Journal of Writing & Environment

Meet the Editors: Tony Quick, Fiction Editor

In this next installment of our “Meet Your Flyway Editors” series, we talk with Fiction Editor Tony Quick about The Dead Zone, the difficulties of trying to read new fiction while in grad school, and why you perhaps shouldn’t submit stories based on a Dungeons & Dragons campaign.

Flyway: In a couple of sentences, share something about your background—writing related or otherwise.

TQ: I’m a sucker for mash-ups, amalgamations, homage, allusion, and pastiche. I haven’t decided whether this is a strongpoint or a weakness. This is across the spectrum of entertainment—television, music, film and fiction. I’m always curious when authors experiment with their influences. What would a Bradbury story look like channeled through Hemingway’s clipped, succinct style? What would a mash-up between Amy Hempel and Haruki Murakami look like? I think letting one’s influences run wild in a work, when it isn’t derivative, has the potential to create a whole—if not better—then at least as interesting as the sum of its parts.

Flyway: What book(s) can you not stop talking about?

TQ: I’m a huge fan of Jonathan Lethem’s Chronic City, James Baldwin’s Another Country, and John Irving’s A Prayer For Owen Meany. Those are definitely worth a read and if you don’t have them in the library yet, definitely put them on your list. And how could I forget? Stephen King’s The Dead Zone is also a highly underrated novel and the first I’d recommend to anyone that has doubts about the man’s skills on the keyboard (whoever that might be).

Flyway: What book(s) inspires or compels you writing?

TQ: When I’m writing short fiction, I aim for the accessibility and wit of T.C. Boyle, the descriptive imagery of Tobias Wolff, and the unexpected metaphors of Richard Bausch. It’s a bit different for my novel length stuff. I’ve always thought it would be cool to write a science fiction novel in the vein of James Baldwin’s bohemian book Another Country. Jonathan Lethem’s Motherless Brooklyn hits the right pitch when it comes to showcasing an immersive environment that serves its characters and the overarching story as well as it does its own function as a backdrop.

Flyway: What literary magazines (other than Flyway) do you read?

TQ: Graduate school has seriously cramped the amount of time I have to peruse literary magazines but I still find time to read The Gettysburg Review, Glimmer Train, Apex Magazine, and the occasional New Yorker story. also has a great amalgamation of short stories in their fiction section, curated from online journals around the web (only topped perhaps by Flyway’s web rove).

Flyway: What advice do you have for potential contributors of Flyway?

TQ: Our journal publishes high quality writing that focuses on environmental themes. During my tenure as Flyway’s fiction editor, the stories that will capture my attention will experiment with often unexplored environments: oceans, caves, cities, the artic, orbit, or other interesting backdrops. I’m looking for writing that challenges the idea that environmental fiction can’t leave the forest.

Flyway: Is there any fiction that you won’t accept for Flyway?

TQ: I’d refer writers to a list from Strange Horizons magazine’s “Stories We’ve Seen Too Often