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Interview: Steven Popkes on “The Sweet Warm Earth”

Tell us a bit about “The Sweet Warm Earth.”

The story is about an expatriate Irish mobster in California from Boston. He works at the racetrack and meets an Italian from the old country who has the ability to communicate with horses.


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

The inspiration comes from a lot of sources. I was irritated by “The Horse Whisperer” or any of the whisperer genres, either non-fiction or fiction. We project that such things are always good and full of inner enlightenment. I took a different tack.

Also, I’d been reading about the Boston Irish mobs before Whitey Bolger and that also served as a source.


Was “The Sweet Warm Earth” personal to you in any way?  If so, how?

I grew up in California until I was eleven and then we moved to Alabama. My parents were enamored of horse racing and took me. I got to meet William Shoemaker at one point. I loved the tracks.


What are you working on now?

My novel, “Welcome to Witchlandia”, is out on Amazon. I’m working on a new novel involving terraforming Venus.


Anything else you’d like to add?

Many of my stories are idiosyncratic and don’t easily find a market. Thanks to C. C. Finlay, TSWE found a home.


“The Sweet Warm Earth” appears in the September/October 2016 Special David Gerrold issue of F&SF.

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