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Lyle Blake Smythers

answers the Usual Questions

Writer Lyle Blake Smythers, photograph courtesy of the author; x

Lyle Blake Smythers

Has your interaction with fans, for example, at conventions, affected your work?

I was fortunate enough to be given two time slots as a participant in the May 2012 Balticon event, because Pink Narcissus Press had just published my first novel, Feasting With Panthers. One slot was for a reading from the book and one was to sign copies of the book. Both events were very sparsely attended, and two copies of the book were sold to friends of mine. I consider it a good thing to have such a harsh introduction to reality so early in the life of my book, because it has failed to set the world on fire. :)

Is there any particular incident (a letter, a meeting, a comment that stands out?

People whose judgment I respect, including published writers like Ash Krafton, have said some very nice things in print (well, on web sites) about the book. I met her for the first time at that same Balticon, and she later gave me this Amazon review: "Feasting with Panthers did for me what every book should do -- take me somewhere I'd never go on my own. It's a huge bonus when the author incorporates a special sense of humor, one which I'd previously thought only I possessed. The man's imagination is boundless and convoluted and rich with intelligence of wit. A tale of warriors and wizards, poets and prophecies, I found this a cozy and compulsory read ... and I found something to love on every page."

Do you have a favourite author or book (or writer or film or series) that has influenced you or that you return to?

My tastes are all-encompassing but the writers to whom I compare my book, rather arrogantly, are Michael Moorcock, Peter S. Beagle, and Ursula K. Le Guin. Every time I say that, I expect to be struck down by a hubris-seeking thunderbolt.

Who is the person you would most like to be trapped in a lift with? or a spaceship?

Tonight I'm going to say Stephen Fry, that darling amazing man. Because of the things he would say and the way he would say them. He strikes me as a person who would never run out of stories or grow tiresome.

Who is the person you would most DISlike to be trapped in a lift with? Or a spaceship?

Some right-wing neo-Nazi. Probably Rush Limbaugh. I'm sure I don't have to explain that answer. :)

What would you pack for space? (Is there a food, beverage, book, teddy bear, etc that you couldn't do without?)

All the obvious desert island book choices. Complete plays of Shakespeare. Alice In Wonderland. As much Sherlock Holmes as there is room for. Fat poetry anthologies. William Butler Yeats. Robert Frost. Emily Dickinson. Mint chocolate chip ice cream. Every movie ever made. I think that's it.

What is the most important thing you would like to get/achieve from your work?

Wider readership and a sense that people "get" or appreciate my work. It's not about the money. Although money would be nice.

What is the special satisfaction of your work?

Putting words together to create something that's effective, something that did not exist before. The artist Seurat, in Sondheim's Sunday In The Park With George, sings, "Look, I made a hat / Where there never was a hat." That is satisfaction.

submitted by Lyle Blake Smythers

12 October 2013

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Just the facts:
Born: Fort Jackson, S.C.
Resides: Alexandria, Va (right outside Washington, D.C.)
Bibliography/Awards: In May of 2012 my first novel, the heroic fantasy Feasting With Panthers, was published by Pink Narcissus Press; in 2011 my story Monsters So Fair was included in the Pink Narcissus original anthology Queer Fish. I have published fiction, poetry, satire and literary criticism in Manscape, FirstHand, Playguy, The William and Mary Review, Insights, School Library Journal and Children's Literature Review.

Web site: Facebook


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