Halloween is coming, and so is the latest anthology from Elm Books, Undeath and the Detective! Over the next few weeks leading up to Release Day, I’ll be featuring interviews and articles by Undeath authors. They’re a fascinating bunch!
Today, please meet Leonhard August, whose story Juanita and the Cave of the Winds will appear in the anthology.
In one sentence, sum up your story in Undeath and the Detective.
“In every culture, avarice and egomania are discouraged, but among people of the Tohono O’odham Nation, these traits can be punished even beyond death.”
List 5 random facts about yourself.
At my age, I like people. I’ve learned a lot about people, but I’ve got more to learn.
I make pretty things and useful things (as in jewelry and knives).
I have the best family a man could wish for.
I prefer older cars because they make good, cheap transportation when they work, and they make good hobbies when they don’t.
I am addicted to Sudoku and crossword puzzles.
What in particular inspired you to write this story?
Our folk tales are intended to pass on wisdom, and our familiar stories are derived form European culture. “King Midas” for example teaches the dangers of greed and unrestrained desire. Other Cultures teach the same social values thru different lessons. I wanted to share a traditional Tohono O’odham lesson taught to me by a good man, and one who will be missed.
What do you most like to write? Is it the same or different from what you like to read?
I guess the answer is mystery science fiction in both cases. I like reading and writing where the “what ifs” build upon one another. My favorites include The Barbie Murders, and The Phantom of Kansas, by John Varley.
Is this your first detective story? Your first supernatural story?
No to both. My first mystery story was one where the elder Gods intervened to help resolve a mysterious, murderous situation set in the future, in traditional O’odham fashion.
Do you celebrate Halloween? If so, how?
We’ve lived in Southern Arizona for the past 30+ years. Halloween is too close to Dia de los Muertos to carry the same impact as it does up north. Around here, those that have passed into the next world are seen more as family and friends than scary spirits.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Spoil my wife and my grandchildren, in that order.
Are there any particular authors or artists who inspire you?
I just finished a book by Dean Koontz, and one by Stephen King. In each case, the story line/plot/ending was mediocre at best. But what glorious use of the English language each of them made! Vivid descriptions! Insightful character portraits! Deep understanding of how to denote and connote meaning! I admire their talent, plus their skill in their craft. For creativity imagination and building a real alternate world, I like Ursula K. LeGuin, John Varley and Cordwainer Smith.
Are you working on anything new? Tell us about it!
I’m trying to write up a comical misadventure of some O’odham cowboys (Wapkial). They have a holiday run-in with a very VERY strange beast in the night, and they manage to “turn lemons into lemonade”.
Promote your work! What is your favorite thing you’ve written, and where can readers find it?
I like Rough Justice in Death and the Detective. It’s only partly lies, but it’s up to you to figure out which part.
Thank you, Len!
You can check out Leonhard August’s other work at his website.