Interview: Jon DeCles on “Apprentice”
– Tell us a bit about “Apprentice.”
Well, of course it’s a Mickey Mouse story: but it’s worth remembering that the Dukas tone poem is based on a poem by Goethe. There’s a lot more there than a cartoon, or an orchestra tune, and a lot of room to examine character and consequence.
– What was the inspiration for this story, or what prompted you to write it?
My foster son Jonathon. He is a brilliant craftsman, photographer, builder, you name it: but he has a tendency to get right to the end of a project and change directions, leaving the final thing undone. He came into my life when he was eighteen, and before that things were not so hot for him.
– Was “Apprentice” personal for you in any way, and if so, how?
Very personal, for obvious reasons. Sometimes all a writer can do about his or her life is write about it. I find that all the fantasy I have written over the last thirty years or so is autobiography.
– What would you want a reader to take away from this story?
Compassion. I’m a disciple of Theodore Sturgeon, so everything I write is about love. Love is never easy, which is why it makes for good story telling. I’d like the reader, with me, to hope the Wizard will find a way around the problem.
– What are you working on now?
I’ve got a bunch of stuff on my desk. An Ancient Greek werewolf story (I was running the Nemean Games, along with my wife, Diana L. Paxson, and I got interested is some legends), a modern vampire story involving Vodou, and the next book in the Piswyck Papers, “The Revenge of the Countess.” There’s also a novel about theater set in a fantasy world. I spend a lot of time on stage, so that, at least, is a world I know pretty well.
– Anything else you’d like to add?
Just that I am really happy to have a story in F&SF again.
“Apprentice” appears in the March/April 2014 issue of F&SF.
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