#TeaserTuesday An Improbable Interview: Harding McFadden

Published April 12, 2016 by administrator

Good morning, my lovelies! Welcome to to another Teaser Tuesday featuring the authors of An Improbable Truth: The Paranormal Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.

 

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Today’s victim is Harding McFadden, author of The Adventure of the Slow Death: from the Scourge Diaries of Emily Watson.

THE IMPROBABLE AUTHORS: HARDING MCFADDEN

1. What drew you to submit to this particular anthology?

For as long as I can remember, I have been a fan of Doyle’s Holmes stories. There was something about them that just grabbed me, and just wouldn’t let go. I’m sure that I’m not the only one. When I saw the open call for this anthology, it was an opportunity that I just couldn’t pass up. I threw myself into this little piece, and gave it my all. I tried to do good service to the legacy of these characters, while still making the story decidedly mine. I hope that I managed to pull it off.

2. Tell us a little about your story.

When I saw that this was a call for a horror-themed Holmes collection, it seemed just right to make everything about it horrific. I think I’ve written somewhere else that I’m kind of a snob when it comes to horror. I want something that will stick with me, that will wake me up at night. I don’t know if I’ve managed to do that with this, but I’ve certainly tried for it. What I’ve cobbled together is an adventure for the Great Detective that puts him not just into a terribly situation, but that drops him into a nightmarish world. I wanted it to be unsettling, self-contained, but with enough action to keep the narrative flow moving. In short: I wanted to entertain anybody that happens to read it. Modern anthologies are a real mixed bag for me. It seems to me that if I can find any collection where about a quarter of the stories in it are worth reading, then it’s a good book. I hope that when the book is read, that the readers hold it up to praise as one of the few without a single clunker in it.

3. Who’s your favorite Sherlock?

Jeremy Brett. Hands down. Nobody owned the part like him. His every word and mannerism was perfect. I can’t read any of Doyle’s stories now without hearing his voice speaking the dialogue. Though it must be admitted that Lara Pulver is Irene Adler.

4. What else (if anything) have you written?

Well, I’ve written a lot of things, but very few that are available to the public. Lucky for the public. I remember writing things as a later teenager, or twenty- something that I thought were  just world-shaking. Bunch of junk. I remember reading an introduction to a Dean Koontz reprint  where he said he found himself making Clint Eastwood faces rereading some of his older stuff. Holy  jeez, do I understand. After fifteen years of rejections, though, I did manage to get printed for  the first time two years ago. Those things that I have gotten printed are available in a few  places. The short story “Trampled” has been published twice, first on everydayfiction.com then in  the August issue of Mystic Signals; “The Last of the Damned” was likewise printed on  everydayfiction.com; one of my personal favorites, “Those Things Held Most Dear,” a story about a dragon named Rainbow that  my wife really likes, is available in Carol Hightshoe’s Dragon’s Hoard anthology; a short  Lovecraftian story, “Casual Blasphemies” is available in H. David Blalock’s The Idolaters of  Cthulhu anthology; and there’s a piece of flash fiction called “The Hen and Jimminy” is due in the December issue of Cyclopean e-zine. Add to that “The Adventure of the Slow Death,” and there’s my complete resume. If you decide to seek out all of these, thank you  very much. I hope that you don’t regret it.

5. Where can we find you online?

Full disclosure: I’m fairly technologically backward. As such, I do not have a facebook account, nor anything for myspace, twitter, whatever else there might be. If you want to look for me, the only real place is on Amazon, where there is a small Authors Page. Well, that’s about it. I hope that you enjoy the book, wherever you are…

THE IMPROBABLE TRUTH: THE ADVENTURE OF THE SLOW DEATH

It was some time after the Case of the Crestfallen Corsair that the great detective allowed me to fill my late fathers shoes as his biographer. This would have been after the Great Scourge left half the globe a charred mass, the other half a sweltering, desiccated nightmare. Those of us in what was left of Great Britain looked fearfully to the dawn, constantly on alert for our own time. Nine months with no Heavenly fire, and still we shook in our shoes.

“It was hardly a Divine fire from Heaven,” he told me over tea one melancholy evening. I had made the error of reporting to him the judgment of many papers of the time, that the sky of fire had been the Judgment of God. “Nothing more than a particularly large ejection from our sun. One with devastating effect, but a natural occurrence, nevertheless.”

In my minds-eye I could hear him saying these words around the stem of his pipe. Now, however, there were no ‘Three Pipe Problems.’ Inquiring as to why one particular day, I was informed that the smoke did nothing to focus his mind of late. I couldn’t help but assume that it was the constant barrage of ash flowing over the world that put him off of his pipe. How does a man willingly spark a match when the charred reminders of half of mankind float by his window on every breeze?

A small charcoal of my late parents adorned a place of honor upon the stone fireplace around which we sat. We both looked upon it through the silence that evening, and many others. No fire burned, nor embers glowed. Even through the deepest winter past, the heat of day was nearly intolerable. It was through habit and emotional necessity that we persisted there. The past may be lost to us, but should never be forgotten.

With a tip of his cup, he said to me, “I find that I miss them more often of late. Never let you think that those friends around you are but passing fancies. They are the spice of life. Without them, our outlooks are simply… Bland.”

Companion though I may have been, I was aware of my position to him. He had known me since birth, though I would never be able to take the place of his fallen friends. I could only stand in their place, not fill their shoes.

The calm of the evening was abruptly shattered when the four black-robed men burst into the detectives sitting room, poor Mrs. Hudson shoved roughly before them. Before the frail woman was able to crash to the floor, the great detective was out of his chair, his hot tea thrown into the face of the nearest attacker, the cup shattered into the wide eyes of the next, while he used his free arm to right his landlady. Spinning her somehow poetically into his own vacated seat, he turned to the last two attackers, but needn’t have bothered…

Read more in An Improbable Truth.

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