Whether laughter, sadness or enlightenment, local author Stansbury says joy of writing comes from readers’ reactions

Published 8:49 am Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Making them wonder 

These are not your ordinary stories. “Inversion,” a new book by local author Paul Stansbury, is a collection of speculative fiction.

Making them wonder
Whether laughter, sadness or enlightenment, local author Stansbury says joy of writing comes from readers’ reactions

“Speculative fiction is a new, fancy term for science, fantasy, weirdness — that kind of stuff,” he says. “I characterize it that way because I cover a lot of different things, I don’t write about any one specific topic.”

Email newsletter signup

Saturday, Stansbury will appear at the Boyle County Public Library for a non-formal “author visit,” where he says he will talk to visitors interested in any of his books, as well as preform readings, if requested. 

“Inversion — These are Not Your Ordinary Stories” is the third book he’s published through his own Sheppard Press, and he has a third — “Inversion II, Creatures, Fairies and Haints Oh My!” that will release this fall. 

This first “Inversion” collection contains entirely new pieces, as well as stories that have already been published online and in anthologies. 

“So there are some ‘proven’ things in there that have already been printed before, but there’s some that haven’t been seen anywhere …” 

Next, I tried my hand at being editor, putting together a collection of my Grandfather’s stories, letters and other writings. The result was By George – A Collection Of Childhood Experiences and Anecdotes, which was published by Sheppard Press in June, 2017. I Did all the work myself. I will say, I gained a new and increased respect for editors as a result of this process. I did find it a rewarding, albeit exhausting experience and would be willing to try it again if the right project comes along.

Stansbury says to keep fresh as a writer, he allows himself the latitude to get into different types of genres. He’s written poetry; a book titled, “By George,” a collection of anecdotes written by his grandfather that Stansbury collected through letters; and “Down by the Creek,” another collection of stories he considers “down-home” in flavor, where each story is paired with a personal reflection in the form of a poem. 

He will have all of his books on-hand for purchase, as well. 

“Yes, I will sign them, talk to people about them, and if someone wants me to read something, I’ll do that, too. I really just hope it’s a nice experience.” 

Stansbury says part of what he gets out of author appearances is validation — “That I am indeed a writer. That what I’m doing has value.” 

Value, for him, he says, as well as value to the people who read it. 

“It’s really good to talk to people about what you’re writing and what you do,” Stansbury says. Writing can be a lonely deal if you write by yourself all of the time, he says. 

“The personal contact for me is what makes it real and what makes it important,” he says, not the fact of whether it sells or not. 

Stansbury also keeps sharp by partaking in the library’s writers group, allowing him to meet like-minded individuals who want to discuss works in progress. As an author, he feels it’s important to seek feedback from others any chance he can get. 

My first book, Down By the Creek – Ripples and Reflections,came out in January, 2017. It is a collection of humorous fictional stories influenced by my experiences growing up along Fern Creek in Kentucky. I also penned a poem to accompany each story. In reality, it is a chapbook, and served as a good sized project for my first experience in self publishing.

“That’s one of the things that’s important, to take the time to speak and share with people who are wanting to get published or want to get started writing. I’m not going to make my retirement living off of selling books, that’s just clear and honest. But encouraging people to write and find the reason why they want to write is important.” 

Stansbury shares part of  a story from “Inversion” that seems to get the most reaction from his readers, about two astronauts who go beyond the edge of the universe. 

“And they’re struggling with what exactly that is in the grand scope of things. When you get to the end of it, they’re talking about what’s going to happen; they’re looking back at this little tiny blip of light. And they discuss whether memories of the universe are fading away, or perhaps ‘memories of us are fading away from the universe.’”

That’s what writing is all about, he says — making others react by thinking or feeling “even for a moment, about something they haven’t ever thought about before.”

“That’s the kind of thing that makes me sit back and go, ‘Uh-huh,’ as an author,” he says. “That’s what I want them to do. Sometimes I want them to laugh or giggle. Sometimes readers feel sad, or wonder about what they just read. Because they’ve never wondered about it before. That’s what it’s all about.” 

Online: paulstansbury.com


An author visit with Paul Stansbury will be 1-3 p.m. Saturday at Boyle County Public Library, held in the main lobby. 


In addition to being a contributing writer to The Advocate-Messenger, Paul Stansbury has had several pieces published by multiple presses. His poetry has appeared in The Rising Phoenix Review, Young Ravens Literary Review, Strange Poetry and Kentucky Monthly. Stansbury is also a coordinator for Kentucky Writers day at Penn’s Store, and a board member for Scarlet Cup Theatre. 

“The most appealing and freeing aspect of speculative fiction is that, like the worlds it creates, it is not bound by the traditional genres of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror. In fact it is not bound by any genre. It is free to adventure anywhere it likes as long as anywhere is a creation of imagination and speculation.”