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Interview: Kat Howard on “A User’s Guide to Increments of Time”

– Tell us a bit about “A User’s Guide to Increments of Time.”

It’s the story of two chronomancers, time wizards, who fall in love, and then have a very bad breakup.


– What was the inspiration for this story, or what prompted you to write it?

The prompt came when I was looking for a recording of a specific piece of classical music. Which exact piece and why I was looking currently escapes me, but in the course of my search, I came across a playlist of music where each song had 60 beats per minute. One of those songs was the piece mentioned in the opening of the story – Bach’s “Air On the G String.” Listening to it, I had an image of a woman, swaying in time with the music, her hands moving in the air, but not like she was conducting, like she was doing magic. And so I wrote the story that went with her.


– Was “A User’s Guide to Increments of Time” personal to you in any way?  If so, how?

I don’t like to say that anything I write isn’t personal, because to me that implies that I don’t care about the story. But in terms of, was there some specific motivation drawn from life, or some specific detail that I stole from myself and gave to one of the characters in it, no.


– What would you want a reader to take away from this story?

I would hope they find some pleasure in the reading experience, but there’s no moral behind it. Except maybe don’t piss off a wizard.


– What are you working on now?

I am extremely superstitious about talking about things while I am writing on them, so I will be as unhelpful as possible, and say only that I am actively working on a novella and a novel right now.


– Anything else you’d like to add?

If you’re looking for more short fiction from me, I have a story that will be out in the April issue of Lightspeed, called “The Universe, Sung in Stars.” It’s about tiny, wearable pocket universes, among other things.

And my debut novel, Roses and Rot, which is about many things like art and sacrifice and sisters and magic, but has no tiny, wearable pocket universes in, will be out from Saga Press in early 2016.

“A User’s Guide to Increments of Time” appears in the March/April 2015 issue.


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