Sunday, February 2, 2014

Interview with Lou Antonelli.

Full Name:
Louis Sergio Antonelli

Do you have a nickname or what do your friends call you?

Medford, Massachusetts

Current hometown:
Mount Pleasant, Texas

Favorite city and why?
New York City – Because of all the good food. Also, there’s always something to do and places to visit.

Birthday / Age:

How would you describe yourself physically?
Tall and heavyset, with beady brown eyes.  I like to think I’m nimble on my feet, though.

How would someone else describe you physically?
Overweight but surprisingly active.

The first thing people notice about you is…
My voice.  Here in Texas, people quickly notice I’m not a native.  Although I’ve lived in Texas 28 years, I still don’t sound like a native.  In other places, I believe people are surprised – in light of how large and hairy I am – and how thin and reedy my voice is.

Religion, if any?
Southern Baptist. I was raised a Roman Catholic.

Are you superstitious at all? Any phobias?

Do you smoke / drink? If so, what? Any bad habits?
Eat too much, and I’m a workaholic.

Current occupation / Dream job:
Managing Editor of small daily newspaper.

What do you like to do when you’re not at work?
Write science fiction.  Despite my day being journalism, it’s so different from writing s-f there is no overlap.  Of course, the difference between fiction and non-fiction is that fiction needs to make sense.

What is your zombie outbreak survival plan?
You gotta be kidding.  Everybody in East Texas owns three guns.

Weapon of choice:
My wits and my fists.  If I can’t outwit someone, I don’t think you should attack anyone unless you’re willing to do it with your own bare hands, and suffer the consequences. That will make you stop and think.

Do you have any special skills?
I’m a great problem solver.  I like to back up, peer around, and solve problems by attacking them from different angles.  I believe there is always a solution for any problem, even if the solution if to do nothing and let time pass – because the passage of time itself is an action.

Did you go to college and, if so, what for?
Yes, I was a history major.  In other words, I didn’t know what I wanted to do with myself.  I messed up my college plans – I thought I would major in journalism, and then started college and realized the journalism school at that university was a graduate faculty.   And I wasn’t good enough academically to get into a graduate school.

If you went to college, did you manage to pay off your student loans?
Yes, 25 years later.

Any pets?   If so, what are they and what are their names?
Well, my wife and I never were able to have children, so we adopted some canines – the traditional expedient.  I don’t think you’d call them pets; we raised my yellow Lab Millie since she was eight weeks old, and she understands English perfectly; she once gave a dismissive bark before my wife had a chance to reply to a long-winded story outline; she’s been known to give me grumbling backtalk! My half Black Lab little watch dog Sugar learned what the word “burglar” meant on her own; we never taught her.  But if you say “burglar” she will run around the house and check the windows and doors.  My Catahoula Peltro vocalizes little exclamations; just this morning, when my wife pointed out a place where he chewed on something, he looked sheepish, backed up and said “Oh!”

What is your favorite animal?
Dog. Obviously.

Speaking of pets, any pet peeves?
People who say “no” to whatever you ask immediately without thinking or even pretending to think over your request.  Also, in Texas, the rednecks who are never respectful or courteous of anyone other than other fellow rednecks, and who treat Yankees and minorities like crap.

Favorite / Least favorite Food:
Fresh fried clams is my favorite, because it’s so hard to get.  I never get tired of it.  On the other hand, growing up in New England, I ate so much lobster I got sick of it and won’t eat it if you give it to me free.

What is your favorite quotation / motto / saying?
“Friends come and go but enemies accumulate.”

What is the best thing that ever happened to you?
Met my wife. The dedication of my first collection, Fantastic Texas, goes “To Patricia:  The only time I’m at a loss for words is when I try to describe how much you mean to me.”

What is the worst thing that ever happened to you?
Too private to relate.

What is the best thing you’ve ever done?
Married my wife.

What is the worst thing you’ve ever done?
Lost my temper. I think it’s demeaning to let anyone know they got to you.

If you could kill one person, who would it be, and why?
Uh... not going there.

What do you do?
Write secret and alternate history.  It’s lots of fun, and since I have what Ardath Mayhar used to call an “eating job” I’m not under any economic pressure.  I like to write for fun, and for people to be entertained.

How did you get started doing what you do?
I always read s-f, but I learned to write as a journalist.  I thought to write fiction when I was in my 40s, and learned I was good at that, too.  I had my first pro publication in Asimov’s when I was 48.

What is your advice to other people that want to get started doing what you do? Just get started, write every day, write crap but edit brilliantly, and submit. Don’t copy anyone else, be yourself. If you’re any good, your style will be distinct. If your prose doesn’t stand out, you’re not any good. Only participate in writing workshops that are collegial and supportive; don’t get caught up in the “Crab Bucket” syndrome, where a bunch of scrambling writers drag each other down and no one escapes the workshop/bucket to be published.

What are some of the projects you’ve worked on/finished in the past?
Give us a little history if you will.
Because I’m so prolific, I’ve had 82 stories published in ten years, and that’s allowed me to have two reprint collections published already, in 2009 (Fantastic Texas) and 2010 (Texas & Other Planets).
My latest collection, “The Clock Struck None”, is due for release Feb. 14. It’s all secret and alternate history and leads off with my Sidewise award nominated story “Great White Ship”.
I just finished up a collection/how to/memoir about breaking into genre writing called “Letters from Gardner” and submitted it to a small press publisher.

