A mild-mannered management engineer by day, a mild-mannered writer by night. A.K. writes speculative, slipstream science fiction and fantasy.
He has penned alternate realities where robots are treated as gods fallen to earth, built cities filled to the brim with artificial animals, and crafted stories of alien invaders that can see human thought. He has also dipped his hand in “Jericho” style post-apocalyptic fiction and birthed a fantastic world where truth and lie can occupy the same space. He lives in the Deep South, among the mosquitoes and magnolias, with his wonderful wife and menagerie of dogs and cats, and a wild rabbit that occasionally strays into the back yard for a visit.
Q: Who is your greatest literary influence?
As the youngest child, I would often rifle through my older brother’s room when he wasn’t around. I believed it was my divinely appointed duty to be nosey. Anyway, I remember one time finding a book by Ray Bradbury. The Martian Chronicles. I didn’t know him, but knew on occasion my brother talking up this particular book. So I decided to give it a read. Not making it more than a couple pages into the first story, I set it aside because the thought of a rifle firing bees terrified twelve-year old me. Years later, I stumbled across the book again, and thinking back to my short-lived literary connoisseurship, decided to give old Ray another whirl.
I was mesmerized. Not only did I finish The Martian Chronicles (by now I’ve read it four times), but I also devoured his short story compilations and his novels. I read his work thinking they were written just yesterday. It was hard to believe he’d written them so long ago. They’re timeless and mellifluous. His style is effortless, sneaking up on you and pulling you into his world before you realize what has happened. That’s the mark of a great storyteller.
As an author, when you read great authors you want to emulate them. You know you can’t come close, but that doesn’t stop you from trying. You study how they construct sentences, how they wring emotion from words, how their text ebbs and flows in natural pacing. And you pull some of that into your writing. Ray Bradbury has inspired me in many ways.
The short story I’ve written that was most influenced by him is called Cicada Seventeen. It’s about a brother and sister growing up in rural Texas. It’s about childhood innocence and how fragile it can be. It’s also about an evil clown, because what’s more terrifying to children than an evil clown. You can find this story in my anthology of android short stories, called Automatic. Search for it on Amazon. It’s nowhere near Ray Bradbury, but you might enjoy it, nonetheless.
Talk to me on Facebook at /authorakmeek, or Instagram @akmeek.