"Ignis Fatuus" is a bit of a dark, Ligottian fairy tale, told through the eyes of an aging, book-loving curmudgeon who feels most at home in the ancient Irish cemetery near his home, far from the howling neighborhood children and mechanized society that he increasingly shuns in favor of the solitude of the buried dead. It was a blast to co-write, and is based off of Scott's fantastic original idea. I grabbed his coattails and hung on tight, riding just long enough to throw in some bloated prose and a smear of unnecessary adjectives. Even with all that going against it, the finished story made it over the wall. And who says envelops full of large bills can't solve all the world's problems?
I wasn't really sure how a collaboration would play out initially, as fiction writing is such a personal undertaking, where styles are so varied and rhythms unique. As a screenwriter in a former life, I occasionally collaborated with other writers on screenplays, as a script is such a purposely stripped down blueprint as far as stylistic flourish and ownership of language. Screenwriting is meant to be somewhat cookie cutter for all of us schmucks who hadn't yet established a "brand" and earned the right (aka "been allowed") to put a personalized stamp onto a cinematic written work.
But prose is different, as prose is one's own. Unique voice is encouraged, and almost unavoidable (unless imitation is actively sought). The internal is externalized onto the page. As such, one never knows how two different people will meld their voices into a duet. And while I think Scott is a dynamite writer, I never really got the impression that we were similar stylistically. But a funny thing happens when two are of one mind, and share a devotion for the same inspirations. Throughout the process, literary alchemy took place, and in the end, an organic synthesis was achieved. This resulted in "Ignis Fatuus" emerging whole and seamless, in that not even I can tell which parts are his, and which mine. That's a good collaboration. I enjoyed the hell out of it and am quite proud of the results.
While not much has been leaked into the ether as of yet about this project (as it's still quite early), this is the most recent announcement with details from Lois' blog:
In no particular order, these are the contributors to DARK FUSIONS: WHERE MONSTERS LURK.
Robert M. Price
James Alan Gardner
Scott David Aniolowski & T.E. Grau
We have a great lineup and some terrific stories in this anthology.
Abundant thanks to Weird Fiction Master ST Joshi and Fantastic Publisher Pete Crowther!
There are many eminent names on that list - some with whom I've shared anthology space in the past, and others that I have haven't yet had the honor. I'm once again humbled to be included in the company of such talented colleagues. All authors will autograph tip sheets for the deluxe edition of Dark Fusions, which is damn exciting, and should edge this antho into "must have" territory upon release.
As for my "Ignis Fatuus" writing partner and I, it's my sincere wish to continue collaborating with Scott in the future on additional stories, as we have a few other ideas under construction in the pipeline, and will release them into the wild as time, schedule, and opportunity allow. It's always a joy to work with someone so inspired and talented, and I look forward with great anticipation to our next journey into the Weird places of this world, and others.
When not kicking ass, taking names, and guiding my first collection into bookstores, Scott David Aniolowski whispers from his beloved House of Secrets.
Finally, huge thanks to Lois for publishing our story in her fantastic anthology. Purchase her extremely well-timed Hunger Games Companion here, and the rest of her TWENTY-EIGHT (yes, 28) books right about here.
Keep your eye out (like, literally right out of your pulpy gourd) for Dark Fusions: Where Monsters Lurk at the end of this rapidly unspooling year. In the meantime, PS Publishing is putting out wicked gold every week, so sign up for their updates at their visually stimulating website, pick up a few of their monstrous tomes, then lock your doors.