Fiction sometimes comes from a single moment in time that sticks with us, is this the case when you sit down to write? Or do you plan each step? Is it formulaic for you?
My ideas typically come from lots of places, rather than a ‘single moment in time’. Normally I’m inspired by the TV series and films I watch. I also love history and going to museums and historical sites. For example, learning about Hungary when I went to Budapest a couple of years ago inspired me to start work on a fantasy novel about a world with a very complicated history.
Do you have any previously published pieces you’re particularly proud of?
One of my short stories, The Home Secretary is safe, was published in Phantaxis Issue 6 last year and is one of my favourites. It follows a young lad as he experiences the weirdest train journey of his life before becoming the unwitting target of assassins. One reviewer called it “beautifully handled” and his favourite SF story in that issue. You can buy Issue 6 here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Phantaxis-August-2017-Science-Magazine/dp/1974258793/
A few others I’m particularly proud are:
Paul, published by Storgy Magazine and available to read here: https://storgy.com/2016/11/23/christopher-berry-paul/.
Operation Loch Ness, published by Idle Ink and available to read here: https://idleink.org/2018/04/30/operation-loch-ness-by-c-r-berry/
The Babushka Lady , which was published recently in a time travel anthology called The Chronos Chronicles by Indie Authors Press, and can be bought here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Chronos-Chronicles-time-travel-anthology/dp/1910910171/
All three of these stories are based on real events.
During the editing process, do you find it difficult to adhere to a word limit? And if you do, how do you manage to keep it within the parameters?
In general I despise word limits. While I get that they’re necessary in the short story space, I think a writer should edit to make a story stronger, not to fit a specified word limit. However, with most of my short stories, I generally aim for about 3,000 words anyway, which happens to be the limit for a lot of magazines and competitions.
What inspired you to write this piece? It almost feels like either an episode from X-Files or King’s work The Langoliers.
Now you know why I stuck a reference to The X-Files in the dialogue! The Quiet Invasion, like many of my stories, is influenced by a lot of the SF I’ve enjoyed over the years. Star Trek, Doctor Who etc. But the Chronoticks themselves came from wanting to invent some kind of ‘time monster’ that could very well be responsible for the way we perceive time in the real world.
Time is a large theme in this one, do you feel comfortable with large themes?
I certainly feel comfortable writing about time! The very concept of it fascinates me and I adore time travel stories. Alright, so there’s probably an overabundance of them, and finding truly original time travel stories can be difficult. However, but when it’s done right, it’s a whole lot of mind-bending fun.
My novel Million Eyes is a time travel conspiracy thriller that incorporates various events from British history. The stories I’ve had published are in a similar vein. In fact, most of them are set in the Million Eyes universe. The Quiet Invasion is one of them, despite being quite different to the others, i.e. it’s a time travel story that doesn’t feature any time travel. The Quiet Invasion is more about what could be unleashed on the world if time travel were to occur.
You can read C.R. Berry’s “The Quiet Invasion” in Issue Six of The Ginger Collect.