#TeaserTuesday: An Improbable Interview – Thomas Fortenberry

Good morning, my lovelies! Welcome to Tuesday…my least favorite day of the week.

I have something pretty for you today. Well, actually this stuff was supposed to go live six months ago and in my postpartum lunacy (new babies mean never sleeping, you know) I didn’t realize I’d left them in draft form. [Cue failure music here]

Back in October, a bunch of us chickens got together and, with the help of Mocha Memoirs Press and our lovely editor-chick A.C. Thompson, released a fun little anthology called An Improbable Truth: The Paranormal Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. You might have heard of it. You might not. Either way, you should, because it’s fantastic. Here’s the gorgeous cover, courtesy of the lovely Anne Rosario:


Now for the tasty tidbits… I have some fun stuff for you guys to read. First up, I’ll be picking on brother-in-arms Thomas Fortenberry. His story The Hunt of the Red Boar is probably one of my favorites in the book (aside from my own, of course…). I’d like everyone to meet him, then take a peek at his unusual, little tale.


1. What drew you to submit to this particular anthology?
Are you kidding? It’s Sherlock Holmes!  I spent my entire childhood reading and watching every Sherlock Holmes mystery I could find.  I would have murdered a few hundred people standing in the way of me and Sherlock. Which just so happens to be the subject of my next meta-fiction….
2. Tell us a little about your story.
My particular story, “The Hunt for the Red Boar,” lies at the intersection of Lovecraft and Doyle.  Since this anthology focused on the supernatural, I wanted to link it to my personal favorite and perhaps the greatest darkverse there is… the Cthulhu Mythos. Also, given the timeframe of Holmes, it was a perfect match historically.  These two pulp serial or “penny dreadful” styles are closely related. I also mentioned several characters from other literary universes that fit perfectly in this particular milieu. One other thing I wanted to do was have Sherlock be active and get him out of the Baker St setting. Though 221-B is as famous as the characters themselves, I did not want this to be limited to the “bat cave,” so to speak.  Sherlock to me is best when he is frenetic and on the the hunt.  I love to see Sherlock in action.
3. Who’s your favorite Sherlock?
Currently my hat is off to Moffat and Cumberbatch for their masterful modern reinterpretation of Sherlock. I had great trepidation when the show was launched because usually adaptations of characters are appallingly bad.  But, thankfully Sherlock is done extremely well, honors the original while modernizing it, and is such a joy to watch.
That said, I grew up a fan of the old Basil Rathbone Sherlock. But I must admit I loved the more recent Jeremy Brett version on TV and enjoyed the steampunkish cinematic interpretations starring Robert Downey, Jr.
4. What else (if anything) have you written?
I have been writing since childhood and wrote my first novels in fourth grade. My mother was an English teacher, so what else would you expect?  I have written in every genre from fiction to nonfiction, including comic books, SF, horror, adventure, mystery, history, poetry, and plays, tele- and screenplays.  There is a more expansive literary biography on my website.
5. Where can we find you online? 


Of all the myriad cases we have undertaken, there are only a few I have witnessed that have baffled my partner’s logic. This was one of our more troubling cases, for many reasons, not the least among them the failures in science it heralded. I have pondered recording it for many years. It probably should not have been written down, and in fact Holmes urged me to never do so. But I fear it. I must address it. I must reveal the facts in the hopes that it makes a difference and helps someone in the future. This is the one case that fundamentally shook me to the core.

It happened that I was present at the outset of this case, having arrived quite early for breakfast and to gather Holmes for an arduous undertaking. It was a trip to visit my Mary’s family on the occasion of an important gathering. There was an event, more of which later, that we wished him to partake in and for which I had spent the better part of two weeks convincing him, against vehement opposition, to attend.

Fate intervened, as it often does when in Sherlock’s company.

He had been dragging his feet all through the early hours, discoursing on various topics and news of note. He was still in his morning robe and smoking his before-breakfast pipe. I knew this was typically composed of leavings from the day before, but witnessing him pulling multiple plugs and crumbled leaves from the sizable mound on the corner of the mantle-piece to repack the pipe time and again, I realized that he had been amassing this collection of dried dottels for at least a week, and most probably the entire two weeks I had spent convincing him to accompany me.

Reclining once more upon the lounge wreathed in an ever-growing cloud, he had just pulled his pocket Petrarch from his robe and begun a reading of, “Per fare una leggiadra sua vendetta,” when Mrs. Hudson burst in upon us.

“Yoohoo, Mr. Holmes, Mr. Watson. Please excuse me, but ‘‘twas a beatin’ upon the kitchen door and I need to know if—” she began.

Holmes broke off his recitation. “I will pass your apologies on to Petrarch, though perhaps your butchering of the Queen’s tongue with your quaint accent would be of enough interest to the Father of Modern Italian that he would forgive the intrusion in order to make a more thorough linguistic study. If you are seeking reassurance on breakfast, the rashers were–”

“Oh, no!  No, not that. One of your little urchins–”

Before she could utter another word one of the poor boys Holmes employed as eyes and ears on the streets and back alleys of London pushed past her into the room. You could see the soot and grime of London upon him, the haunt of poverty in his eyes.

Sherlock Holmes bolted upright. He was instantly alert and waved the boy over…

Read more in An Improbable Truth.


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