My friend Anthony Cardno celebrated Pride Month with a series of Interviews with artists, writers, performers and others in the LGBT community, a series of interviews which stretched into July. (Just think of every month as a source of Pride!) Anthony omitted an interview with himself, so he graciously consented to answer a few of my questions (and a few reworded questions he’d asked me and others!)
Hi, Anthony! I’ll start off by borrowing one of your own questions: What are you doing to stay creatively motivated in these unusual times?
If I’m being honest (as one should be), I haven’t stayed very creatively motivated at all. But that extends back further than the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic and the protests. I’ve struggled for the past 8 months or so with writing anything outside of blog posts and the writing I have to do for my full-time job. But what I have been attempting to do is “refill the well.” Before the pandemic hit, I was doing a lot of reading; in the past few months reading has slowed down a bit but I’ve been watching more television and interviewing a lot of interesting people for my blog. And I’ve been doing a metric tonne of proofreading and copyediting for other authors/editors, which in addition to my full-time job has been keeping me busy.
You posted a lot of interviews with LGBT creators/writers and performers for Pride Month. So, how has your creative life been going during this quarantine?
Like I said, the creative life has been a bit lacking. But I’ve been inspired by the sheer number of people who responded to my little interview project. Not just the respondents themselves, including yourself, who have been roundly wonderful, but the comments on the blog posts themselves and across social media. It’s been gratifying that my project has received the attention it has. And that’s helped me feel better about life in general.
I have to ask, not only are you gay, you are a cancer survivor. How have either of these affected your writing and/or career?
Those two aspects overlap quite a bit. I’m one of those folks who came of age in the early 80s, when AIDS was on the rise and even the hint you might be gay got you bullied in high school. I stayed closeted, trying to convince myself that my interest in other guys was just curiosity or a phase, until 1993. And even that coming out was sort of a slow roll-out: close friends first, then trusted relatives, then slowly more people. I remember a comment from a college English teacher, Professor Malcolm Marsden, who after four years of reading my papers noted that everything I wrote, fiction and non-fiction, seemed to connect to a quest for identity. And I think that’s still true: most of what I write and have had published has been about characters finding themselves or being true to themselves. Of course that leads to, or leads off of, wanting to see myself reflected in the fiction I read. I’m not sure I read a book with a well-rounded gay character (one who wasn’t a stereotype, or there to be ridiculed or killed) until I stumbled across Ellen Kushner and Delia Sherman’s The Fall of the Kings (which ultimately lead to an on-going love affair with Kushner’s Tremontaine/Riverside/The City interconnected books and short stories. (This is not to say those books weren’t out there in the late 80s and early 90s – they just weren’t in the places I was looking.)
Surviving colon cancer (September 2020 will be the fifteen anniversary of the early diagnosis that I have no doubt saved my life) was a wake-up call. Before then, I followed in my parents’ footsteps of ignoring health issues until they were un-ignorable. I take a bit better care of myself these days. Not perfect care – as my loved ones will attest – but better. And focusing on that has also helped me focus on managing anxiety and depression, which are intimately connected to growing up hiding my sexuality. So it all kind of comes full-circle.
You have managed to get yourself “Tuckerized,” that is, referenced in a bunch of other people’s stories, in fact there’s a whole anthology out with examples: “The Many Tortures of Anthony Cardno.” How did all that come about?
It started out as a Kickstarter thing. When Brian White launched Fireside magazine’s first Kickstarter, one of the rewards was to be Tuckerized as a main character in a story by writer Christie Yant, who I was Livejournal friends with. (Christie’s story starts with “me” waking up and puking into an open grave, and it remains probably my favorite Tuckerization moment.) Then the Kickstarter for the second Fireside issue had a reward to be Tuckerized into a story by the amazing Mary Robinette Kowal, and the third by the equally amazing Damien Angelica Walters. Brian joked that if he ran enough Kickstarters, we’d have a whole book. That lead to the idea of a charity anthology to raise money for the American Cancer Society. I asked a whole bunch of friends and acquaintances if they’d be interested in donating stories, and they rose to the occasion. Bear Weiter donated book design time, for which I am eternally grateful. Jay Lake’s story “Cold Statues,” which closes the anthology, might be the last thing he completed writing before he succumbed to colon cancer. I’ll always regret not getting the book finished before he passed.
What are you working on now and what do you have coming out soon?
On the creative side, nothing really. I need to get back onto the writing and submitting train. But I continue to be proofreader for Lightspeed Magazine and in the fall will also pick up the reins proofreading for the relaunched Fantasy Magazine. I’m also proud to say I did the copy-editing for the new Dystopia Triptych anthologies from Adamant Press edited by John Joseph Adams, Hugh Howey, and Christie Yant, and proofreading on the first three of Bryan Thomas Schmidt’s John Simon Thrillers from Boralis Books and on Frank Schildiner’s recent Russian spy novella The Klaus Protocol and his upcoming charity novella Remus. Oh, and I occasionally review books for Strange Horizons magazine.
And finally, where can people find you and your work online?
The best place to look is www.anthonycardno.com, of course. I have several free-to-read short stories posted there, and of course my blog full of book reviews, interviews, and other random posts. On social media I’m most active on Twitter and Instagram as @talekyn (pronounced “Tale-kin”), have a Snapchat I rarely use under the same handle, and I’m on Facebook as Anthony R. Cardno, where I also have a page for my soon-to-be-rereleased children’s Christmas book The Firflake. And I’ve written lyrics and sung vocals for four songs that can be found on www.anthonycardno.bandcamp.com.
Anthony R. Cardno writes in hotel rooms and coffee shops more often than he writes at home in northwest NJ, so it’s no wonder so many of his stories are about travelers. His stories have appeared in, among others, Chiral Mad 4 (co-written with Maurice Broaddus), Kaleidotrope, Galactic Games, Kepler’s Cowboys, One Thousand Words For War, Beyond The Sun, OOMPH: A Little Super Goes A Long Way, Tales of the Shadowmen Volume 10, and in audio form on the StarShipSofa podcast. He is the proofreader for Lightspeed and Fantasy magazines. He’s also written a children’s Christmas book, The Firflake, and is contemplating completing a mystery novel.
Jeff Baker blogs about reading and writing sci-fi, fantasy and horror and other sundry matters on or around the thirteenth of each month. He has a story in the upcoming Queer Sci Fi anthology among other places. He lives happily in Wichita, Kansas with his husband Darryl and can be found on Facebook (where he met Anthony!) at https://www.facebook.com/Jeff-Baker-Author-176267409096907/ He blogs and posts fiction at https://authorjeffbaker.com/.