When writing this piece, what did you see the threat as? An organism or a parasite? Was it an alien lifeform or just an alien in general? Or was it completely unknown?
Honestly, your guess is as good as mine, when writing it the alien really came secondary in the story. I suppose it was something along the line of a parasite with supernatural properties. It certainly wasn’t based off of anything in this world!
This story is incredibly memorable. There were more than a few parts that kept me thinking way past finishing the story. What part of it really stuck with you as the writer?
Well, the idea for this story really came together a few months ago when I started looking into Elon Musk’s mission to mars. It struck me that something like this, exploring completely new territory, hasn’t been possible since the new world was discovered. That train of thought brought me to the lost colony of Roanoke. Thank god for ADD. Those ideas came together and gave birth to this. However, my favorite part of this story is by far the narrative style. It was really fun to work with and felt dare I say, unique? Also, if you enjoyed the space travel element to this story and want to learn more, check out the podcast Time Suck by Dan Cummins. He has an excellent episode about Musk.
Science fiction has talked about first colonies and the colonization of various planets in our solar system and outside of it, and it’s sometimes very hopeful. This one doesn’t seem as utopian. Would you prefer to see a utopian or a dystopian colonization of one of the many planets in our universe?
Yeah, this story is one of the darker takes on a foreign colony, and I think honestly those are the most interesting to read. But in the real world I of course hope for utopian. I think a colonization effort would be immensely exciting and potentially help unite us as a planet in unseen ways, but do I really believe that it’s going to happen? Meh.
If you had a message for readers about this story or writing in general, what would you say?
Well, I’ll be honest this is the first time I’ve actually been asked this question. Usually my thoughts on this come out through berating friends or strangers. I could go on for far longer than anyone her would like to read, but I believe the most important thing is consistency. There’s a great comedy bit, I can’t remember who by, where the comedian asks his friend Dr. Phil the key to happiness, and the television personality said “finishing everything you start”. If a story idea comes into your head run it to completion. It doesn’t matter if it’s good, writing it is the important part. The hardest part comes from when inspiration isn’t very accessible and it’s very easy just not to put in the words, but honestly those are the moments where it’s most important to push through. Try and do a thousand words a day. You do that long enough, something good is going to turn up. Besides consistency, stay busy. Don’t make writing the only thing you do. I’ve tried to make writing a full time job before and in my experience it becomes very unproductive and stale very quickly.
Do you have any previously published pieces you’re particularly proud of?
Yeah! Thus far, I’ve had two other pieces published, both of which are in the literary realm which has become more my wheelhouse although I still appreciate and crave the genre work. My first story was placed in Five on the Fifth and my second in Brilliant Flash Fiction. The one I’m most excited about however, besides maybe this one, is yet to be released. It’s a story called Slowing Down that catalogues the life of a female doctor with high functioning OCD who’s disorder results in a patient’s tragic loss. I received the acceptance letter from Dreamers a few days ago and it should be released early next year.
You can read Andrew Hughes’ piece “The First Colony” in Issue Eight of The Ginger Collect!