Through good fortune, rather than good planning, I seem to be doing rather well so far with the timing of my guests. To follow Nicole Murphy’s spirited defense of romance on the day after Valentine’s Day, this week I have the pleasure of hosting the delighful Kaaron Warren who was the talk of the internet this week with Sunday’s exciting announcement that she had made the shortlist for the Stoker Awards. Kaaron is a perfect example of what I call the “Haines Effect”, a writer whose incredibly dark and disturbing fiction keeps you awake at night and makes you wonder whether they would be safe to be around, but turns out to be amazingly warm and friendly in person. Here she talks about her experiences with putting together collections of her short stories.
I’ve always adored short stories. My favourite anthology from a young age was one called Ten Tales, which held The Bottle Imp, by Robert Louis Stevenson, and Exit, by Harry Farjeon. These two stories remain two of the most perfect pieces of fiction I’ve ever read, and they are the example I’ve always wanted to achieve. This anthology also has “The Truth about Pycraft”, by H. G. Wells, another wonderful story, and the horrendously racist (so awful there is no way I could read it to my children) “The Circus” by Booth Tarkington. It is similar in theme to Richmal Compton’s “The Show”, which is so funny, ninety years after it was written, that the kids and I weep with laughter when we listen to it on disc. Ten Tales was edited by A. A. Phillips, who apparently developed the term cultural cringe! It was published in 1951; I think I read it when I was about ten, in the mid seventies.