Travel to a long-ago, twisted Japan where a monster brings inescapable good fortune to a seaside village, in Travis Heermann’s “An Idol for Emiko.”
Jamie and I have had the privilege of talking writing with Travis on a semi-regular basis before the pandemic struck. I hope we get back to doing that at some point! He’s very chill, a total geek, and loves to experiment with new things. I’m looking forward to talking marketing with him again. As well as harassing him for more stories…
You can find “An Idol for Emiko” in Amazing Monster Tales #4: Into the Briny Deep, out now!
How do you feel about the ocean? Any particular memories you’d like to share?
I love the ocean. Some of my most profound experiences have been snorkeling and scuba diving. For a few months in New Zealand, I lived about two hundred yards from the ocean. The sound and smell of the surf was a powerful thing, sometimes a little unnerving. It was a constant reminder of nature’s power right outside my door. My first experience snorkeling was near a coral reef off the coast of Bali, and it was just mind-blowing. The vibrant colors, the profusion of life. It was like swimming into Finding Nemo.
What is your favorite media (stories, nonfiction, video, games, music) about the ocean?
That’s a tough one.
My favorite game related to the ocean is the Bioshock series, although it’s more about being under the ocean, rather than the ocean itself.
As you can probably tell from my story in this issue, Lovecraft’s tales of Innsmouth fascinated me when I was a kid.
Film-wise, I love the movie The Abyss. It was just so well done from top to bottom. And who doesn’t love Jaws? That was a formative movie for me.
When I was a kid, I remember watching Jacques Cousteau all the time. It was one of my favorite shows.
What monster did you bring to your AMAZING MONSTER TALES story in this issue? Why?
Ostensibly the monster in “An Idol for Emiko” is a riff on Lovecraft’s Deep Ones, but I think it could be argued that the humans in it are just as monstrous. In that story, I was experimenting with form and structure, and I wanted the horrors in it to be sort of half-seen, lurking at the waterline, making us afraid to go in the water.
Bonus question! Anything you’d like to share with the readers, promotional or otherwise?
My Shinjuku Shadows series, an urban fantasy series set in contemporary Tokyo, features another of my favorite water monsters, the kappa, a staple of Japanese folklore. The first two books in that series, Tokyo Blood Magic and Tokyo Monster Mash might really tickle your gills.
[I love the Bioshock series!–Ed.]
Freelance writer, novelist, award-winning screenwriter, editor, poker player, poet, biker, roustabout, Travis Heermann is a graduate of the Odyssey Writing Workshop and the author of Tokyo Blood Magic, The Hammer Falls, The Ronin Trilogy, and co-author of Death Wind, plus short fiction pieces in anthologies and magazines such as Straight Outta Deadwood, Apex Magazine, Alembical, the Fiction River anthology series, Historical Lovecraft, and Cemetery Dance’s Shivers VII. As a freelance writer, he has produced a metric ton of role-playing game work both in print and online, including the Firefly Roleplaying Game, Battletech, Legend of Five Rings, d20 System, and the MMORPG, EVE Online.
He has a Bachelor of Science in Engineering, a Master of Arts in English, and teaches science fiction literature at the University of Nebraska Omaha. He has presented workshops on writing and publishing at the Odyssey Writing Workshop, Lighthouse Writers Workshop, Pike’s Peak Writers Conference, and Colorado Gold Writers Conference, and regularly appears at conventions across the U.S.
He enjoys cycling, martial arts, torturing young minds with otherworldly ideas, and monsters of every flavor, especially those with a soft, creamy center. He has three long-cherished dreams: a produced screenplay, a NYT best-seller, and a seat in the World Series of Poker.
You can find Travis at:
Facebook (Travis’s Readers, Renegades and Ronin group): https://www.facebook.com/groups/2335175340061310/