Monday 30 May 2022

Mini-interview with Storm Blakley

Mini interview with Storm Blakley, author of “Salt and Smoke” in the Noir Fire anthology.

TFF: What does “Salt and Smoke” mean to you?

SB: It’s the first story I’ve ever gotten published, so It will always be special to me. I was honestly unsure my weird little ghost love story would ever find a home, and I’ll forever be grateful to the wonderful folks at Future Fire who took a chance on me.

TFF: Have you ever seen (or otherwise experienced) a ghost?

SB: My childhood best friend grew up in an old farmhouse that made strange, inexplicable sounds, and the family swore it was haunted. We would often hear what sounded like footsteps running up and down the stairs, but maybe it was just the old house settling. Maybe.

TFF: Have you ever tried to write or paint one of your own dreams?

SB: I wish I could! I don’t really remember my dreams; in my whole life, there’s only been a handful. I don’t think in pictures, so that kind of art is difficult for me, but I keep trying to learn how to paint and draw, and maybe one day I’ll improve.

TFF: What is the most terrifying thing about the sea?

SB: All of it! The ocean is absolutely terrifying, in every way; it’s so big, so unknown, unfathomable and indifferent, just chock-full of monsters that could eat me! We’ve mapped more of Mars than we have our own oceans; we know so little about our waters, and that’s a little scary.

TFF: Other than Noir and SF, what two (or more) genres would you like to see smashed together in a future anthology?

SB: Oh, that’s a good one. I think the lines between genres are rather blurry, and there’s fun to be had with any pair or more of genres. I’d honestly be excited for any mash-up, because it will make interesting reading, and it’d be fun to try new things.

TFF: What are you working on next?

SB: Everything! F and SF are my first loves, they’re what got me into reading, so I’m going to keep working on my projects there, but I also want to reach out past my comfort zone, and try new things, because trying new things is what life’s all about!

You can find purchase links and more information about the Noir Fire anthology at

Friday 27 May 2022

Micro-interview with Lam Ning

Micro-interview with Lam Ning, author of “avenging the sorrow” in the Noir Fire anthology.

TFF: What does “avenging the sorrow” mean to you?

Lam Ning: It’s a snapshot of the world I know, and it’s a confrontation with the harsh truths of crime and conflict. In fiction it’s tempting to line up an acceptable target for elimination to create the illusion of justice served. In reality, I’m not sure justice exists.

TFF: There is a surprising amount of human goodness in this bloodthirsty story; do you think there’s something about desperation and shared suffering that also brings out sympathy and collaboration?

LN: Those who have been through it already know. Husbands have abandoned their wives when mortars fell; mothers have abandoned their children. But after the first exposure to a crisis, the mind begins to adapt, and we learn to breathe through the panic and shelter each other.

TFF: Who is your favourite kick-ass woman from history?

LN: “I was the conductor of the Underground Railroad for eight years, and I can say what most conductors can’t say—I never ran my train off the track and I never lost a passenger.” (Harriet Tubman)

TFF: What are you working on next?

LN: Something about a one-armed swordsman.

You can find purchase links and more information about the Noir Fire anthology at

Wednesday 25 May 2022

Mini-interview with Frances Rowat

Mini-interview with Frances Rowat, author of “Late Night at the Low Road Diner” in the Noir Fire anthology.

Photo credit: Chelle Parker
TFF: What does “Late Night at the Low Road Diner” mean to you?

Frances Rowat: I find it really hopeful. I tend to miss the darker aspects in my own work, but really—it’s a chance encounter that starts out confrontationally and ends up with pretty much everyone involved better off once a few details about the magic of the world come out.

TFF: Do you use the ghost mythology/ritual in this story in other works? Or did you draw it from somewhere?

FR: I've got another WIP with two of the characters, and the rules of making something “real” show up there as well, but not in my other finished works. I don’t think I drew specifically from anywhere, but the idea of important things coming with a cost isn’t exactly uncommon.

TFF: If you had to invite the protagonist of your current work-in-progress to dinner, what would you cook for them?

FR: Awkward! The protagonist in question is a cook who is interested in mouthfeel and flavour profiles, but I don’t know how he tastes things. And I am really not a cook. I’d probably fall back on chicken with lemon-garlic noodles, and he’d probably be gracious about it not being remarkable.

TFF: What is your favourite optimistic science fiction work?

FR: I am terrible at narrowing things down to a favourite. But for graphic novels I’m going to say Mulligan and Ostertag’s Strong Female Protagonist, and for written work I will say Firebreak by Nicole Kornher-Stace. They’re not light, but the drive and hope in the characters are lovely.

TFF: Other than Noir and SF, what two (or more) genres would you like to see smashed together in a future anthology?

FR: My reflex is “horror and crime!”, but those are a little broad. So I’ll say stories of roads—road trips, travel, getting lost, or just Linda Wojtowick’s excellent “Byway” from The Ghosts on This Road podcast—melded with the dark fantastic.

TFF: What are you working on next?

FR: Honestly, it’s been hard to write lately—there’s a lot going on. I seem to be recouping a little, though, and I’m extremely grateful for that. Mostly I’m revising existing drafts, but I’d also like to revisit “Small-Town Spirit” and see what they do on Hallowe’en.

You can find purchase links and more information about the Noir Fire anthology at