An Interview with the Authors of L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future Volume 40

08 May 2024

What’s the story behind the story? What inspired you to be a part of L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future Volume 40?

J. E. Schleicher: “Squiddy,” my short story in L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future, is an examination of despair and addiction through a speculative lens.

Jack Nash: I love mythology and fables from across the world. This story is my love letter to those stories, many of which haven’t found their way into the fantasy genre like European myths have. Thematically, this story is also me grappling with questions about community, faith, and family relationships in my own life.

Kal M: My toaster fell and for a genuine moment I thought it spooked me on purpose. At the time I was also annoyed with myself for not being able to pick the mean options in Baldur’s Gate (a DnD-based video game). Somehow, I ended up with a talking toaster.

If you had to pick theme songs for the main characters of L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future Volume 40, what would they be?

J. E. Schleicher: Before the Squid invasion, Jocelyn worked in a punk club, so the playlist would likely include songs from Dead Kennedys, Sex Pistols, Black Flag, and Sheer Mag, to name simply a few.

Kal M: That song from Toy Story, “You Got A Friend In Me” by Randy Newman.

What’s your favorite genre to read? Is it the same as your favorite genre to write?

J. E. Schleicher: I read widely. A few of my favorite authors are Ray Bradbury, Toni Morrison, Cormac McCarthy, and Stephen King. While influenced by them, I write stories wherever my speculative imagination takes me, whether the destination is horror, science fiction, or fantasy. I aim to leave the reader with a fantastical aftertaste long after they put down a story of mine.

Jack Nash: I tend to gravitate to thrillers when I need an escape. I’m a big fan of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher series in particular. However, when I write, I usually slip into speculative fiction, mostly dark fantasy and horror. I’m not sure why, other than when I read thrillers I keep thinking, ‘Wouldn’t it be neat if (insert bad guy) turned out to be a demon?’ or something else supernatural?

Kal M: Comedy, fantasy and horror. I don’t usually write horror, but I do enjoy it!

What books are on your TBR pile right now?

J. E. Schleicher: I’m currently reading and admiring Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man. Next up is to finish Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series. I loved The Gunslinger. I’m almost embarrassed to admit I haven’t read the rest of the series. Thankfully, it’s an oversight I can joyfully remedy. Additionally, I enjoy reading poetry. Mary Oliver’s Devotions is a daily companion of mine. I recently bought Cynthia Pelayo’s poetry collection, Crime Scene. I’m excited to read it.

Jack Nash: So many. I’ve started Toni Morrison’s “Beloved” and am in love with her prose. I’ve also got S. A. Crosby’s recent Edgar-nominated novel, “All the Sinners Bleed,” on my shelf. For classics, I’m halfway through “Moby Dick,” just because I ignored it in high school and am repenting of that sin.

Kal M: How Much Of These Hills Is Gold (C. Pam Zhang) and Silas Marner (Eliot).

What scene in your book was your favorite to write?

J. E. Schleicher: The opening scene. It set the neo-noir vibes and voice I maintained throughout the story.

Jack Nash: One that I ultimately had to cut. I wrote a scene with one of the main characters eating a meal. I loved it for the description and the insight we get into her choices throughout the story. However, it didn’t contribute to the forward momentum of the story, so I nixed it in the final draft.

Kal M: The tribulations of the security officer!

Do you have any quirky writing habits? (lucky mugs, cats on laps, etc.)

J. E. Schleicher: I’ve learned I’m most productive outside the house and its distractions. I’m often found scribing in a library or cafe. My current pre-writing routine is to meditate and read prose that inspires. Recently, I’ve been hand-writing my first drafts. For some unknown reason, handwriting quiets the editing part of my brain while I draft, which helps me get the story out easier and quicker without too much tweaking.

Jack Nash: I write my first draft in bullet points. It helps me think through the story without worrying about prose, which I add on my second or third pass.

Kal M: No, but I can’t write with music or I’ll start copying down lyrics.

Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?

J. E. Schleicher: “Fall in love, and stay in love, and do what you love. And that’s a good life, isn’t it?” – Ray Bradbury

Jack Nash: Watch Me. I have stickers of it on my laptop, but it’s not meant for other people. It’s for me to tell my inner critic voice, who tells me I’m not good enough or won’t ever be good enough for whatever challenge I’m facing. So I tell myself, “Watch Me,” and I dive in.

Kal M: There are few things in life that are really important. The rest is just stuff.

If you could choose one thing for readers to remember after reading your book, what would it be?

J. E. Schleicher: Through resilience, you can find hope.

Jack Nash: I’d want them to remember the emotions of the ending scene. There is reconciliation, alleviated guilt, hope. All good things to have linger with you.

Kal M: That deep down, most people just want to be loved.


J. E. Schleicher, Jack Nash, and Kal M are a few of the authors of the new book L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future Volume 40

Connect with J. E. Schleicher, Jack Nash, and Kal M 

Author Site

Author Site





Buy The Book

B0CW1FQWX8 cover image

Buy The Book

Sign up for our email and we’ll send you the best new books in your favorite genres weekly.'