"The Dancer at the Red Door" Aurora Interview

Aurora nominees are currently being interviewed on the discussion boards in the Facebook Group "Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy." Friend and fellow writer, Mark Leslie Lefebvre, has kindly agreed to interview me about my nominated short story, ""The Dancer at the Red Door." I'll be reposting the interview here over the next couple of days. Here's the first Q&A:

MARK: Douglas Smith is the author of "The Dancer at the Red Door", which is on the final ballot for the 2008 Aurora Award in the category of Best Short Form Work in English. The story first appeared in the DAW anthology UNDER COVER OF DARKNESS (Czerneda & Paniccia) in 2007.

First of all, Doug, congratulations on the nomination. I'd like to begin by asking you these two things: "Who is Douglas Smith the writer?" and "How did you first get into writing?"

DOUG: Start with the existential stuff, eh? Who am I? A happily married father of two grown sons, living in Toronto and with a secret daytime identity of an IT exec with one of the big accounting & consulting firms. I write on the GO train, subway, planes, coffee shops, libraries, in my spare time. I've been strictly a short fiction writer to date, but am finishing up my first novel. I write a pretty broad range of stuff, all more or less "speculative," with a preference for contemporary fantasy, which is what I'd call "The Dancer at the Red Door."

I'd always wanted to be a writer, and realized in 1995 that my dream wasn't going to happen by itself. I started with short fiction because I've always loved reading the form, with a lot of my influences being short fiction masters like Bradbury and Zelazny, so I figured that I'd enjoy writing short stories. I also planned to try to build up my creds with short fiction sales and hopefully awards to make it easier if/when I would be marketing a novel. Finally and frankly, back then I also needed to see if I could actually sell anything that I wrote, and trying my hand with short fiction seemed less daunting than starting with a novel. I sold the first story I wrote, "Spirit Dance," to Rob Sawyer and Carolyn Clink, who were editing Tesseracts6, on the last day of 1996. A good way to end and start a year. I've since sold over 100 stories (including reprints) in 28 languages and 21 countries (I think). More bio stuff, if anyone is interested, on my web site here.