Hank Quense, an author of humorous and satiric fantasy and sci-fi stories, is stopping by Dark & Stormy today to discuss his collection of twenty short stories called Tunnel Vision. Welcome Hank!
Can you briefly give us some background about yourself?
I was born a long time ago, married my wife, she gave birth to two daughters. I left my day job to write stories, my daughters gave birth to five grandkids. That's all that's important. I have over three dozen short stories and a few fiction writing articles that have been published. I also have a novel called Fool's Gold in print and ebook versions and an ebook on fiction writing Build a Better Story.
Let's get to Tunnel Vision: what's the hook?
I think my book blurb tells it best:
Live longer. Laughter is good for your health. Read this book and you may live longer. Unusual characters, settings both strange and familiar, and bizarre plots are a few of the things you'll experience and enjoy.
Aren't you tired of reading sci-fi and fantasy stories that take themselves too seriously? Well, you won't find any stories like that here. It doesn't take anything serious. Politicians, Shakespeare, Lord of the Rings, the military, aliens, the undead, they all get cut down a notch or two.
What are your favorite stories in Tunnel Vision?
I have a couple. MacBeth the Sequel is one of them. I gave the Wryd Sisters a starring role in this one. They are out to save their pet Nessie from the Laird of the Loch. Lucy in Love is another. In this one, Lucretia Borgia and her father Pope Alexander VI are sent to modern-day Manhattan by Satan. Their mission is to increase Hell's market share of souls. Then there is Ida and undead chick who can't remember her last name. She's the catcher on an undead softball team that plays in a league in Central Park. This story is called Manhattan Monsters.
Do you have favorite characters in the book?
Of course. Besides the three mention in my last answer, I have a few others. Rhonda Mi nestra is one of them. She has been the protagonist in several of my stories. She works for her uncle who is a life-style consultant in Manhattan. The two of them are plagued by alien visitors and time-travelers. Zaftig the Magnificent is one of those aliens and another of my favorites.
Do these stories have a message or a common theme?
All the stories are about characters that have tunnel vision. We all have it to some degree, but my characters have it to an extraordinary degree. This overabundance of tunnel vision generates much of the humor as my characters react on surprising ways.
What's Fool's Gold about?
It's a retelling of the ancient myth about the Rhinegold. My version takes place in the future rather than in the Dark Ages. I also replace fantasy creatures with two different races of aliens. A Ring of Power? Forgetaboutit. Now it's a Chip of Power.
And Build a Better Story?
In this book, I describe how a process to put together a story. It's based on my own writing experiences and on critiquing hundreds of stories.
What do reviewers or readers say about the collection?
"Hank knows how to take the every day ordinary and twist it into a parallel universe of you-never-know-that-could-be sense of humor that keeps me hooked. Tunnel Vision is a collection of Hank's short stories, which make it easy to pick up on an e-reader (I use my Black Berry) and read a story during any "wait time". But be careful where you read; you could find yourself laughing out loud." This was written by Nanci Arvizu.
Does reading your stories have any possible side-effects?
A. I'm glad you asked that because there are precautions that should be taken by readers. First, check with your doctor to determine if you are healthy enough to take part in spontaneous laughter. Second, if you are suffering from a contagious disease such as the flu, wear a mask to limit the spread of airborne germs when you laugh out loud. Finally, no one should read my stories while driving a car or operating heavy machinery.
Where can folks learn more about you and your stories?
My website http://hankquense.com has a lot of stuff about me and my stories and my writing. My blog http://hankquense.com/blog has several new posts every week. I blog about my books, the characters I create, life in the modern world, book reviews and even an occasional rant.
Here is a link to a trailer for Lucy in Love, one of the stories in this collection