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. This is interview number five, a few questions with Allison Friebertshauser, who both wrote The Ghost of a Memory and did all the interior illustrations for the book! You can read the previous interviews as well: Wren Handman, Scott Walker, Steele Filipek, and Nathan T. Dean.
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?
I saw the chance to have the ghost character of my novel Ghosts Underfoot have a conversation with another dead kid and couldn’t resist. Michael and Rye view their situation from such different perspectives, Rye clinging to what he has left and resigned to it in a way, while Michael fights it. They’re a great pair to play off of each other, and I wanted to give Rye a chance to speak.
Lucas: So your story Ghost of a Memory incorporated characters from another project you’re working on in a kind of collision of worlds. What was it like to bring your characters from one setting to another? Why did you want to write about that moment for your characters?
Allison: I liked the idea of the Stop existing free of a single world. Since Ghosts Underfoot begins right after Michael’s death in a car accident, the Stop was the perfect place to tell Michael’s story from his own perspective, which I don’t get a chance to do in the novel. And the rebel in me wanted to tell a Stop story about someone who refuses to play by the rules.
Lucas: Have you ever written content for pre-existing settings before? What was it like to do so now?
Allison: Before this I’d only written in worlds that I had sole control over, and it was a very strange experience to not be the final authority of the setting I was telling a story in. The first draft was very hesitant, and I didn’t want to put the wrong words into the mouths of someone else’s characters, but eventually I just had to commit and jump in. Thankfully, you are a very kind editor.
Lucas: You also did the illustrations for the anthology. Can you talk about creating a visual piece to accompany different stories? How did you decide what to draw?
Allison: As I read each story, I kept an eye out for a visual symbol or a key moment for the character/s. For example, in the piece for “The Ghost of a Memory,” Rye doesn’t exactly get a lot of opportunities for “physical” contact, so that handshake with Michael is a small action with a lot of weight. Kind of like being given a bottle of water at a “Long Journey’s End.”
You can read Allison’s story 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.]