An Interview With The Author
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Readers, explorers, and journeymen of the literati,

In my time as chief critic of Gallavent Quarterly, I have had the privilege of interviewing a myriad of different writers, both large and small. It has been my great honor to discover a number of heretofore unknown voices and to champion their talents to the farthest corners of the literary webways. In turn, I have always regarded it as my solemn duty to castigate those whose talents I find to be sorely lacking when held up against their fame, ensuring that every artist stays true to their word.

And yet, as longtime readers know, there is no writer who has attracted more of my ire over the years than the infamous pariah, Shiloh Wrun. Despite my best attempts (and one successful push to ban a book I found particularly abominable), Wrun maintains an ardent fan base who are all too willing to overlook his crimes in order to read his odiously written prose.

I have often lamented the fact that I have never interviewed Wrun, or even met him personally. Independent of my distaste for his writing, I have always found it important to speak to writers openly, candidly, and face to face. Unfortunately, Wrun’s private nature and public reticence have always prevented our meeting. I mourned the fact that I would likely never get an opportunity to confront him for his crimes directly.

Until now.

Yes, fellow explorers, you read that correctly. Imagine my shock when a handwritten letter from Wrun was delivered to my office, asking for an exclusive interview with Gallavent Quarterly. Needless to say, I accepted the offer immediately, and set out through the nearest Way before the ink had dried on the parchment.

Following the address, I arrived directly within Wrun’s modest writing studio, where I found the reclusive writer seated at his desk, pen scratching away at vellum. Stacks of paper lazily lounged around in piles across his table and the ground, while wrinkled scrolls on a side table curled shut, closing off their secrets to me.

I patiently waited for a few minutes as Wrun finished his passage, my sense of respect for the craft outweighing my sense of disrespect at being made to wait. I idly perused the walls of the studio, finding them to be covered with shelves, overstuffed and fat, virtually bursting with volumes and volumes of works. To my surprise, I found a number of works by authors whom I have also admired, along with a few issues of Gallavent Quarterly to boot. The issues did not seem to follow a particular pattern, coming as they did across different years, and with little that seemed to speak to their inclusion on these shelves. That is, until I realized with a start that they were all of the issues in which I had reviewed Wrun’s works.

Somewhat chastened, I turned my attention to the final wall of Wrun’s collection. There, I found the most curious sampling of all, as the singular shelf here housed a large padlocked case containing a number of hand-bound books that had been wrapped in golden chains. Taking a closer look, I found that I recognized the titles written on their spines as those of Wrun’s major works. It dawned on me that these must be the original manuscripts of his most widely known books, but why they were chained shut and padlocked away escaped me.

It was at this moment that the scratching noises of pen on parchment ceased, and Wrun placed his writing tool down. Without a word, he stood up, and walked over to a side table. Clearing it of a rabble of itinerant scrolls, he sat down in a chair, and gestured to its matching companion on the other side. I accepted his offer and pulled out my notepad and a pencil, ready to commence with the task at hand: piercing the mind of the pariah.


Interviewer: Staying busy, I see.

Wrun: Of course. There are so many stories out there to be told, after all. Some take more coaxing than others, so I make sure I cast a wide net. You never know what you’ll catch in a day’s work, after all.

An apt metaphor.

Quite.

Any works in particular that you’d like to talk about?

(Chuckles.) That wouldn’t do. I wouldn’t want something to slip out before it’s satisfactory. Wrangling a few of these loose threads occupies the bulk of my time at the end of a project, so I’d like to play it close to my chest.

Understandable. Thank you, by the way, for reaching out to us. I’ll admit, I was a little surprised to receive your letter.

Why? It felt only natural to reach out, seeing as I am an avid reader of your journal.

You are?

Indeed. I won’t pretend that I haven’t seen your…scathing critiques of my work, but I respect your devotion to covering all that happens in the literary sphere. Commendable, really.

Well, I appreciate that sentiment. So tell me: why did the elusive Shiloh Wrun finally agree to sit down for an interview with Gallavent Quarterly, considering your refusal to speak to the press in the past?

I speak on matters that are of importance to me and my work. Words have power, and I use mine very carefully. In the past, I had little interest in commenting on the buzzings of minor flies, but as of late, I have decided that perhaps I need to devote more attention to how I represent myself.

Interesting. We’ll get to those “buzzings” in due time, but I usually like to start off with discussing writing process. You mentioned tweaking works until the very end-would you say that you’re something of a perfectionist, then?

