I’m delighted to be featuring a guest post from J.S. Bailey today to celebrate her new anthology, Ordinary Souls, published on 13th October.
I have a confession to make.
I enjoy writing short stories much more than I enjoy writing novels.
To me, a short story is something magical. Unlike novels, they tend to pack a heavy punch in a small amount of space. Some of my favorite short stories, in no particular order, are “Skin” by Roald Dahl, which involves a tattoo created by a famous artist and the people who want to buy it off a man’s back; “A Good Man is Hard to Find” by Flannery O’Connor, which involves a family vacation disrupted by an escaped killer; and “The Telltale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe, which is of course that classic tale of insanity and murder.
Each of these stories is horrifying in its simplicity and leaves the skin crawling. In other words, they exemplify what I love the most in this medium of fiction.
I’d been considering writing a short story anthology for several years, and when I wrote myself into a rut working on the third novel of The Chronicles of Servitude, I knew the time was right for me to put my short-story-writing skills to the test. Thus, Ordinary Souls was born.
I knew going in that I didn’t want to write the same story over and over again. I wanted to be experimental and try different things I hadn’t done before. I took some inspiration from the alternative rock band Muse (specifically their album The Resistance, which features songs incorporating melodies by Chopin and Saint-Saens, in addition to a three-part space-themed symphony about mankind leaving Earth to travel to the stars). An album is kind of like a short story anthology, and I figured that if Muse could take a no-holds-barred approach to writing songs, then I could do the same with my stories.
For example, the first story appearing in Ordinary Souls, a 12,000-word novella called “The Mirror,” takes place entirely in the UK. Since I have (unfortunately) never set foot upon British soil, I had to conduct so much research I thought I would lose my mind. (Seriously, you folk have a different word for everything!) Ha ha, we do! “The Mirror,” of course, tells the story of a cursed mirror and the woman who begins her descent into madness looking into it.
Within Ordinary Souls, you will find a story written in the second-person point of view, a story written as a series of journal entries by someone unbelievably old, a story about a different story assigned to a high school English class, a story told by a somewhat unreliable narrator, and much more. The common thread tying these 16 stories together is the ordinary people starring in them who must face the extraordinary. Because isn’t that what fiction is all about?
J.S. BAILEY is the author of sixteen short stories and four novels, including Servant and Sacrifice. She lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA with her husband and cats and has an unhealthy addiction to Doctor Who and Mexican food. Catch up with her antics on Twitter @jsbailey_author, and learn more about her upcoming events and releases at www.jsbaileywrites.com.
Sixteen ordinary souls. Sixteen not-so-ordinary tales.
Ordinary Souls is an anthology about ordinary people. This new collection from J. S. Bailey features an archaeologist in the future who meets a resurrected woman from long ago, a spaceship crew stranded on a distant world, a wealthy divorcee whose love of antiques turns her life into a living nightmare, and much more.
Featuring nine new stories and seven previously-published stories including “Vapors” and “Weary Traveler,” which appear in print for the first time.
Read J.S.Bailey’s previous guest post on How to Organise a Book Signing HERE.