What projects are you working on now?
Promotion for my next collection, writing more short stories, and possibly getting ready to take a stab at an alternate history novel.

What are you reading?
A biography of Theodore Roosevelt. I enjoy reading non-fiction for leisure because it avoid “idea pollution” as I write my own fiction (although that probably accounts for why I write so much alternate history)>

Favorite author / book?
O. Henry. He really used dialogue and twist endings well, two traits of a lot of good science fiction. My favorite book is “Lovely is the Lee by Robert Gibbings, a travelogue written at the end of World War II in Ireland. The descriptions of a time and a land long gone is haunting.

Favorite band / song?
The Pretenders.  That’s a factor of my generation and growing up in the ‘80s. My favorite song is “What do all the People Know”, by the Monroes – probably the quintessential New Wave song.

Least favorite band / song?
Heavy Metal.

If you could do anything other than what you do now, what would you do?
Travel. I’ve never owned a passport or left the U.S. It would probably be fascinating.

Who would you want to meet that you haven’t met?
You get three choices: Alive. Dead. Fictional.
The Pope. He seems to be a very interesting guy, with lots of heart.
Robert Heinlein. I think he would be fascinating to talk shop with, as well as politics
Billy Graham. I’d love to discuss matters of faith with him

That’s the best and worst job you’ve ever had?
My current job as the managing editor of a small daily newspaper is the best I’ve ever had.  Managing a Wendy’s was my worst; it could get hectic and managing the staff was crazy.

Are there any questions that I didn’t ask that you wished I had asked that you would like to answer now?
If you could own car you wanted what would it be? A Citroen DS – they were incredibly cool and streamlined

Do you have a special superpower?

Yes, can put on a straight face and make you believe anything I say – so long as I maintain eye contact.

Anyone you recommend I interview that you can put me in touch with?
Ramona Louise Wheeler.  She has an alternate history coming from Tor next month.  Her web site is I got to know her because she lives in the same town in Massachusetts where I grew up.

Got any questions for me?
How old are you and where do you live?

Thanks for letting me subject you to being interviewed!

Pitch parade:
Give me all of your links for things you want to promote.   All of them.

About the Interviewee:
A life-long science fiction reader, Lou Antonelli turned his hand to writing fiction in middle age; his first story was published in 2003 when he was 46. Since then he has had 82 short stories published in the U.S., U.K., Canada and Australia, in venues such as Asimov's Science Fiction, Jim Baen's Universe, Dark Recesses, Andromeda Spaceways In-Flight Magazine, Greatest Uncommon Denominator (GUD), and Daily Science Fiction, among others. He has received eleven honorable mentions in the annual anthology “The Year's Best Science Fiction” edited by Gardner Dozois and published by St. Martin's Press for 2010, 2008, 2006, 2005 and 2004.
His steampunk short story, "A Rocket for the Republic", was the last story accepted by Dozois before he retired as editor of Asimov's Science Fiction after 19 years. It was published in Asimov's in September 2005 and placed third in the annual Readers’ Poll.
His story “Great White Ship”, originally published in Daily Science Fiction, was a 2013 finalist for the Sidewise Award for alternate history.
His collections include “Fantastic Texas” published in 2009 and “Texas & Other Planets” published in 2010.
He is a professional journalist and the managing editor of The Daily Tribune in Mount Pleasant, Texas. A Massachusetts native, he moved to Texas in 1985 and is married to Dallas native Patricia (Randolph) Antonelli. They have three adopted furbaby children, Millie, Sugar and Peltro Antonelli.

About the Interviewer:
Scott Lefebvre can write about whatever you want him to write about.
Mostly because when he was grounded for his outlandish behavior as a hyperactive school child, the only place he was allowed to go was the public library.
His literary tastes were forged by the works of Helen Hoke, Alvin Schwartz and Stephen Gammell, Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson, Stephen King, Clive Barker, Edgar Allan Poe, and H. P. Lovecraft.
He is the author of Spooky Creepy Long Island, and a contributing author to Forrest J. Ackerman’s Anthology of the Living Dead, Fracas: A Collection of Short Friction, The Call of Lovecraft, and Cashiers du Cinemart.
He is currently working on ten novel-length book projects which will be released in 2014.
He also publishes themed collections of interviews from his interview blog You Are Entitled To My Opinion.
His reviews have been published by a variety of in print and online media including Scars Magazine, Icons of Fright, Fatally Yours and Screams of Terror, and he has appeared in Fangoria, Rue Morgue and HorrorHound Magazine.
He is the Assistant Program Director for The Arkham Film Society and produces electronic music under the names Master Control and LOVECRAFTWORK.
He is currently working on a novel-length expansion of a short-story titled, "The End Of The World Is Nigh", a crowd-funded, crowd-sourced, post-apocalyptic, zombie epidemic project.
Check out the blog for the book here:
Check out the Facebook Fan Page for the project here:
Check his author profile at:
Follow him at GoodReads here:
Check out his publishing imprint Burnt Offerings Books here:
And here:
Check out his electronic music here:
And here:
Check out his videos at:
Check out his IMDB profile here:
Follow his Twitter here: or @TheLefebvre
Follow his Tumblr here:
Check out his Etsy here:
Join the group for The Arkham Film Society here:
Stalk his Facebook at:
E-mail him at:

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