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Sonali Dev | Exclusive Excerpt: THE WEDDING SETUP
Author Guest / January 11, 2022

The corridor that led to the cellar came alive with memories as she crossed it. The door was propped open. Emmitt must’ve forgotten to shut it when he left. Careful to leave it open, she stepped into the chill of the limestone floored room. The scent of cork and wine hung in the air. Stocked wooden racks and steel and glass coolers lined the walls. At the center of the room, under an abalone chandelier, stood a tasting table. Her eyes landed on the lacquered mahogany surface, knots and nicks marking the single piece of wood. The height had been just right for— “Ayesha?” She stumbled back, hand pushing against the door as she caught her balance. The click of the lock filled the silence that followed the sound of her name in his voice. No, no, no! She spun around and rattled the handle. It didn’t budge. He came up behind her, their hands meeting on the cool metal, the impact making her so lightheaded she pressed her head into the door. His hand trembled over hers, his body looming beside her, his presence wrapping around her. They were locked inside. She pulled away. From the door, from him,…

Nghi Vo | Exclusive Interview: THE EMPRESS OF SALT AND FORTUNE
Author Guest / March 26, 2020

Welcome to Fresh Fiction, Nghi! Please tell us about yourself and your debut novella, THE EMPRESS OF SALT AND FORTUNE. So I spent a good many years thinking I couldn’t write novels, and that I would always love writing short stories best. Then the Tor call came for novellas, and it suddenly struck me, hey, 20,000 to 40,000 words, I know what that looks like! I can do that!  With respectable parameters and a deadline, I wrote The Empress of Salt and Fortune in about a month. I feel like this says something about me, and I’m still not sure if it’s good or bad. The Empress of Salt and Fortune is a story about memory and love. There’s a lot of fear and fury in it, a lot of terrible things that happen to the people who least deserve them, and there is a victory at the end, but yeah, mostly it’s about the people we remember, how we love them while they’re here, and how we love them after they’re gone. It’s also got talking birds, fried morel mushrooms, war mammoths, and a ton of fortunetelling, as well! The Empress In-yo has gone through great lengths to keep…

Nino Cipri | FINNA
Author Guest / March 5, 2020

I got my first job at eleven, working at a doggy daycare, and I’ve been more-or-less continuously employed since then. Now, at age 34, my full work history is long and weird: server, gas station attendant, construction worker, theater set builder, house cleaner, bookseller, landscaper, bike mechanic, teacher, freelance writer, and editor. A lot of this work brought me joy, particularly when I was lucky enough to have great coworkers, or supervisors who invested in their teams. I’ve also seen firsthand the ways employers can exploit, belittle, and manipulate their workers. I poured years of frustration into my novella, FINNA. FINNA begins in an enormous homegoods store where, thanks to the uniquely awful corporate layout, reality has a tendency to tear doorways into other worlds. When an elderly customer wanders into a wormhole in a furniture showroom, the task of tracking her down falls to Jules and Ava, the workers with the least seniority. (There used to be a specialized division that handled these cases, but they were cut during the Recession.) Navigating a series of hostile, alien worlds would be hard enough, but Ava and Jules broke up three days ago. Before you ask: no, there’s no overtime (unless…