The MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories - Volumes XXXI-XXXIII is currently running on Kickstarter and we're interviewing the contributors. Next up is Arianna Fox.
1. Please tell us a little bit about yourself, and your story.
My name is Arianna Fox, and I wear many hats, including the two deerstalkers I just recently acquired. 😁 I am an entrepreneur, triple and best-selling author, motivational speaker, actress, voiceover talent, lover of languages and grammar, and lastly (but certainly not least 😉), an avid fan of Sherlock Holmes who hopes to one day acquire the privilege of calling herself a Sherlockian.
Ever since I was four years old, I wanted to be an author when I’d grow up, which I told my parents quite eagerly. They replied with one of the best bits of advice I’ve ever received: “Why when you grow up? Why wait? In fact, why not start right now?” Four-year-old me was, as can be imagined, shocked at such an enlightening revelation. I immediately got to writing and began working on a children’s book. Later in my life (at around ten or twelve years of age), I wrote a science fiction book of the likes of Inception or The Matrix, which were great influences. Shortly after, I wrote a young adult fantasy novel.
I’ve always loved writing, but the arduous journey of beginning to enjoy reading was something else entirely. I very much disliked reading when I was younger simply because there was nothing that piqued my interest. I had read a few classic books (most of them published in the 20th century) and liked them, but it still wasn’t enough to ignite an interest. The first time I realized how much I truly loved reading was one weekend when my family and I visited a Barnes & Noble store and I decided to pick up The Return of Sherlock Holmes, which they so conveniently had placed in the “Classics” section. Heh. Why not? I thought as I brought it back to my seat, evidently oblivious to the fact that there was an entire heap of novels and short stories to be read first. I opened up the pages, and from the first paragraph of “The Empty House” (or, as some scholars might prefer to call it, EMPT 🙃), I was instantly sucked into the strange and singular mystery of the Honorable Ronald Adair and Watson’s emotional response to seeing Holmes’ “return” from the chasm of the dead (I suppose I bypassed the need for spoiler alerts by doing so). Thus, I instantly fell in love with it and, upon finishing The Return, ended up reading all the books in the right order, further feeding my newfound obsession. I am now reading them in Spanish.
That’s how I became enamored with Sherlockiana in general. From there, I began to find out about scion societies and realized there were others out there who were as obsessed—or, to my great astonishment, perhaps a trifle more obsessed!—with the series as I was. From there, a little branch labeled “Pastiches” emerged from this Sherlockian tree. There were people who wrote Canonically accurate representations and additions to the stories which I loved so well. With a gentle prodding and incredible support from my parents, they encouraged me to write my first pastiche and submit it to the MX Books of New Sherlock Holmes Stories by Steve Emecz from MX Publishing and edited by David Marcum. Imagine my delight when my story (as well as my artistic daddy’s fantastic illustration) was accepted into Part XXXII of the MX Books. I am so very honored to have my first ever pastiche included in such a prestigious collection, and I am also very passionate about the things which it promotes. With that being said, that’s my literary story—though if I told a story about the other aspects I mentioned earlier, I’m afraid this would turn from a simple interview answer to an essay. 🙃 Once again, I give credit and praise to MX Publishing for their excellent work in helping the inhabitants of this terribly modern world remember that sometimes, we need a trifle of the old-fashioned in our lives.
2. Why did you want to participate in this project?
Originally, I was going to pass on submitting a story to this project—not because I didn’t like the idea of the collection, but simply because I was very busy with an acting project from which we had just gotten back, and with it being so close to the deadline at the end of the month of December, I thought there was no hope in submitting. My parents, however, saw what I could not, and encouraged me to write up a story and submit it. “6,000-10,000 words in ten days? No way!” came the response. However, I ended up being able to submit it and get it edited even when MX was still accepting submissions.
The thing that really stood out to me about the project was the reason for its creation. The first sentence of the author submission guidelines stood out to me like water in a desert: “The MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories was created…to provide new Holmes adventures in the traditional Canonical form, as a pushback against modern non-Canonical versions, and to remind people that Holmes and Watson are heroes.” I too have a dislike for modern adaptations that don’t stick to the Canon; thus, this collection immediately caught my eye.
As I scrolled down the guidelines, a grin grew on my face every time the article mentioned something that could or could not be accepted due to Canonical accuracy. This was the main reason, apart from wanting to test the waters of pastiching, of why I wanted to participate.
3. What are your current and upcoming projects?
My most recent projects are those which are categorized under my acting career: I am one of the characters in a hilarious sitcom titled Wannabe a Star as well as the lead character in a thought-provoking and brilliantly created science fiction film which my daddy created, directed, and wrote, The Box in the Basement. As far as literary efforts, I’m keeping my writing schedule open so that when a new opportunity presents itself, I take it. As for more Sherlockian stories, I hope to write more; after all, I have found pastiching, as I was told by one of the Sherlockian greats, to be quite addictive indeed. 😉
4. Any last thoughts?
Yes: one more shameless shout-out for MX Publishing. To whomever is still reading (congratulations on reading it all, by the way), please check out the website for MX Publishing and purchase whatever you can, as the people there are dedicated and fantastic to work with. Also, much of the money from MX Books sales goes to the Undershaw School (formerly Stepping Stones in Hindhead, England, where Sir Arthur Conan Doyle himself grew up) in for children with special needs. To date, they’ve raised nearly $95,000 for the school. Three cheers for MX Publishing, and long live the MX Books! 🥳