Author of “The Fourth Pillar Says No” (Contemporary Fantasy)
How long have you been writing? Do you write in genres other than speculative fiction? If so, which ones? If not, why do you prefer spec fic?
I got a late start, only starting seriously writing five years ago and submitting for publication three years ago. I keep within the speculative fiction troika, but steer towards contemporary dark fantasy and soft science fiction. Mostly because I don’t have to world-build as much!
I prefer speculative fiction because I’m more of an ideas person than a people person. The greatest fun in creating, for me, is thinking up some bit of cool magic or science and putting it into the story. You could say that I write backwards from the glossary.
What are some of your literary influences? How did you encounter them?
Growing up, I got a steady diet of high fantasy and science fiction. Most of the science fiction would now be considered the old white boys’ club: Asimov, Bradbury, Clarke, Dick. I like to think that a lot of it helped influence some of the ideas I had. Dick’s thoughts about memory and humanity, Clarke’s exploration, Asimov’s exploring internal logical worldbuilding to the breaking point in the Three Laws.
I read a lot of Gaiman and Pratchett after that, and a lot of the space I work in is owed to those authors, particularly magic in the mundane in Gaiman’s contemporary fantasy and Pratchett’s ability to draw serious messages out of the ridiculous.
Are there themes that you find recurring in your work? If so, what are they, and why do you think they recur?
Hope is a big thing. I’m a sucker for happy endings, and ambiguous or bittersweet is the most I’ll subject my characters to. Given 2017 and beyond, giving people hope and shining a light into darker places is a great thing. At least one in two or three stories I write will be set in Singapore (including the one in 5X5); it’s both writing from what I know as well as showcasing this bit of the world.
What writing projects are you working on right now?
Short stories mainly. I’m halfway into a pair of on and off novellas: one a contemporary fantasy Supernatural/ MacGyver with roots in Chinese and Asian mythology, the other a cyberpunk heist that’s a bit more action-comedy except all the characters are Grimm’s fairy tale pastiches.
For someone who wants to read more of your work, which of your stories would you recommend, and how can people find them?
For my most recent work, my 2017 round up was tweeted here –
I’d recommend “Chasing Flowers” and “The Sound of His Voice Like the Colour of Salt,” both ghost stories and some of my favourite pieces till date.
For more about L. Chan:
Amazon webpage: https://www.amazon.com/L.-Chan/e/B00FOJN32Y