Havok Publishing

Story Sparks

Where do stories come from? If you’re a reader, you might have wondered. If you’re a writer, you might know. But every once in a while, it’s nice to hear where that story spark came from. We asked our Havok authors, and here are some of the responses we received. Enjoy our first issue of Story Behind the Story!

On The Barnstormer by Dave D’Alessio:

I remember the backstory of The Barnstormer quite vividly even though I wrote it five years ago and sat on it, not submitting it anywhere, until I saw Havok’s call for stories of rebirth.
The Barnstormer was written as a deliberate homage to Ray Bradbury, not in style, of course, but in terms of the small town life/county fair ethos that slips into so much of his writing. I read not only Fahrenheit 451 and The Martian Chronicles but also his short story collections R is for Rocket and S is for Space, and in high school I was even in a readers theater production of the Wonderful Ice Cream Suit, and his voice spoke to me.
I read a lot of the classics as a kid. I loved the way Heinlein could put a story together, I loved the way Asimov could string out the logical consequences of the worlds he was creating, I loved Clarke’s logic and his humanity, and I loved the way Bradbury could find the words to rip the emotions out of you.
Many of Bradbury’s tales have the feel of Waukegan, Illinois, where he grew up, and the 1930’s, when he grew up. In the thirties he’d have seen the barnstormers flying World War I Curtiss Jennies at the county fair, taking people up for their first airplane ride for fifty cents; I just took that image, filed the serial numbers off it, and reset it in the near future. The “lost balloons floating free” at the Mojave Spaceport in The Barnstormer (An obvious navigational hazard!) was an homage to his time.
I’m glad you guys liked it. I saved it for just the right place, and you were it.

On Swordcery by Lynne Pleau:

I originally wrote Swordcery in July of 2018 in response to a call for submission by the Realm Makers Faith and Fantasy Alliance Conference. The theme was “Swords and Sorcery” (which is how I came up with the title). The challenge was to write a modern-day fairytale in under 300 words. That short version of Swordcery became a finalist for the conference’s live critique, which included panelists Andrew Winch and Tosca Lee. During the critique, I wrote down their comments–like start with shorter sentences to help readers into the story and provide more background into the princess’s story. Using those comments, I later lengthened the story and submitted it to Havok.

On Worth Saving by Stephanie Scissom:

I’d just binged watched The Haunting of Hill House and I loved the character Nell. One particularly haunting scene showed her as a girl. She was right there, and no one could see her. That made me think of my Hazel character, who felt the same, that no one saw her.

I love nature shows, especially the ones that cover weird stuff like rolling frogs, exploding insects, or blooming deserts. The thought of what lies dormant in the earth waiting for rain to bring it back to life sparked the story for Dune Buggy Dash. Rain patterns are shifting. What if something that has been dormant for centuries decides to wake up? 

On Bitten by  Jessi L. Roberts

Bitten came about because I had a story I was going to post on my blog. In the story, one of the characters was secretly a werewolf because his mother had been bitten while she was pregnant with him. When I saw the theme was “Rebirth” I realized I could fit two meanings in, one being the mother’s focus on saving her unborn baby, and another part that showed her rebirth as a werewolf, so I told the mother’s story. In a way, it’s a prequel to my werewolf story.

: If you’re a writer, where do your story ideas come from?

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