Today we’re talking with Troy H. Gardner, who has his first story with MSJ in I Didn’t Break the Lamp!
DV: Tell us a bit about yourself!
Troy Gardner: I’m a New England writer transplanted to Florida. I’m a cat guy and I have a wickedly dark sense of humor.
DV: What inspired you to write “My Student’s Obsession” for I Didn’t Break the Lamp?
TG: I found some old Lord of the Flies fanart I’d sketched and wondered if there was any sort of fandom presence online. Fast forward to hours later and I’m deep in a rabbit hole of LOTF fan fic/art/academic papers. Additionally, I wanted to explore the relationship between audience and art in a way I haven’t before, so that felt like a fun marriage.
DV: You do a fantastic job in your story of referencing a couple of novels without naming them. And yet it was entirely clear what novels they were. How do you pick out the details that hint at these other works without having to name them?
TG: Thank you, that required some extra attention! I played around with exactly how to reference the books for quite a while before landing on the assumption that the reader hasn’t read them, and so I gave whatever details were vital to this story. You can read “My Student’s Obsession” under the impression that they are fictional books and still get everything. But there’s a little extra meaning if you’re familiar with them.
DV: What rituals or routines do you have around your writing process?
TG: I hate writing in silence so I usually have multi-camera sitcoms or older music, like REM, playing in the background. Something I’m familiar with that doesn’t require too much attention.
DV: If you had an imaginary friend growing up, what was their name, and what were they like?
TG: I never had an imaginary friend, but I sure tried it out once. I decided there was some dude named Ferdinand who lived in my bedroom wall (just the one) and I attempted talking to him, but it turned out that chatting with Ferdinand was like talking to a wall … so I gave up.
DV: What’s on the horizon for you?
TG: I like to stay productive and work in various mediums, so I’ve recently finished a humorous YA novel about amateur filmmakers competing against each other, I’ve got a short story that’s going to be performed on Monsters Out of the Closet, which is a fantastic LGBT+ horror fiction podcast, and I’m nearly done making a slasher movie themed card game. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to chat about writing!