Authors in Quarantine – Corey Redekop

With this this series, I am hoping to capture how this cultural moment is affecting our speculative fiction authors and how our authors are surviving during the COVID-19 outbreak

Spec Can: What have you been up to during the COVID-19 outbreak?

Corey Redekop: After a few hectic weeks of OMIGODWE’REALLGOINGTODIEREALSOON, I’ve managed to settle my mental state down a touch. If you consider that Stage One of self-isolation, Stage Two is the slightly more optimistic MAYBEWEWON’TDIEBUTHOLYGODTHISISTERRIBLE. I’m not at all certain of how many stages there are to this pandemic, but I’m glad to not having yet reached the Stage of MYHAIRCUTISMOREIMPORTANTTHANYOURLIFE.

Beyond that, I’ve got plenty of free time, being “temporarily furloughed” and all. I still work (very) part-time for Goose Lane Editions as their Social Media Maven, so I spend a small part of each day wading through online sites, looking for anything literary and/or marginally hopeful to share. I’ve tried a little baking, to mixed success; my bread is always fantastically heavy, but I’ve managed to produce a passable tea biscuit. I’m reading as much as ever—usually between 6-10 books a month—and I’m also trying to read at least one short story a day to keep myself interested (and to better get through my huge TBR pile).

I finally caved and subscribed to CRAVE, so I’ve binged a few shows, Watchmenand Devs being the highlights. I’m currently watching The Outsider, and I may go on to Penny Dreadful and Westworld afterward.

My usual job keeps me fairly active, so there has been a marked decrease in my exercise. I’ve quickly gained what I shall refer to as “The Epidemic Eight” and I’m well on my way to “The Quarantine Twenty.” The weighty bread does not help. I try to walk every day, but there’s only so many times you can look at the same streets without getting bored. Listening to podcasts helps; I recommend We Hate Movies, Teacher’s Lounge, and anything with Paul F. Tompkins.

Spec Can: How are you adapting to social distancing?

Corey Redekop: I’ve never been the most outgoing personality, so I’m well-suited to bunker-style living thus far. I do miss the occasional night of board games with friends, but we’re looking into online options. And I really miss going to movies. I count myself lucky in that my last moviegoing experience was the excellent Parasite. I have a few online friends who must suffer a lackluster night of Bloodshot to fondly look back on.

When I do leave the house, I take all steps required to stay away and apart from others, wearing a mask when necessary and being respectful of others’ personal space. I see footage online of people refusing to take such measures, protesting for their right to get sick and die, which I suppose is… a choice? I try not to despair, but when politicians advocate for death over the economy — when people argue that their right to a haircut takes precedent over my health — it’s difficult to stay positive. 

Is humanity reallythis self-centered and stupid, Magic 8-Ball? All signs point to yes. White men, anyway.

Spec Can: How is the outbreak affecting your writing?

Corey Redekop: Not much. It’s fortunate (in this exact scenario alone) that I’m a tremendously undisciplined and erratic writer. The impact on my creative product has been minimal.

havetaken major steps on finishing a novel I’ve been toying with for years. However, my cat of eleven years suddenly passed away a few weeks ago, which utterly wrecked me. I’m slowly coming around, but I still expect this silly, clumsy ball of fluff to be wandering around my office and squeaking for attention. It’s like phantom limb syndrome; I find myself reaching for her, and I’m still surprised when she’s not there anymore. Phantom pet syndrome. My brain acknowledges that she’s absent, but my body refuses the proof.

I’m getting back to writing, and I think I can have the first draft done by July. Thus far the book is wildly inconsistent in tone and plot development, there are scads of scenes that demand to be thrown out, I know I’ve forgotten about at least two characters, and I don’t know if the mystery aspect of it works at all. But hey, isn’t that what first drafts are for? My buddy Randal Graham (of the deliriously funny Beforelife) has given me valuable feedback and, perhaps more importantly, heaps of praise. 

Like most authors, I remain convinced and/or deluded that this isn’t all just a waste of effort.


Interviewed by Derek Newman-Stille, MA, PhD ABD

Authors in Quarantine – Derek Kunsken

With this this series, I am hoping to capture how this cultural moment is affecting our speculative fiction authors and how our authors are surviving during the COVID-19 outbreak

Spec Can: What have you been up to during the COVID-19 outbreak?

Derek Kunsken: My day job has been adapted to working remotely from home, so I’ve still been working full time. I’ve also received some friends of mine who were evacuated from Europe, so they will be with me for a few months in my guest rooms. They have a daughter the same age as my son, so that’s been a social plus. And they cook well!

Spec Can: How are you adapting to social distancing?

Derek Kunsken: I had just spent 4 years working as a full time writer and parent, so I’d actually practiced staying at home before. I think I’ve been relatively okay during social distancing, but I’ve been feeling really bad for friends who have lost jobs, writers with books coming out right now, and families who have lost loved ones.

Spec Can: How is the outbreak affecting your writing?

Derek Kunsken: Everything seems to take more effort, and I described the feeling as having my max hit points dropped by 20% and being unable to find the cleric some days. That being said, I’m been getting up at 6am each day to write before work. At first, I tried meeting people on Twitter, but now I meet a smaller group by Zoom to keep ourselves honest and working.


Interviewed by Derek Newman-Stille, MA, PhD ABD

Authors in Quarantine – Kari Maaren

With this this series, I am hoping to capture how this cultural moment is affecting our speculative fiction authors and how our authors are surviving during the COVID-19 outbreak

Spec Can: What have you been up to during the COVID-19 outbreak?

