Martha Allard is my oldest friend. We wrote together in high school. We’ve written a couple of space opera short stories together, which you can find on Wattpad. I interviewed her here last year about her novel Black Light, which combines 1980s rock-n-roll with ghosts and psychic vampires. Trust me when I tell you that you would love it.
Over the years, I’ve been awed by the jewel-like precision of Martha’s short stories. I was thrilled when she put them together into a collection. They are gorgeous, perfect, and sharp as icepicks.
Martha J Allard is a writer of contemporary and dark fantasy. Her short fiction has appeared in magazines like Talebones and Not One of Us. Her story “Dust” won an honorable mention in Year’s Best Science Fiction, 19th edition, and her story “Phase” was nominated for a British Science Fiction Award. Her novel Black Light is a tale of love, sacrifice, and rock and roll in the 1980s. Her short story collection Psychic Surgery is about love and magic in unexpected places.
Psychic Surgery is a collection of stories about being lost and being found. They are myths retold through the lens of a new century. Here you’ll find a koi-girl and her grandfather, living in a stream in the mountains of Tennessee, waiting to become more. There are a pair of bickering celestials in a dive bar that exists in any city in the world, at any given time. A guardian of the moon, out of a job, and trying to care for his daughter the best he can on the streets of Flint, Michigan. Angels, fairies, vampires, and junkies fill these pages, but most of all, you’ll find magic.
Did something in the real world inspire Psychic Surgery?
This is a collection of fifteen short stories. each of which contains a kernel of the real world. I am a true believer in the magic around us.
One story in particular, “End of An Era,” grew out of a conversation I had with a friend, while we were driving around LA one day in the late ’80s. He told me that everyone that lived there had an earthquake plan, you know, for when the Big One came. He told me that his was to go to Errol Flynn’s grave in Forest Lawn. There was scotch buried with Flynn, he told me. If the quake had opened the grave, my friend planned to drink a toast. And I thought, but what if you aren’t the first one to show up?
What is your favorite scene in the book?
My favorite story is “Phase,” the very last one. It’s a fairy tale about the daughter of the Moon living homeless on the streets of Flint, Michigan. Her father, who was the Moon’s guardian, tries to connect with her. They are both creatures lost in this world. This is how it starts out.
“The thing is, nobody remembers the real story. Each generation puts their own meaning to it. Truth gets lost in the swift current of human needs.
Once the moon was a beautiful woman. She lived in a land of starlight, isolated from the Earth, safe….”
What was your writing process as you wrote the book?
My writing process was… slow. Each of these stories were written at different points in my life. There are a few Clarion workshop stories here and when I read them, I can almost taste the beer and caffeine that fueled that six weeks. Some were written after I had moved back from Michigan away from my family of friends, and I can feel the loneliness in them. They have been published here and there over the years, but I thought it was time to put them all together.
What was the best thing that happened during your promotion of the book?
So far the best thing that’s happened is that you are interviewing me. I also really like to sell books face to face. I sold one last week during a crochet class I was giving. Yes, you heard me right.
What do you have planned next?
Barring act of gods, I will have the prequel to Black Light out by the end of June. It’s about Albrecht Christian and the first love of his life, the Loch Ness monster. After that, is “Speak My Name,” which is a romance about the space between heaven and hell. It features the characters from two stories in this collection, “Wings of Brothers” and “Ithuriel’s Kiss.”
Follow Martha on Amazon to keep up with her new work: Amazon author page