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'Heat 9' interview: contributors Camron and Vantid

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Isiah had the chance to interview most of the contributors to annual adult anthology Heat 9, published by Sofawolf; some could not be reached. Related interviews: Whyte Yote & Alastair WildfireKandrel & ScappoAlopexHuskyteerKyell Gold & NimraisTempe O'kun

Isiah Jacobs: Good evening, Camron! Vantid! Thank you both so much for coming on the show!

Vantid: Good to be here.

Camron Cucce: Good evening, Isiah. Thanks for having us. Pleasure to be here in old Detroit.

Isiah Jacobs: I don't think it would really be a pleasure, but alright! Camron, for this year's edition of Heat you decided to write a poem and it was illustrated by Vantid here. Could you tell me what this poem is about, please?

Camron Cuccu: It's simply about the joy of love and discovery. We meet the narrator in the flush of first love - or perhaps lust, call it puppy love if you will -- and follow him through heartache and on to new horizons.

Isiah Jacobs: And falling in love with other people after their first, right?

Camron Cuccu: I'm not sure I mentioned falling in love again, though I wouldn't rule that out in the interpretation. The character is certainly led into exploring some new playfulness; does he participate because he's in love? Does he fall in love because he participates? Or is love strictly necessary for the new joys this exploration brings?

Isiah Jacobs: This is all meant to be interpreted by the reader?

Camron Cuccu: I believe all stories invite the reader to see him or herself, in one way or another. In "Love Learn", I purposefully left a lot unsaid; the poem is about joy and delight, not about the specifics.

Isiah Jacobs: And why did you decide to do this with your poem?

Camron Cuccu: In brief, because that's how I felt the poem should read, how the poem should behave. It's about opening horizons; over-defining those horizons for the readers limits their view. Giving them a hint of what's over the rise makes them want to take the climb themselves and see what they only can see.

Isiah Jacobs: From one writer to another, you have my respect. Now Vantid, did SofaWolf let you choose which story you wanted to illustrate? Or was "Love Learn" the last story to be illustrated?

'Fox Romp', by Vantid, for 'Love Learn'Vantid: I was asked if I was interested in illustrating a poem that was vague on the species and open to interpretation. Because I was given so much freedom with the piece, I happily accepted.

Isiah Jacobs: The illustration that you provided is actually quite amazing! What made you want to draw it this way?

Camron Cuccu: I agree - it's my favorite art in the book.

Vantid: Thank you both so much! To me, the tone of the poem is very flirty, light hearted, with back and forth feelings. I wanted to paint the forest scene with non anthro foxes frolicking amongst the trees. The composition is somewhat yin yang which creates a resonance between the foxes and echoes the poem. The gender of the shadowed fox is ambiguous on purpose. I guess that goes along the theme of viewer interpretation!

Isiah Jacobs: So, what made you want to write this as a poem, Camron? Why not a story?

Camron Cuccu: It had to read like a dance, not like a walk.

Isiah Jacobs: Was there a certain measure of beats that you had in mind while writing this?

Camron Cuccu: I can't say I measured the beats per se. I was in a particular mood when I began writing the piece. I felt like my insides were cavorting. Tail chasing, playing ... from my toes through my heart up to the recesses of my mind, I had a rhythm running through me, and the words jumped in time to meet it. That's how I write poetry: I follow my prevailing rhythm at the time. If I had tried to write the poem on Thursday -- sitting at my desk after the holiday with a pile of unwanted work to chew through -- it would have been a somber tale indeed.

Isiah Jacobs: Is the poem based off personal experience? Or stories you've heard from others?

Camron Cuccu: Yes and yes. It's not my story, but there's some of me in it; it's not about anybody else in particular, but crystalizes a spirit that I love when I see it in those around me.

Isiah Jacobs: You love people being giddy in love?

Camron Cuccu: Certainly. Every bit of it. Love at first sight, the love of old friends platonic or otherwise, the love a married couple cultivates, the cheerful flirtation of the irrepressibly sexy. Mushy kids that don't know how horribly sappy they look (or don't care) give me as much joy as two jaded, heart-broken cynics negotiating their way past their own self-constructed barriers.

Isiah Jacobs: But why do you like this? Why others and not yourself?

Camron Cuccu: That would be telling. ; ) ... No, seriously, I don't mean to exclude myself from this list by any means. I'm in there among them.

Isiah Jacobs: Vantid, are you still awake?

Vantid: Oh yes!

Isiah Jacobs: Okay! What did you think of the other stories and illustrations in this anthology?

Vantid: I was very happy to see Cara Mitten's work in this issue! I've been a fan of hers for the last ten years and it's good to see her work published in the fandom. It's also exciting to see a lesser known deer species illustrated! I'm a fan of the Cervidae.

Isiah Jacobs: Camron, do you have any upcoming projects for the fandom?

Camron Cuccu: A couple of things. I'm sitting on a handful of poems that don't have an outlet yet. But my biggest news is that I've been working with Sofawolf to develop a novel.

Isiah Jacobs: Can you give us a teaser?

Camron Cuccu: Set in the semi-distant future in our world, it's a post-apocalyptic romp full of adventure, intrigue, danger, messages from the past, and warnings for the future. And of course it's full of talking animals. I'm not able to release story fragments or specific details yet, but it's a lot of fun to write and I'm really looking forward to getting the tale out there.

Isiah Jacobs: The post-apocalyptic genre is a personal favorite! And that's just enough to satisfy my curiosity. Guys, thank you so much for your time! I look forward to having you two back on the show in the future!

Camron Cuccu: Thanks, Isiah!

Vantid: Thank you!

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About the author

Isiah Jacobsread storiescontact (login required)

a furry journalist and Spider from Michigan, interested in science fiction