My First Story: AR Neal

by Emerian Rich

My First Story
with author  AR Neal

Age first started writing: Elementary school, about 6 or 7
Location of first writing: Child living at home with parents (South Jersey).


As a child of the late 60s, I was fascinated early on by rockets, the aftermath of the space race, and as such I read tons of Bradbury; his story collections like R is for Rocket, S is for Space, The Golden Apples of the Sun, and others were fuel.

My first story/Basic plot:

It was about a space toaster – even if I could remember more, would I want to tell it now? 😊

What did you think of the story then? 

I was very excited about my story. Our local electric company was running a contest – the winning stories were to be published in the company newsletter and there were prizes to be offered, including savings bonds and other giveaways from a local partner bank. I received an honorable mention so my story was printed in the newsletter and I got a little bag of bank-branded goodies. Oh, and there was cake, which is usually a greater prize than cash for a little person.

What do you think of the story now? 

I’d love to find it and read it! I suspect I’d laugh but would then be impressed at the wild concept that the young me had developed.

How did the story help you on the road to writing? 

I remain devoted to speculative fiction, so it was a foundation that gave me hope. I didn’t write for many years because life got in the way. I don’t write as often as I’d like because life still gets in the way. But since then, I have self-published as well as gotten picked up by three different publishers for books that fit three different genres.

Current work: 

Life in the Floating City uses the songs of musician/producer Thomas Dolby’s 2011 studio album Map of the Floating City as a framework for the story of Anderson Brown, husband, friend, and attorney, who lives on the Floating City, a place that serves as a pit stop on the edge of the Sombrero Galaxy for interstellar explorers, transport ships, and leisure travelers.

Anderson and his wife, Caroline (who is having an affair with Anderson’s best friend, Herbert) take an airship trip, during which there is an accident and Caroline is lost. Upon his return to the Floating City, Anderson must face legal proceedings and questions – there are suspicions that he did not do all he could to ensure Caroline’s safety, particularly in light of her sizeable estate. Herbert does what he can to help Anderson move forward, which includes taking him to meet an eccentric pair of scientists who synthesize a hallucinogenic drug from a certain breed of frog. During the trip, Anderson meets Simone, who becomes the love of his life. However, all is not as it seems and before long, Anderson loses everything and learns that those he thought he knew had much darker motives than he could ever imagine.

Andreé Robinson-Neal got bit by the writing bug back in the late 1970s while watching Rod Serling and reading Ray Bradbury; although she has worked in education for more than a quarter-century, she has never been cured of her penchant for speculative fiction. Find some of her flash fiction and her professional portfolio at She writes under the name AR Neal and reads more than she sleeps.

Next time, you’ll hear from author Courtney Mroch.