A conversation with Geoff Fuller, author of “Splinters” in Fed From the Blade.

Geoffrey Cameron Fuller’s writing has appeared in anthologies, textbooks, newspapers, magazines, literary journals, nonfiction collections, and novels. He has been an editor for a local biweekly newsmagazine, managing editor for a textbook company, contributing editor at Writer’s Digest, and developmental editor for award-winning nonfiction books. His fiction appears under the name G. Cameron Fuller, and his nonfiction appears under the name Geoffrey C. Fuller.

Why did you submit to Fed from the Blade anthology?

I wanted to be a part of it. I have known and worked with both of the editors before and knew they would produce a quality book.

Why did you choose “Splinters”?

The editors were looking for shorter works, and I have several that I’ve never submitted anywhere. “Splinters” has long been a favorite of mine because I liked the narrator’s voice, her calm practicality having grown out of decades of abuse and culminating in a necessary murder. As they say, some people just need killing.

What is your favorite genre to write?

I don’t really have a favorite genre, but whatever genre I’m working in—crime and horror are probably the most common—I like tales that look at the difference between the apparent and the obscure. The world and the people in it are never exactly what they seem to be.

When did you first become interested in writing?

I grew up in a family of writers, and many of my parents’ friends were writers. Even though I resisted in different ways at different times, the writing life was probably always inevitable.

How do you talk about this particular piece when describing it to others?

“Splinters” is really two stories, the obvious one—an elderly woman leaning against a barn and contemplating her farm—and the unspoken history of a violent marriage that she just ended the only way she knew how. But I would never actually say that to anyone. Stories should stand or fall on their own.

Now that it is published in this anthology, do you plan to submit to other anthologies?

Probably.

Speak to other pieces in the anthology: what pieces stood out for you? What kind of tone or mood do you think the anthology promotes?

Um. . . I haven’t actually read enough of them yet to have an informed opinion, especially not about any moods or tones that run through them as a collection.

If you were to submit to this anthology all over again, is there anything you’d change about your piece?

One of the editors, Cat Pleska, had a couple of questions and suggestions, and the changes she suggested were perfect. Luckily, the changes were made before Blade was published.

What inspires you?

Different things at different times. As crass as it might sound, the need for income can be very inspiring. Otherwise, inspiration for me comes most often from odd news stories or from moments of experience that result in an unusual thrill or tilt me toward what-if questions.

Where do you write?

At home, mostly. I like to edit or revise in restaurants, with endless iced tea, but I need privacy for creation.

What kind of reception has Full Bone received that has surprised you?

Full Bone Moon has been received very well. I was nervous about that, as most writers are, but it’s selling well and the reviews have been mostly very positive. One reviewer disliked that fact that I don’t spend a lot of time with detailed descriptions, and she had a point to a degree, but primarily it was that I didn’t write the kind of book she wanted to read. That will happen. I wanted a page turner and large chunks of description don’t lend themselves to breathless reading.

I have heard from a couple of people who criticized me for “capitalizing” on a horrible crime. One person really took me to task for it and excoriated me for further damaging the families of the victims. But after much consideration (That is tawdry! Had I really done that?), I realized the criticism, though heartfelt, was largely misplaced. First of all, anyone familiar with writing and selling novels knows there’s not much money in it, unless you’re Stephen King or Danielle Steel. The families are largely gone now, and Karen’s mother knew about and approved of the book. But mainly, if one cannot be inspired and write about events that occurred 42 years ago, how long must one wait? That criticism shook and saddened me for a while, though. I had never even considered that, but I now know that such things should be considered by writers before writing.

What is your next project?

I’m working on a sequel to my novel Full Bone Moon, the working title of which is Marrow Bone and Cleaver. I’m still trying to decide what to do with all the material I accumulated when looking into the actual murders that inspired Full Bone Moon, if anything. Not sure about that yet.

I’m working on a script for a graphic novel based on a man who, as a child, helped with the cleanup after the Monongah mine explosion of 1907, which killed over 500 men and boys. He then went on to fight in the European trenches in WWI and come back home to work the mines, where he had a reputation as one of the best, as well as inventing mining equipment that is still used. He also committed several murders that we know of and was implicated in many more. He may have been one of America’s first and most prolific serial killers. Not sure what you’d call it, maybe fact-based historical fiction. Any visual artists out there who want to collaborate on that project?

And I have a memoir finished, On Balance: My First Twenty-Five Years with Multiple Sclerosis. On Balance that I’ve finally decided to start shopping. Various parts of it have been published and won awards and it’s some of the best material I’ve written, but as with most things literary or poetic, it will never sell a million copies.

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1 Comment

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One response to “A conversation with Geoff Fuller, author of “Splinters” in Fed From the Blade.

  1. Phyllis Wilson Moore

    This is the kind of story I prefer. The author implies many things but tells few. The reader needs to think.

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