Kakitso, fiction, Issue 19, June 1, 2012
Desert of Trees, fiction, Issue 21, December 1, 2012
Transatlantic, fiction, Issue 31, June 1, 2015
Birthdate? May 13, 1980
When did you start writing? I've been writing regularly since I was about 15 years old. Luckily for editors at that time, my first hundred stories were written by hand on loose-leaf paper, and no attempt was ever made to sell them. In college, I started sending a few out for consideration here and there. Though I managed to sell a few over the years, it wasn't until another ten years passed before I felt like I had any idea what I was doing. Sometimes I still have doubts about that.
When and what and where did you first get published? My first paid sale was to a short-lived online fantasy magazine called Elysian Fiction in 2002. My first sale to a market that's still around was to Strange Horizons a year later.
What themes do you like to write about? I'm very interested in history, so I often find myself writing historical fiction. Although "Kakitsu" isn't set in any particular time, it's historical in the sense that I wanted to explore a non-contemporary storytelling mode. I'm not a scholar of myths or fairy tales, but when I read them it often strikes me that they derive from different impulses than the popular stories we write and read today. "Kakitsu" concerns a story that was designed not to entertain, but to reinforce a shared set of unusual values among the monks. Even so, I couldn't resist including the possibility that not every monk may feel exactly the same about those values.
What books and/or stories have most resonated with you as an author? Why? How do these stories and their characters find expression in your work? I particularly enjoy original accounts of the explorers of frontiers -- whether the frontiers are geographic, scientific, or social. In a lot of ways, it seems that these frontiers aren't truly conquered until the account is written down. After all, Lewis & Clark's expedition or Captain Cook's voyages would have been of little note if they hadn't gone on to tell the world about what they had seen and done. Fiction is largely about characters confronting what are at least personal frontiers. Even when characters have access to the accounts of others to guide them, there is almost always a moment of risk, in which they must take a step into the unknown.
M. Bennardo's short stories appear in Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Asimov's Science Fiction, Shimmer, Lightspeed Magazine and others. He is also editor of the Machine of Death series of anthologies. The second volume of the series, This Is How You Die, will be available from Grand Central Publishing in July 2013. He lives in Cleveland, Ohio, but people everywhere can find him online at http://www.mbennardo.com