Tell me a bit about your story.
“Brutality” is the story of a young man living on a remote island that is terrorized by dragons every generation or so. It’s written as a first-person narrative, because I wanted the reader to experience the dragon attack through his eyes. My stories generally tend to be pretty fast paced, and “Brutality” is no exception. Once the action gets going, the tension doesn’t really let up until the climax.
Are there any aspects of dragon lore—and, subsequently, modern dragon fiction—that you particularly like or dislike?
I like the idea of dragons as manifestations of certain human traits, and it’s something my story touches on. Think of the Norse story of Fafnir, the dwarf who is transformed into a serpent or a dragon by his greed. In this aspect, dragons are similar to many other creatures of folklore and literature: the vampire, the werewolf, even Frankenstein’s monster. All these creatures reflect the darker things lurking below the surface of our rational human minds.
Are you fond of films like Dragonslayer that depict dragons as mindless, violent animals, or do you prefer your dragons with a bit more intelligence and, perhaps, kindness?
I like both, and there is room for both. While historically, dragons have had very specific roles in human culture, modern writers and audiences have adapted the idea into something much more expansive. The same has been done with the creatures I mentioned a moment ago: vampires and werewolves. And perhaps because they started as aspects of the human psyche, it’s only natural to see ourselves in them and, in many cases, make them heroes in their own right. That being said, I wanted to make this story’s dragons fit the more traditional narrative, although they do have intelligence, which is something the islanders in “Brutality” have to contend with.
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Thank you for the interview, Michael! You can find out more about Michael K. Rose on his website: http://www.michaelkrose.com/