Anthony Self is Executive Director, Head of Film and writer for online literary magazine  He is always on the prowl for unique stories. He also pens his own, and his †3Dark story, The Crossing, is certainly unique. The writing is sober, measured, allowing the characters and plot to work the magic, and like a magician, he distracts you with a shiny object in one hand while laying the groundwork for the unexpected with the other.

Read on to learn more about Mr. Self and his writing!

What’s †3Dark?

The aim is to release 13 unique never-before-seen short stories in digital and paperback form, accompanied by custom artwork from Shawn Langley, and with cover artwork by grandfailure. These editions will be beautifully produced, melding the visual and written elements, offering unique insight into our world. Each story will be edited and have a foreword written by Joseph Sale. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be part of something colossal.

†3 Dark Cursed Crossings

Read the stories.
Bring this issue to life.

Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you from? What did you want to be when you grew up? What made you become a writer?

I’m from London, born and bred. To be specific, I grew up in Acton and have been scuttling around that borough for a while now. I’ve just moved to Queens Park, so have spent the last week settling in and getting my writing station up and running! When I was young I went through an embarrassing amount of different ideas of what I would be when I was older. This ranged from Fireman (I’m abysmally short-sighted, so that went straight out the window, no pun intended) Veterinarian (my grandfather was one, but once I realised the shocking amount of studying that would go into this my apathetic consciousness took hold and shook me out of it) and professional Games Player (I worked in QA for about four months on a zero hour contract and I have sausage fingers – so suffice to say it didn’t really work out.) A vivid image that always stays with me was writing a short story when I was really young – I think it was a blatant Star Wars fan fiction piece that involved two robots. One was a grouchy, pedantic taskmaster that referred to all human beings as meat bags and the other was a loveable, short, chrome headed dustbin on wheels. I showed it to my sister and she got upset when the adorable one died (Can a robot die? Perhaps it merely powered down the way Jukebox’s do in movies when the protagonist enters a den of scum and villainy) and it was then I realised that words can actually affect people – that my sister had formed an emotional attachment to a fictitious character I had created. Even though she was on the verge of tears at the time, I felt good. I would liken it to the exuberance Dr. Frankenstein portrayed when he created the monster. Since then I’ve been trying to capture the same type of sentiment with strangers – trying to make them cry. Perhaps there’s something wrong with me.

Your story takes place within the journey instead of at the destination. Your characters are in a small rowboat amidst a sea full of danger. The claustrophobia is unbearable. Did you always plan to write it like this? Why did you decide to do so?

I wanted to write a short fantasy story involving a thief. That was my first ingredient and something I’ve always wanted to write about – originally the story was going to be set during the festival of Black Hollow Island, but when I thought about how the character got there, more ideas and ingredients started seeping through into my thick skull. I’ve not written much in the way of fantasy, but I love that the genre allows you to go beyond the bounds of that which is acceptable – where all of a sudden creatures that could possibly lurk under the crevices don’t require a scientific rationale behind them – the open ended realm of fantasy gave me so many ideas to play around with. Science Fiction and fantasy is a subset that goes all the way back to Verne and Wells, Huxley and Orwell. Perhaps I had been watching too many murder documentaries, or had been on an Agatha Christie binge, but the idea of setting a couple of characters in a small enclosed space with no means of escape interested me – and it soon became a thinly veiled ‘whodunnit’ story thread set on a boat. I’ve had many other ideas for this character and it’s been pretty hard to shake Caleb from the creative sieve, so I may soon return to this land and create a meatier story for him to grapple with.

Someone has a secret. Did you know who the good and bad guys were when you started writing the story, or did they reveal themselves to you at the end?

The priest was a great character to write – when I began writing ‘The Crossing,’ he had a very specific role and I was determined to stick to my plans for him, but as the words started flowing I felt that there was more to him and that he had a deeper, darker story to tell. I think all the characters have their own little secrets, and I could have written dozens of pages more to expand and extrapolate, but then it would have turned into a novella! Hopefully you won’t know their little dirty secrets until they’re revealed on the page!

Who are your favorite writers and why?

I’m drawn to dark stories that deal with external forces impacting on characters, and I guess speculative fiction is more my bag than anything else. I’m always on the prowl to read new things, so at the moment I’ve been wolfing down Paul Tremblay and Jason Arnopp, Harlan Ellison and RJ Baker, Robin Hobb and then there’s also the old masters Stephen King, Ray Bradbury and Edgar Allan Poe.

What are your plans for the future? Any new work we can expect from you?

I wrote a short story that can be found in STORGY’s dystopian anthology ‘EXIT EARTH,’ called ‘Birthday Treat,’ involving a by-the-numbers drone worker bee called George Bryant that I’ve been formulating to write into a novel. I’ve got most of the ideas knocking around but I just need to sit down and crack on with it. I may also continue Caleb’s journey and see where that takes me…

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†3 Dark Cursed Crossings