James Beaton currently lives in Toronto. In his writing, he explores horror, absurd and dark themes often through psychological tensions, the supernatural and the bizarre. He has some short stories forthcoming and he is currently working on a novel.

I try to write every day; even if it is just something that is for me rather than something I will try to publish. James Beaton

Leodegraunce: James, what can you tell us about your background?

James Beaton: I started writing creatively a few years ago, although it is something I have always wanted to do. In my late teenage years, I would always dream of being a writer. Throughout my seemingly endless time in university my writing had to become much more academic. I studied sociology at the undergraduate and graduate level to which I credit many of my insights into the human condition. I find the marginal inherently fascinating.

Now I enjoy writing both surreal or dark humour and horror. My childhood still inspires me. I enjoy thinking about the strange experiences and interesting characters I knew when growing up in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.

I spend my life these days in Toronto with my two black cats dreaming up new tales to tell.

Leodegraunce: What drew you to flash fiction?

James Beaton: I have always liked writing short stories but appreciate flash fiction because it requires such efficient storytelling. Sometimes when my paid employment requires more of my energy, I appreciate the challenge of writing a story in a night and then crafting it throughout the week.

Leodegraunce: What are some of your recent works?

James Beaton: As I have only recently started submitting stories in the past couple of years, I am relatively new to having published fiction work. That is why I am so excited to have a story published through Leodegraunce. I have a horror story called "The Figure" coming out in an anthology called After Dark: A Collection of Haunting Tales through Diversion Press. I have recently had  stories published online through Absent Willow Review and Danse Macabre, DM du Jour. My horror writing often explores supernatural or psychological themes. My humour writing delves into some of the more bizarre aspects of human behaviour often taking on fantastical or surreal qualities.

Leodegraunce: What are your writing plans for 2011?

James Beaton: I will continue to write short fiction and flash fiction stories. I have a book of fictional humorous dating vignettes I have just finished so I am going to try and see about getting that published. I also have a series of fictional vignettes about eccentric characters I will hope to have completed by early summer. In addition to all of this, I have a horror novel I continue to write.

Leodegraunce: What is your top writing tip for aspiring authors?

James Beaton: Everyone has their own approach that works for them. I have been blessed with a very active imagination, which is quite likely the result of a childhood where I spent a lot of time alone in the woods and on the beaches of the east coast. I had to learn to entertain myself so I would always dream up peculiar situations or stories. I look for inspiration from my life and the past and present people—and animals—around me. I even take inspiration from my cats.

I try to write every day; even if it is just something that is for me rather than something I will try to publish. I experiment with my writing, often pushing my own boundaries.  I write about things I enjoy because that is what maintains my interest. If I feel stuck on one piece of writing, I will turn to another piece.