The release of Pirates & Swashbucklers, the anthology featuring my short story “Relvan’s Rescue,” quickly approaches. We’ve had some great interviews with the other authors I share the table of contents with, and I’ve got another five for you this week. Today’s interview is with Garrett Calcaterra.
When did you first realize you were a writer?
I always enjoyed making up my own stories as a kid, but it wasn’t until my junior year in college, after taking a couple of creative writing courses, that I realized I could be a real writer. I finished up my degree in chemistry and biology, but then abandoned the idea of going to optometry school and instead went to grad school for writing and really work on improving my craft.
What authors influence or inspire you?
Oh jeez, where to start… Tolkien, Burroughs, Asimov, Bradbury, Lovecraft, Poe, Hawthorne, Raymond Carver, Tobias Wolff, Chuck Palahniuk, Bill Bryson, Patrick McManus, just to name a few. A bit all over the place, I know, but like with my writing, I don’t like to confine myself to just one genre.
What book(s) have you read more than once? What drew you back?
Actually, it’s been a long time since I’ve gone back and reread a book, just because there’s so many books I want to read that I haven’t read yet. The books I have gone back and reread are ones from my childhood, books like the Narnia series, The Hobbit, and the John Carter of Mars series.
In 25 words or less, how would you define “pulp” as a genre?
Stories of high adventure and wild imagination.
What made you decide to submit a story for the Pirates & Swashbucklers anthology?
I actually had a pirate story I’d already written, so when I saw the call for submissions from Pulp Empire, it was a no brainer to send it in.
How did you come up with the idea for your story? What is your writing process like?
My story idea actually started as an exercise where I forced myself to use a painting as my starting point–in this case a painting of a ship with a woman hanging from the railing. I figured that had to be the climatic moment, so I started the story there, then flashed back and told the story more or less backwards. It required a lot of revision and reworking to get to the final product. This is atypical of my writing process. Usually I have a much better idea of what a story is all about going into it and not so much revision work on the back end.
Do you consider yourself a “pulp” writer? Why? Is there another genre you like to write?
No, I just consider myself a writer. I tend to write dark speculative fiction, so that’s the marketing tagline I use on my website and whatnot, but honestly I write just about everything: spec-fiction, pulp, literary, erotica, mainstream, you name it. It’s just a matter of what inspires me at any given moment.
Care to weigh in with your opinion of the e-book?
I have mixed feelings about the e-book. I think it’s great in that it makes so many books more readily available to a wider audience (yay for literacy, and yay for more royalties for authors), but at the same time, I prefer to read an old fashioned paper book. Maybe it’s nostalgia, maybe it’s just the tactile interaction, I don’t know, but I spend enough time staring at computer screens–when I read a book, I want to sit somewhere comfy and flip the pages with my fingers.
Where can someone find more of your work?
I have two books that have been published. They’re both available online at the usual places (Amazon, B&N, etc.). I also have a slew of short stories out there. The best place to find out what all I’ve published is on my website.
Anything else you’d like to tell us about your writing?
I think that’s about it. I’d like to thank you, Kameron, for taking the time to interview me on your blog. It’s been a great pleasure.