Monday, August 21, 2023

Six Questions for… Fred Coppersmith


Fred Coppersmith’s fiction has appeared occasionally in places like Bourbon Penn, Etherea Magazine, and previously in Stupefying Stories, among others. He lives and writes in New York, where he also edits and publishes the quarterly online SFF magazine Kaleidotrope. You can find him online, if you're so inclined, at

Watch for Fred’s next story, “If We Shadows,” coming September 1st in STUPEFYING STORIES 25.


Q: What is the first SF/F book or story you remember reading?

A: Do Choose Your Own Adventure books count? Or maybe E.B. White? I was definitely a fan of both. I remember being a big reader as a kid, but I don’t think I properly discovered science fiction (and fantasy and horror) books until around middle school. Before that, as a child of the ‘80s, my genre intake was more film, television, and computer games.

Q: Who was your most significant influence?

A: Writing-wise? I’d like to flatter myself and say it’s a mix of Douglas Adams and Ray Bradbury, even if I’m not sure you’d necessarily find that influence in my writing, beyond a propensity for jokes and the (at least occasional) attempt at poetic language. I’m not exactly sure when I first discovered either of them, but it was in my formative years, and their books definitely had a profound and lasting impact on me.

Q: When you write a new story, are you a plotter or a pantser?

A: I’m probably too slow and methodical to truly call myself a pantser, but I have almost no idea where I’m going with a story when I start, beyond whatever spark of an idea set it off, and I have never once been able to work from an outline. I can usually see farther ahead than an individual sentence or scene, even sometimes envision an ending well before I get there, but the idea of knowing what’s going to happen in a story before you start to write it seems like such an alien (if often enviable) concept to me.

Q: Do you listen to music while writing? If so, what kinds of music or which artists?

A: I listen to music a lot during the day, and like to also when I’m writing, but I too often find myself distracted by anything with lyrics. A favorite go-to of mine is Zoë Keating, but I’ll often put on an instrumental playlist (or even just a single song) to try and set a mood and un-distract my brain.

Q: As regards “If We Shadows,” is there anything special you’re hoping readers will notice or appreciate in it?

A: I just hope readers enjoy it. Like a lot of my stories, it started with a prompt from my regular writing group and then spiralled off in all sorts of unexpected directions. 

Q: If you could change one thing about the way you write, what would it be?

A: I would finish more stories more often, or more quickly.


Coming 09/01/2023: STUPEFYING STORIES 25

Status: Currently in production and on-schedule. SS#25 should be available on 09/01/2023 in trade paperback and on Kindle, with Nook, Kobo, iPad, and other e-book versions to roll out over the course of the next week or so. Pre-order availability to be announced.

» “If We Shadows,” by Fred Coppersmith
» “The Demolition Job,” by Neva Bryan
» “Tin Lizzi,” by J. L. Royce
» “A Limited View,” by Gary Kloster
» “Two-Tone,” by Elise Stephens
» “Cloudbreaker Above,” by Brandon Nolta
» “Caliban’s Cameras,” by Allan Dyen-Shapiro
» “There Is Another Sky,” by Bo Balder
» “Something Came Through,” by Michael D. Burnside
» “The Wawa Stick,” by Karl El-Koura


Karin Terebessy said...

Fred! You published my story "Caleb" in Kaleidotrope in 2018 -- nice to finally meet you and learn about you as an author. It's really funny that you mention both Ray Bradbury and EB White in the same interview. Whenever I teach Fahrenheit 451 I ask students to think of the one book they would memorize/become for posterity. I always say Charlotte's Web. I'm not sure there's ever been a book with a better cross examination of all of humanity than Charlotte's Web. I definitely think EB White counts!