Cristina Alden: Curator of “The Final Summons”

Cristina Alden: Curator of “The Final Summons”

The New England Speculative Writers is putting together its first anthology. The theme, “The Final Summons.” Submissions by members are due January 31st. More details about the submission can be found here. Three curators will be reading through the slush and putting together the best stories. We thought it’d be good to interview each of the curators and give a little background about who they are and what they’re looking for in this anthology. Cristina is one of the co-founders of NESW.

What is your background in literature?

I’ve always loved writing stories, and have kept a journal on and off since I was a kid. I have a degree in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona. In college I concentrated mainly on fiction writing, and dabbled in screenwriting and playwriting, all of which I really enjoyed. I participated in NaNoWriMo for the first time in 2012 and published my first novel in January 2017. The genre of the story is “rural” urban fantasy with paranormal elements. My writing has always leaned toward fantasy and science fiction.

What are some of your favorite fantasy & sci-fi novels?

I’m an omnivore when it comes to reading. I enjoy science fiction, fantasy, historical novels, adventure stories… I’ve enjoyed stories from authors that range from Douglas Adams to Jean M. Auel. Novels that influenced me the most creatively were probably ones I read at an early age, like the Madeline L’Engle’s “Wrinkle In Time” series, C.S. Lewis “Chronicles of Narnia” series, Frank Herbert’s “Dune” Series, Anne McCaffrey’s “Dragonriders of Pern” series.

What excites you most for the upcoming anthology?

I’m excited to see the interpretation of what the “The Final Summons” means to writers. I think the title leaves the interpretation wide open to possibilities. The danger in a topic like this is finding the right place in the adventure to start telling the story. When I think of a final summons, I think of an epic journey. In a short story you don’t have the luxury of really deep world building, which means the characters need to stand out and be unique and the story idea needs to be tight. I love character driven stories, so I’m excited to see who I meet.

Is there anything you’re specifically looking for?

I’m looking for unique story settings and interesting, well developed characters. I’m not looking for stereotypical “types” of characters, or quirkiness just for the sake of being quirky, but character traits and flaws that add flavor to the journey of the story. I don’t have to necessarily like the characters, but I want them to be developed enough that I’m interested or intrigued enough by them to care what happens.

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