At the end of September, Silverstring Media released Tales of the Stop, an anthology of short stories that I edited to accompany my project Azrael’s Stop. It features stories from ten different authors [including a new story I wrote] about the various people that visited the Stop during the course of Azrael’s Stop that I couldn’t get to in the main story.
I decided I wanted to ask each of the authors a few questions about why they decided to join me in this experimental journey. Today I present the third of these, a few questions with Steele Filipek, who wrote Long Journey’s End. You can read the first one, with Wren Handman, here, and the second, with Scott Walker, here.
Lucas: What attracted you to Azrael’s Stop that led you to writing a story for Tales?
Steele: What intrigued me the most was the communal story-building aspect, that a number of authors were working together to build up a world together. The result was a lot of different voices that all pushed in the same narrative direction; fun from a reading POV and fascinating from an editorial perspective.
Lucas: You regularly write content for pre-existing settings. What’s it like to do so, and how was Tales different?
Steele: Typically with clients, I have to please a lot of people and take a lot of perspectives into the production. This is necessary for massive implementations, of course, but here? It was nice to be freed to care about the story and only have the ever-watchful eye of Lucas Johnson to push/prod me in the right direction.
Lucas: How did you choose what to write about for your story? How much was it affected by the existing Azrael’s Stop story or world?
Steele: I wanted a story that could—in a short time—expand on as much of the world as possible, while dealing with the themes of mortality that came with the piece. I read a lot of the background and other content from Azrael’s Stop, of course, but also wanted to see how far I could push the physical boundaries “on the map” in such a short piece.
Lucas: Your story tells of a fantastical journey across the world. We obviously had to work together a bit to ensure everything fit into the setting; why did you want to explore the world in this way, and what does that kind of journey mean to you?
Steele: Part of my push was selfish, in that I wanted to see how much of an impact I could have on the world by letting my imagination run wild, but in another sense, I wanted to mirror the physical journey to the mental one. The most amazing quests are those that take place in the human mind: how we become who we are, and our place in the world. The footsteps we take are the symptom of our need to make sense of existence.
Plus, I find the juxtaposition of fantastic imagery with little old naked men to be humorous.
You can read Steele’s story, Long Journey’s End, and the others in Tales of the Stop — it, Azrael’s Stop, and the official soundtrack that accompanies it are available now for digital download. [And you can read more of my own thoughts about the project at Chuck Wendig’s blog, here.]