Francis Top's Grand Design: An Interview with Author Craig Rodgers!
Francis Top's Grand Design, the latest from Craig Rodgers, gives readers a glimpse into a number of peculiar but surprisingly relatable lives. This collection, which delves into topics such as guilt and obsession, is not to be missed. But... it almost didn't happen.
To learn more about the story behind the story, read A Good Book To End The Day’s interview with the author below.
Tell us a little about Francis Top's Grand Design and the themes represented in the book.
Dread. Guilt. Some of these stories are high fantasy, some are cosmic horror, but the people in them going through things, they are most of them not having a great time. And a lot of them aren't great people.
What were the challenges in bringing this book to life?
Well, a lot of it almost didn't exist. A few years ago my house burned down. Some of these stories have been going around for years. The computers they were on all burned. Backups, hard drives. One drive survived by sheer luck, a friend brought it back to life, the smoke and soot it was filled with somehow didn't destroy it entirely, and if not for that they'd just be gone. A lot of others too.
This book's summary describes you as "elusive." Does that elusiveness inform your
writing style in any way?
It informs my personality, and that informs my writing. It's not a description I would've come up with myself, but I don't think it's wrong. That's Alan Good. He edited the book, along with a million other things, and he tends to summarize an idea better than I ever could.
What question do you wish that someone would ask about your book, but nobody has?
Write it out here, then answer it.
When's the next one? And soon, I hope.
Who are some of your favorite authors that you feel were influential in your work? What
impact have they had on your writing?
Robert Aickman and Shirley Jackson, for sure. Both are big name short story writers who aren't really one thing or another, but you can sum them up as horror if you'd like. Cormac McCarthy made me not want to judge my characters for who they are in a story. Understand as best I can, but not judge in the moment. Stephen King was a gateway writer for me when I was a kid. And Dashiell Hammett I love for going and living on a friend's farm when he was just done. I don't have tuberculosis, but I understand.
Do you have any other projects in the works at this time?
There's a novel about a traveling bible salesman coming hopefully before the end of the year. And a book of longish shorts all taking place in the same lake town. Some of those stories are out in magazines or online now. That book is sometime next year. Lots of other work in various stages of completion.
What does literary success look like to you?
Whatever allows me to keep telling stories. I have a lot more waiting on me. If you have a cousin at Netflix, tell them to DM me.
How can readers keep in touch with you?
I'm on Twitter, or you can email my publisher at Death of Print. You could probably send mail there, I don't know. I'm sure there's a contact form someplace. I don't know how any of this works. I'm around.