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Interview with Jei D. Marcade
2019-12-04 · by Stewart C Baker
Jei D. Marcade is a Korean-American speculative fiction writer whose work has appeared in Uncanny Magazine, PodCastle, and Strange Horizons. They can be found haunting jeidmarcade.com or tweeting sporadically @JeiDMarcade.
This interview was conducted over e-mail in November of 2019.
sub-Q Magazine: You write short stories as well as fiction of the interactive variety. Do you find yourself approaching both genres in a different way?
Jei D. Marcade: Yes and no! Operationally, it’s been quite similar: I take a pretty fragmented approach to my stories in both forms, so working in Twine felt like a fairly organic transition after using Scrivener for years. And while my process usually depends on the project, I’m inclined to build character-driven scenes first and worry about narrative continuity later, which lends itself to a certain adaptability of structure.
When writing a game, I’m more conscious of the proximity and clarity of consequences, whereas in traditional fiction, I frequently rely on the reader’s ability to retain or review certain lines to appreciate the emotional weight of much later ones (a strategy deployed with debatable degrees of success, I’m sure). Because I personally am far less patient when I play narrative games, I also try to build atmosphere with an even more economic use of words than in traditional short fiction, which is already pretty spare!
sub-Q Magazine: That Night at Henry’s Place hits on a lot of horror (and other) movie tropes. Do you have a favorite trope? A least favorite?
Jei D. Marcade: I don’t know that I have a particular favorite, though I’m pretty fond of Affably Evil and Retired Monster. And while I’m usually rather desensitized to on-screen violence/gore, I absolutely cannot abide any body horror that involves parasites, hands, or teeth.
Probably the strongest influence to Henry’s Place is the simple happenstance of having grown up in Illinois, where so many modern horror stories are set.
Jei D. Marcade: As my eldest botchild, @tinydiviner will always hold a special place in my heart, but I suspect that @allhailyourself would be the kind of debater to simply shout down their opponent and call it a clear victory. (They do mean well.)
sub-Q Magazine: What new projects are you working on? Or, if you’ve got another recent or upcoming release to share, tell us about it!
Jei D. Marcade: I recently released a little Hallowe’eny game called “Trick/Treat” in which Henry makes a cameo appearance, and I’m writing an IF novel for Choice of Games that deals with witchcraft, academia, and organized crime that I’m very excited about.
Re: trad fic, I’ve been working on a secondary-world fantasy novella loosely inspired by Korean history and East Asian folklore, and have a couple short stories, “Where Black Stars Rise” and “#MotherMayhem,” coming out in anthologies slated for mid- to late-2020 releases that are chock full of eldritch abominations and body horror involving hands.