These kinds of labels don’t interest me, I’m afraid. Is it true that I work hard at telling certain stories that may not usually get told? Certainly. It’s only natural that an artist spends more of their time on those works that demand more care in their expression. Conversely however, I am thoroughly uninterested in toying with stories after I have completed their telling. There’s no more mystery left in it then-why waste time on a story that has already been told, and with characters whose fates are already sealed?

I see. So you don’t do much editing, it sounds like.

Editing is for people who second-guess themselves. I do not. I know myself well. I find the characters whose stories interest me. I tell them in the way that they are meant to be told, no matter what an interloper may say. I express them to their fullest extent, and I release it to the world.

Tell me more about this character-driven mentality.

Ah, yes. Now we get to the heart of the matter. Stories are all about their characters. I find the most enjoyment in discovering interesting characters and exploring how they might interact with each other. Placing myself in their shoes, so to speak, allows me to understand their hearts and their desires. This is where the tension is born; how can we subvert what our characters think they want, and what they truly need? That, to me, is where true artistry is born.

So would you say your storylines are mostly generated from pitting characters against each other and themselves?

Precisely.

You mention ‘discovering’ characters. Where do you usually do the most discoveries?

Everywhere. A good artist is always on the lookout. The mother escorting her brood down the street-what secrets does she hold? What details of her life remain hidden from her children? The salaryman, trapped in his cubicle-what does he dream of outside his dreary walls? Two lovers, wrapped in their passions-what do they long to do to each other? We find inspiration wherever we can get it.

It’s common for authors to find inspiration from real life characters, or to imagine how their characters might react in certain situations. What makes your approach unique?

To put it bluntly: other writers are sadly limited in their perspective. They become attached to their characters, and are unable to do what the story demands of them. Characters suffer. Characters do not always get what they want or what they deserve. Others get exactly what they deserve, and the result is ugly. I hold no such affectations-I am dedicated to doing what is best. They deserve no more and no less.

I want to pull on that thread a little more. You’ve received a lot of criticism in recent years for your more, shall we say, avant-garde work. Do you have any comments on that?

I do not.

Really? No words?

No.

It’s just that-

I have no interest in the opinions of people who aren’t brave enough to confront their own failings.

Is that a jab at us?

Why would you think that, █████████?1

Come on, Wrun. We both know that the Quarterly has been one of your harshest critics over the years.

Don’t diffuse the responsibility, █████████. To clarify, we both know that you in particular have been one of my harshest critics. Some would say the harshest, in fact.

Don’t call me that.

If you wish.

I thought you were giving this interview so that you could defend yourself from the critics? Why do this if you won’t comment on the charges being levied against you?

You misunderstand me. I am not here to explain myself or to grovel before the feet of my lessers. I am here to issue a statement to the world: I reject your criticism. I reject your sniveling asides and your clutched pearls sensibilities. I reject your pithy critiques and your rancorous, censorship ridden indictments. I reject it all.

Most of all, I reject you, █████████.

What…what are you talking about?

What a life you must lead. Too devoid of talent to write anything of substance, and so you must subsist off the greater skills of your superiors, feasting like a leech off of our work. I revile you. I loathe you. Critics such as yourselves could never understand the true burden of our vocation, seeing as you have never produced anything worthy of recognition in your lives.

I…I’ve never been this insulted in my life! I-

…will go home, straight to your office, I surmise. You will sit there, like a wretched worm, penning an ill-minded work of low repute that will rant on and on about my poor manners, my disagreeable mindset, and how indignant you are about what I am currently saying. I will accept those-but I will not accept the opinion of a maggot when it comes to my writing.

Even after you submit your work, you will continue to sit there, thinking about how I slighted you, but too narrow minded to understand that I did you a kindness in exposing your pathetic sham of a life’s calling. You will stew and rage, the main character in a tragedy of no great value, destined to only brush up against greatness, but never able to experience it yourself. This will come day after day, week after week, until you mercifully expire from this world, and are immediately forgotten.

That, █████████, is the course of the story that I have written for you. Congratulations. Your status as a character here is the closest you shall ever come to mattering. I have no more words for you. Begone from my presence.


I must admit, I was shaken when I got home, and this feeling did not escape me even as I finish typing these notes. Wrun shook me to my core with his words, and I have hardly slept or ate since. While I began writing this review looking forward to confronting Wrun, it seems that perhaps I was too eager in my approach.

At any rate, I have found little appetite for continuing on in my duties as chief critic. Perhaps I will return to it in time. For now, I must excuse myself; the plot of this story seems to have eluded me, and I do not know when I will find it again.

Unsubmitted manuscript of the last review penned by Gallavent Quarterly’s chief critic. The journal discontinued their review series shortly after.

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