Kari Maaren: I’ve been working from home as a university instructor. All the courses are online now, and my workload has effectively doubled, as grading online takes more time (and causes more headaches), and there are a lot more student e-mails to answer.

Spec Can: How are you adapting to social distancing?

Kari Maaren: I’m an introvert anyway, so being alone a lot doesn’t bother me. However, I haven’t had an in-person conversation that has lasted longer than twenty seconds for five weeks now, and it’s beginning to get to me.

Spec Can: How is the outbreak affecting your writing?

Kari Maaren: I generally don’t write much at this point in the term, as there’s too much marking, but I do have a novel I’m working on in my head, and I’m finding it increasingly difficult to concentrate on it. I usually think out stories on my daily walks. I still try to do that, but I’ll puzzle over the story for five seconds and then be distracted by thoughts about the virus or the future or my family or even just what I’m going to cook for dinner. I want to escape into the story, but I can’t.


Interviewed by Derek Newman-Stille, MA, PhD ABD

Authors in Quarantine – Chadwick Ginther

With this this series, I am hoping to capture how this cultural moment is affecting our speculative fiction authors and how our authors are surviving during the COVID-19 outbreak

Chadwick’s companion in Quarantine – Algernon!!

Spec Can: What have you been up to during the COVID-19 outbreak?

Chadwick Ginther: I’ve been fortunate enough to still be employed at my day job, and have been working from home at what tasks are available to me. I’ve tried to impose some structure on my days, such as not sleeping in, writing before I sign on for work, daily walks and short workouts. I’ve also watched entirely too many terrible horror movies and caught up on a few television shows I’ve been meaning to check out. I’ve also been trying out some new recipes, and doing a bit more baking then normal.

Spec Can: How are you adapting to social distancing?

Chadwick Ginther: There was a lot of anxiety at first. Worry about health and wellbeing, for myself, my wife, our loved ones. Fear about what things will look like on the other side of the pandemic. All that anxiety is still there, but the waves of it don’t seem to be hitting quite as heavily as they were.

It’s been painful not to be able to see friends and family, but both my wife and I tend to be pretty solitary folks, and we really enjoy each other’s company. I call my parents to chat a bit more frequently, and a group of my friends created a text channel for us to share recipes and pictures and updates, and that’s been great for feeling connected.
All of my roleplaying games have moved to online platforms, although many of them were partially, or already there. I’m resisting the urge to join new games because I know I won’t be able to maintain the commitment when things return to a more normal normality.

Not going to a store the moment I think of something I want, or run out of has also meant a bit less snacking. Hopefully I’ll carry a bit of that newfound impulse buy restraint forward when the restrictions are relaxed.

Spec Can: How is the outbreak affecting your writing?

Chadwick Ginther: At first, it was brutal. Nothing was getting done. I struggled to finish even the tasks with existing deadlines, like some editor mandated short story revisions. Motivation to revise the book I had been working on prior to the pandemic was nil. Later, after the first couple of weeks, I managed to write a couple story pitches I’m waiting to hear back about, which seemed to help. Two weeks ago I decided to work on a passion project novel I’ve kept telling myself I’d start writing once this or that task was crossed off the list. I’m pretty happy with that decision, as it’s kept me writing every day, and I’m having so much fun exploring what might end up being the weirdest and most ambitious thing I’ve ever attempted in fiction.


Interviewed by Derek Newman-Stille, MA, PhD ABD

Authors in Quarantine – David Demchuk

With this this series, I am hoping to capture how this cultural moment is affecting our speculative fiction authors and how our authors are surviving during the COVID-19 outbreak

Spec Can: What have you been up to during the COVID-19 outbreak?


David Demchuk: I am lucky to be able to do my job from home, and to have a home which is already set up and equipped for remote operations. The team I work with is small; we communicate well, and spell each other off with the day-to-day work, special projects and the many video meetings that this situation has spawned. Apart from that I’ve been reading, catching up on movies and trashy TV, cooking and baking (and eating), spending too much time on social media, and playing Animal Crossing.

Spec Can: How are you adapting to social distancing?

David Demchuk: I was already a fairly solitary person, so I have not been as heavily affected by the need to isolate as many of my friends and colleagues. However, I suffer from agoraphobic anxiety, so going outside to go shopping or run errands is now one long panic attack from start to finish–and standing in store lines on narrow sidewalks is the worst. One thing that’s been a huge challenge: My partner and I have been together for 11 years but we live separately, albeit in the same building. He comes to visit for about an hour every day but, because he goes out more and has a greater potential for exposure, we remain at opposite ends of the couch six feet apart. We haven’t had physical contact for more than five weeks.

Spec Can: How is the outbreak affecting your writing?

David Demchuk: Well…the short answer is “I haven’t done any, so–great?” I am holding off on writng much, at least formally, until I receive my editor’s notes on my newest book. My hope is that I will be able to focus my energies (and my emotions, including my fears) on the pages once they’re in front of me. One thing I have been doing–both for the new book and the one I plan to start in the fall–is jotting down short snippets on index cards–images, dialogue, turns of phrase–and tossing them into a small plastic storage box beside my coffee table. No expectations of structure or order or ‘finished’ writing, just capturing material as it comes to me in unfiltered unprocessed snapshots. It’s oddly cathartic and makes me feel productive with probably the least amount of effort I can expend. Apart from that, there’s Animal Crossing!


Interviewed by Derek Newman-Stille, MA, PhD ABD