The Kindle All-Stars are a select group of authors from around the world who donate their work in the name of charity. All profits from Kindle All-Stars anthology are donated to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Today, I'mm talking with Mat Posner, who contributed the story "The Paring Knife" to the anthology, a dark satire on modern competitive cooking shows.
1) Please give a brief blurb for your story.
In a mysterious future, underground cooking show The Paring Knife has the flesh of mysterious animals for ingredients. Who will win the contest? Who will be peeled away (and attacked by knife-wielding children)? And will announcer Bruce ever stop insulting his sister?
2) You actually feature, in a way, multiple creatures in your story. How did you decide what to feature?
Mostly, I wanted to use cryptids that wouldn't be represented in other stories. But the one, skunk ape, was a natural for a cooking show because the stench would be a challenge for the chefs to deal with.
3) The cryptids are, in a way, less of a central focus in your story given that it's more a dark satire of competitive cooking shows, and arguably even Food Network's Chopped, in particular. Do you think that not having the cryptids would radical alter the themes of the story, or do you think they are vital for what you're trying to convey?
I think the cryptids are necessary for the reason that Bernard highlighted in his introduction. This show has removed a sense of mystery from the world. The unknown, amazingly fascinating animals are now nothing more than grist for the consumerist mill.
The challenge for a cryptid-based anthology is not to have every story be about a person stalking a cryptid or a cryptid stalking a person. I'm relieved that I was able to come up with something different. If I hadn't been able to, I might not have been able to produce anything for KAS 2.
4) One major stylistic difference between your story and the others in the anthology is rather noticeable, in that you've written it as a television transcript rather than as a conventional short story narrative. Why did you decide to approach your story in this way, and is this an off-shoot your previous stylistic experiments with scripts inserted into narratives featured in some of your previous works?
I didn't think a standard narrative form would work for this story, because although it has characters and conflict, its primary source of drama is the same as shows like Chopped -- who will win? There are subtexts, of course. As far as other writing in this format, there's a chapter written in film script format in my third novel, and I do often think cinematically, although the screenplay is not my native format. I wrote plays as a young child before I wrote fiction. I like to tell a story through dialogue; I always have.
5) Please give us a brief overview of some of your other works.
I've been publishing the School of the Ages series of novels and short stories since 2010, about a magic school in New York City. I'm also the co-author, with that gem of a human being Jess C. Scott, of Teen Guide to Sex and Relationships. Everything is at Amazon; my novels are also for Nook; and Teen Guide is available everywhere in all formats. In India, School of the Ages is available exclusively from Times Group Books.
If you'd like to see more from Mat, please check out his previous interview about his School of Ages series and his website http://schooloftheages.webs.com/.