Does the where and when of this story matter?
Not at all. You could imagine it to be past, present, local, foreign, or on some futuristic alien world, but I think no matter which it is, the essence remains the same. While I was writing it I had no specific location or time in mind and even reading it back now I wouldn’t be able to provide details. I prefer to leave it up to individual imagination, because that way whatever message people read within the story can be applied to them, in their own personal situations.
I love how you have suggested action without providing much actual movement. There is a whole world beyond this room. How or why did you decide to limit the story to here?
I think the power of the story comes from the unknown and I decided on vagueness so that it wouldn’t be overpowered by backstory or information. I suppose that you could say the world outside and even the identities of the people are unimportant. It is what happens, the feelings and reactions, that mean the most.
What importance do names play in a story? What happens when we don’t name our characters (or when we do)?
I find that when you read a name in a story, you automatically make assumptions about the character. It’s not a bad thing of course, as many writers, including myself, will often spend a long time coming up with the perfect names for their characters that they feel fit their personalities and objectives, but sometimes, as in “They Live in Black and White,” not naming characters can be a powerful tool. It forces you to see the character through their actions, thoughts and situations with no prior assumptions about them. On the other hand though, when a character is named you can identify and see them as a person. When they are not, you see them only as a concept and in some stories that can make you feel detached from whatever they are going through. Each has positive results, and drawbacks, so sometimes you just have to decide which works best for the specific story.
What else are you working on right now?
I’ve just graduated from university and am currently dedicating myself to writing full-time. I’ve managed to get published in several wonderful journals and anthologies since I graduated and at the moment I’m just trying to keep that success going. I recently started work on a novel that, knowing my fickle mind, is probably a few years away from completion but I reckon with enough coffee and blind hope, it will eventually get done.
What have you read recently that you loved to pieces?
I find myself flinching away from the stacks of books by my bed at this question! At the moment I am reading through all my impulse buys that were never read which means I am suffering through such things as War and Peace (and I’m a fan of the classics, but W&P is painfully dull). However, a few months ago, I read The Book Thief by Markus Zusak and then for days afterwards, burst into tears every time I thought about it. It is one of the most beautiful, tragic stories I have ever read, one of those wonderful books that manages to lift your heart while simultaneously bashing it with a hammer. In a good way of course.