Jun 30 2016
Part of a series of interviews with the writers for the upcoming speculative fiction anthology, Clash of the Titles. the anthology is the brain child of Glen Bavel, who conceived of an endearing conceit: he provides a list of titles and the members of his Facebook workshop, Writing the Short (SF) Story, use it as a starting point for a short speculative fiction story.
George Nikolopoulos claims to have been writing since ‘forever.’ That might not be an exaggeration, but more of philosophical edge, his Greek heritage shining through. A Greek native, George Nikolopoulos (Γιώργος Νικολόπουλος) has won over 50 Greek and international awards, his most prestigious being a children’s fantasy novel published in Cyprus. He’s been writing in English since 2012, and has been published over fourteen times in magazines such as Unsung Stories, Bards & Sages Quarterly and SciPhi Journal. I recently discussed with George about his writing, and, in particular, his story, “An Itinerant in Carcosa” which he wrote for the Clash of the Titles anthology.
So, first question, why Speculative Fiction?
That’s what I always ever wanted. I read hundreds of literary novels from primary school to high school, but the ones I loved the best had fantastical elements even though they weren’t classified as genre fiction. And when I started reading speculative fiction I never looked back.
Who’s your favorite writer?
So give me a short list of your favorites.
It would be impossible to choose. Let’s say GRR Martin, Robert Jordan, Ursula LeGuin, Tanith Lee, Roger Zelazny, Douglas Adams, Michael Moorcock, Orson Scott Card, JRR Tolkien, JK Rowling, Anatole France… OK, I could go on forever.
Let’s talk about the anthology. How did you find out about the Clash of the Titles?
Deborah Walker mentioned she’d be in the anthology with a poem with a very cool (and Greek-sounding title), so I had to check it out. I owe a lot of my story sales to Deborah, because she’s very often published in markets I didn’t know about.
What made you want to submit to it? Would you do it again?
I liked the concept of title-picking and the idea of the anthology, so I decided to try it out. It worked out. I’d definitely do it again.
How did you come up with your story? What made you choose that title?
There were a lot of titles to choose, but Carcosa… I just had to have that one. It’s a name associated with a lot of very prominent authors.
How is your story for the anthology the same and/or different from your other works?
I’d never written Mythos before and I rarely write horror. But then again, most of my works are very different from most of my other works.
What do you think is the most important thing that readers know about Clash of the Titles?
That it’s great! Seriously, there are a lot of very good writers participating and the “pick-a-title” concept is very intriguing.
It’s said that the editor will make an anthology every year. Even if the “I pick the titles, you write the story” conceit isn’t used again, would you work with the editor again?
I sure would! It would be a great challenge to see if I could make him like my next story as much as this one.
Would you recommend the process to other writers; how did you find working with this editor to be compared to others?
I haven’t “worked” with many editors, they usually just reject (or accept) my stories and that’s that, so I can’t compare. Working with Gil, however, was really interesting and very useful and I’d definitely recommend it to others.
What excites you most about the process, and the anthology in general?
Being part of a groundbreaking concept is great, and being included in such a great anthology is a very rewarding experience.
Did your story grow in ways you didn’t expect due to the workshop nature of the process? How?
In fact, it did. Gil never pushed me to change things, but he did make a great many very intriguing suggestions, and trying to follow them made the story branch out into new places. My story doubled in size from my original submission in the end.
What other projects are you working on, besides Clash of the Titles?
I’m writing and revising a bunch of short stories, as much as I can. The hardest challenge is finding the time to do it.
Geroge Nikolopoulos’s story for the anthology, “An Itinerant in Carcosa,” follows Hoseib the Wanderer who finds himself in the ancient city of Carcosa, accompanied by Cassilda and Camilla, the gorgeous Devil Twins. Seeking The King in Yellow, they become enmeshed in the mysterious city. Soon reality gives way, and Hoseib finds he must desperately cling his humanity and remember his origins – before everything becomes lost.