Last year, I had the opportunity to feature some of the stories featured in the premier volume of the World Unknown Review, but, this year, I decided to take it a step further by inviting my fantastic authors to do an interview with me so we can talk about these stories that caught my attention, what inspires them, and what else we can expect to see from these great talents.
We’ll start out simply: who is Garrett Marco?
Twenty-something white guy living in Portland, Oregon involved on both the technical and creative side of an art/craft. So, you know, one among many. I edit all kinds of books as a day job and write sort of depressing stories of my own by night — or early morning. Rainy weather is great, sometimes I feel like I live on the Internet, and I wish there was more general enthusiasm about exploring space.
How did you discover the World Unknown Review and what inspired you to submit your story “Don’t Remember”?”
I –wait for it– don’t remember.
OK, I just spent five minutes figuring out it was through a call for submissions post on the /r/writing subreddit. This may or may not be one of the places on the Internet I spend too much time browsing. As for why I submitted this story, it’s not much more than it had recently gone through a revision and hadn’t been published yet. Nothing magical about the process of selecting which stories to send where!
“Don’t Remember” presents such a unique look at the desolation of the apocalypse. What was your inspiration for the piece?
I’m just a fan of the post-apocalypse genre in its many forms, from Road Warrior to The Road. So I drew from that tradition in a general sense, but specifically I started with the idea of the memory loss before it turned into a post-apocalyptic story. It was an inevitable outcome in my mind for the conceit. That would make this more of an idea story in the tradition of speculative fiction.
Although you don’t delve into much description of the physical world, I had such a strong visual impression of the setting of “Don’t Remember” as I read it. Did you have a particular place in mind as you wrote the story?
I live in the Northwest, and that’s often my default setting. But to me, the geography here is varied, a sort of panorama of American terrain. So instead of necessarily making the location specific in terms of that geography, I go for the sensory details that remind me of the place beyond the easily identifiable images. And for “Don’t Remember” specifically, which is restricted to a singular location, I wanted to rely on those senses related to the main theme: memory. There’s a lot about smells and tastes and sounds. While the main character’s memory is in shambles, the house is never much of a mystery to him, and neither is the world he sees out his window. He still has a mastery of the terrain, king of his hill, but it’s the assaults on his home by these other things he is concerned about and reacts to.
Are Roxanne and Caroline named after “Roxanne” and “Sweet Caroline,” the songs? Or is that just me making connections where I can find them?
I can’t answer for sure, but I know I use female relative’s names a lot in my stories. My mother’s middle name is Roxanne, so that’s probably where that came from. And she’s FROM North Carolina.
So definitely me making connections where I can find them. I like the actual connection. Who would play the main character in a film version of “Don’t Remember?”
I’m terrible at answering this kind of question. In my head, he always looks like one of my college writing professors, who in turn looks like black Santa. So I guess I’d just want him to look like that.
Who are your biggest writing influences and inspirations?
Juno Diaz and Karen Russell are two younger authors who’ve influenced me quite a bit. Beyond that and those I don’t need to tout, I like to think the workshop peers, critique partners, and even my clients all have an important impact on my work.
Tell us about the last book you read.
I’d never read the The Handmaid’s Tale, so I finally picked that up and got down with the depressing realization that the same problems being addressed are very real problems still affecting us. Now I’m reading some non-fiction about the Chinese treasure fleets. Interesting stuff!
What’s next for Garrett Marco?
I have the first draft of a novel waiting for revisions, as well as a novella with beta reader notes I’m afraid to touch. Some short stories are scattered around, too. My writing habits can get chaotic.
Where might we be able to find more of your work?
My story “W0lf” was recently published in Roar Volume 6, so you can check that out!
Anything else you’d like to share?
Only that I hope your readers enjoy “Don’t Remember!”
I’d like to thank Garrett for taking the time to talk with me today and give him a warm welcome to the WUR family. You can read “Don’t Remember” as our featured story for January, or with many other great tales in World Unknown Review Volume II>!