Midnight Echo #15 Showcase: Jay Caselberg
In the seminal novel that launched a genre, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley wrote, “There is something at work in my soul, which I do not understand.” With this single sentence, Shelley cuts at the reason that so many of us embrace dark fiction. And it is with this notion in mind that I am showcasing some of the dark souls who contributed their twisted and chilling creations to the 2020 edition of the AHWA's annual magazine Midnight Echo. Today, my guest is Jay Caselberg. Welcome Jay!
Who are you and where do you write from? I’m an itinerant Aussie now based in Germany by way of the UK for a while. But then I spent my formative years growing up in various countries, so it’s kind of in my blood. For instance I spent a couple of years in Turkey when I was young, travelled all throughout Europe and some of it through countries that don’t exist any more. Please comment on your involvement in the AHWA and its importance to you. I write dark fiction. Or at least, generally, fiction and poetry with a dark contemplative edge. I’m unashamedly Australian. The two go together, no? I have been a member, and sometimes board member of various writing organisations, SFWA and the HWA among them. I am currently not a member of anything apart from the AHWA. Dark fiction comes and goes in waves, but it can be hard, especially for someone living in Australia to connect and make a career out of it. The AHWA is a way for me to contribute to the community, perhaps give something back to my roots. Why does poetry appeal to you? I originally started writing poetry. I had dabbled in primary school with little stories, but in high school, poetry became the thing. I wrote a lot of stuff back then. Most of it has drifted away with time. I flirted with poetry at uni, but I have only really recently come back to it. Though I write both short fiction and novel length stuff, I wonder sometimes if that is pandering to the reality of the marketplace.
Can you tell us what inspired your contribution to Midnight Echo #15? It’s actually inspired by a true event that happened to an old acquaintance. I think the text itself can fill in the details.
(Lee: The Reaping is a wonderful chilling addition to the magazine. In my introduction to the collection, I describe it as "a lonely poem echoing faintly of Lovecraft and exquisite in its brevity", so I was delighted to be able to include it in our line up) Midnight Echo #15 is being offered in both print and ebook versions this year. Did the offer of print make a difference to you? Are you seduced by the waft of vanilla and printer’s ink? Ha ha. I’m one of those people who strokes books when I pick them up in bookstores (though in the current circumstance I’m finding it hard to remember the last time I walked into a bookstore.) And, of course, there’s the brag shelf. Hard to fill it with electrons.
What are you working on right now? Well, just put out a collection of various fictions and poetry called The Side Eye. Cover art from our own Greg Chapman. It’s available both in print and e-form and available through Amazon. Would love it if one or two people picked up a copy.
JAY CASELBERG is an Australian writer based in Germany. His work—poems, short fiction, and novels—has appeared around the world and been translated into several languages. From time to time, he gets shortlisted for awards.