In Fabula-divino Blog Hop

Today I’m hosting two ToC buddies from the In Fabula-divino anthology. Tony Owens and A.E. Decker talk about their experience with In Fabula-divino. First up, A. E. Decker, who wrote “In the Wood”.


1. What was your inspiration for the story?

I talk about this in my afterword for the story, actually. My inspiration was an illustration from Snow White where the huntsman was portrayed in a different way then I’d ever seen before: young, wearing a long coat, and indifferent to Snow’s plight. Although I’ve never seen that picture since, I keep putting that huntsman in my stories. He’s a were-saber-tooth tiger in my current YA novel, in fact. And if anyone has a Snow White illustration book with that picture in it, please let me know! I’d love to see it again.

2. How different has the In Fabula-divino journey been from what you expected when you first submitted your story?

The In Fabula-divino journey was fairly like I expected; a lot of editing and changing and occasional banging of the head against the wall. I didn’t know which parts Nicole would want to keep and which she’d think were worth saving, so it was a fascinating process developing the story under her guidance. I believe she had a much clearer idea than I did of the direction it should go in. I wonder if I could hire her for all my work, in fact?

3. What is the best thing about having your story in this anthology?

This is the second anthology I’ve gotten a story in, (the first, BTW is World Weaver Press’s Specter Spectacular anthology) and I must say I just love anthologies, both for personal reading pleasure and for the joy of being in company with other fine writers. In anthologies, I always feel the various parts strengthen the whole. What I particularly like about this anthology is the feeling of freshness about it, as if all the authors were challenged to write something they might not have done left to their own devices.

4. Is there anything scary about having your story in the anthology?

There’s always the nagging fear that people will read all the stories and decide that yours is the crap one. But that’s just general writer paranoia. In truth, it’s all good. Very good.

5. What was the most important thing you learnt during the In Fabula-divino process?

I got a good lesson on not underestimating the importance of character motivation, even if that character never appears on the page. I tend to write on the fly, as it were, so what I put on the page sometimes resembles a sort of gumbo. It was good discipline to have to step back and consider the separate ingredients, and I’ve tried to apply that thinking to my work since.

In the Woods

by A. E. Decker

“Felicia told you to do what?”

“Look, babe,” drawled her stepmother’s chauffeur-cum-gamekeeper-cum-lackey, boredom lacing his Northern British accent. “I’m not happy about it either.”

“You’re not happy about it.”

He shrugged. Noncommittally, Snow felt.

“Felicia commands you to murder me and leave my body in the woods and you’re not happy about it.”

He held up a finger. “Murder you and cut your heart out.” He clicked his tongue. “That’s just freaky serial-killer-type stuff.”

A. E. Decker,  a former ESL tutor and doll-maker, earned a BA in English and an MA in History. Then, having gone through all that effort, “Dee” chucked it and decided to become a writer instead, eventually earning a spot at the 2011 Odyssey Writers’ Workshop. Dee’s writing has since appeared in World Weaver Press’s Specter Spectacular, The Bethlehem Writers Roundtable, and Every Day Fiction. In 2013, Dee will have stories published by Fireside Magazine and Beneath Ceaseless Skies. Like all writers, Dee is owned by three cats.



We also have Tony Owens, who wrote “Digging Out the Ribs of Gold”.

1. What was your inspiration for the story?

A few years ago I had an idea for a similar story based on an elite school that sacrificed students to pagan gods in order to maintain high marks. It was, rather unimaginatively, called ‘Sacrifice’. Then the GFC happened and I decided to make it a little more topical by setting the story in a large corporation. From there it all fell into place. Of course, none of this was influenced by my Catholic school education or thirteen years of working for a large telecommunications company.

2. How different has the In Fabula-divino journey been from what you expected when you first submitted your story?

I found working to a deadline quite energising. Like a lot of amateur writers, I’m a world champion at faffing about, so having Nicole standing over me made me lift my game. Also I discovered that editors were human, and could be quite nice as well.

3. What is the best thing about having your story in this anthology?

It enabled me to ‘come out’ as a writer to my friends. In the past I was too embarrassed to tell them about my nocturnal activities. This time I thought ‘It’s now or never.’ They’ve been very supportive and that certainly helps. One of them even told me the story reminded her of the Terry Gilliam movie Brazil, which I was very chuffed about. Though in retrospect, maybe she meant I’m not very original.

4. Is there anything scary about having your story in the anthology?

I guess there’s nowhere to hide now. My little story is out there in the big wide world where people can say all sorts of nasty things about it. Having said that, it’s better than nobody ever reading it.

5. What was the most important thing you learnt during the In Fabula-divino process?

Not to take the readers for granted. Just because I understand what’s happening in my head, or why my idea is so neat, it’s got to get on the page as well. Also there’s that old writers’ cliché about ‘killing your darlings’. I learnt not to be afraid to cut whole scenes if they don’t advance the story

Tony is an ESL teacher living in Brisbane with his wife and son. He has written book and movie reviews for Black Magazine and the late lamented blog Horrorscope.

His short fiction has appeared in the anthology Zombies Ain’t Funny and his very short fiction has appeared on the Antipodean SF website.  His latest piece of flash fiction in the Hernandez’s Circus of Terror series, “The Facts in the Case of K. Klown” will appear in the June edition of Antipodean SF. Influences on his work include Terry Pratchett, Kurt Vonnegut and P.G. Wodehouse (although they themselves might have some issues with that).


Hop along to A. E. Decker’s’s blog: Small Triumphs for her interviews with PJ Keuning and Joseph W Patterson
Holly Kench is hosting me at The Stuffed Olive.
PJ Keuning is hosting Holly Kench at The Rick Blog.

The anthology is available electronically via Amazon and Smashwords with a print copy to be launched at Conflux on the 28th of April.


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