q & A
How does it feel to have this story published for the first time?
It's always a thrill to have a story get out there for people to read, knowing these characters and images aren’t just sitting in a Word file on my laptop, but available to anyone who wants to check them out. Finding an audience is the final part of writing a story.
What inspired the idea for your story?
This story started with an image rather than a plot. I started writing about a young girl visiting a field where disembodied hands grew out the soil. That was enough to hook me in, and start thinking, Hmm, why is this happening and where does it lead?
We know that writing can be a tumultuous journey with a lot of obstacles, what is your kryptonite as a writer?
I fall prey to distractions. It’s hard to write for long at my desk inside the apartment. I take too many breaks to wash the dishes, or sort the recycling, or clean the kitty litter. I go on the internet to check my email, or read Twitter, and before you know it, I’m watching videos of people with no clothes on. Making lunch means turning on the TV while I eat. Years earlier, I lived in a house with my parents, and my sister, and her son, and her infant daughter, and my brother, and his girlfriend, and her son… an arrangement more crowded than I’d been used to. To escape the chaos of that household, I’d go somewhere and be able to focus writing for hours… because I was in no rush to go back.
Tell us about your favorite author. What about their book(s) call to you and how do they inspire your own writing?
I've picked up a lot of favorite authors as I've grown up over the years, starting with Judy Blume and Beverly Cleary, then Gordon Kormen, Stephen King, Roddy Doyle, Nick Hornby, Mordecai Richler, Jeffery Eugenides, Tom Perrotta, Terri Favro, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie... They've all written books I found myself absorbed into completely, the text melting into my eyes, not even feeling like I'm reading but experiencing the story. Each one has exposed me to technical and stylistic techniques, but I think the biggest thing that connects them is that their writing all sees the value of humour, no matter how subtle.
Clearly, you’ve succeeded at writing a captivating story for GrendelPress, but we all start somewhere. What advice would you give yourself as a young writer?
All the advice I’d give myself is the stuff you hear from other authors over and over; 1) read lots. 2) read different kinds of books. 3) don’t give up when the story isn’t coming out perfectly. Finish the best version of it you can, because once something is done, it can be improved upon. These are all writing advice cliches, but I think the reason many things become cliches is because they work.
If you had to pick another story of yours to share with your readers, what would it be?
My novel “The Sacrifice of the Sisters Lot” will be published by Palimpsest Press later this year. In 1988, 12-year-old Emery is looking forward to spending the summer cooling off in the sprinkler, escaping the boredom of church, and begging her parents for a kitten. Instead, she discovers a powerful entity lurking within the walls of the family’s home. The eerie vibrations in the wall grant Emery and her three sisters whatever they desire; from fresh lipstick and new boyfriends, to revenge against a local predator. All the while, her parents impose an increasingly bizarre set of rules and rituals intended to keep the sisters safe. After the disappearance of their parents, the sisters‘s uncle, a disgraced TV faith healer, and domineering grandmother move in, forcing the girls to create “real miracles," unaware of the apocalyptic threat posed to the entire town. An exploration of the powerful bonds of sisterhood, The Sacrifice of the Sisters Lot is a riveting tale of love, betrayal and sacrifice
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