Niteblade Contributor Interview with Elissa Malcohn

Elissa Malcohn’s award-winning fiction, nonfiction, and poetry have appeared in dozens of publications from the 1970s on. If you haven’t stopped by Malcohn’s World you should if for no other reason than to read her great collection of rejection letters.

When did you first recognize yourself as a writer?


I was in grade school.  When I graduated, PS 99 in Brooklyn ordered two English medals, renamed one its first Creative Writing medal, and gave it to me.  I was already writing my first speculative fiction stories.  I was also one of two people in my graduating class to win a Read Magazine Creative Writing Award.



What draws you to speculative fiction?


The literature of mythology (especially the retelling of Greek myths by Bernard Evslin, Dorothy Evslin, and Ned Hoopes) drew me in when I was a child.  So did television programs like Star Trek and movies animated by Ray Harryhausen.  I first read SF when I was nine, but was galvanized by anthologies about three years later and was weaned on the New Wave subgenre.  (Peter Graham’s adage, “The golden age of science fiction is twelve,” literally applies to me.)  For me, speculative fiction is away to plumb the human psyche and soul through the stealth of metaphor.



Is there a piece of writing advice you’ve never followed?


That one should never submit to a non-paying market.  I take everything on a case-by-case basis.



In the June 2010 issue of Niteblade, Rhonda chose to publish your story, “Icarus Redux“.  Is there a story behind how it came about?


I initially wrote “Icarus Redux” in response to a submissions call from a horror anthology that never got off the ground.  The call had specified flash fiction, so I cast about for a story arc that would fit.  Part of my inspiration may have come from a severed cardinal’s head that had turned up in my yard not long before.  I suspect a great horned owl was the culprit there.

Elissa Malcohn Book Cover Montage


What have you been working on lately?


I recently released Second Covenant, the sixth and final installment of my Deviations series (available for free download through my website,  I’m working on a “behind the scenes” supplement to the saga, along with some shorter pieces.



Is there anything else you’d like to share with Niteblade’s readers?


My personal mantra is, “Nothing is wasted.”  I apply that to everything, from the crap I write while trying to get a scene right, to life in general.

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