Interview on Speculative Fiction Showcase

Speculative Fiction Showcase interviewed me on Strange Monsters, my writing soundtrack, and my influences here.

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“The Girl with Golden Hair” in Beneath Ceaseless Skies

I have a new story in Beneath Ceaseless Skies today, “The Girl with Golden Hair.” I’m excited about this story for three main reasons:

1. I wrote a story about a friendship between a girl and a centaur. I love stories about friendship. I don’t generally have a preformed like or dislike for stories about centaurs, but oddly enough, this is not the only centaur story I have coming out this year. One would think I write lots of stories with centaurs. I don’t.

2. My good friend Michael J DeLuca narrated the podcast and did an awesome job: http://www.beneath-ceaseless-skies.com/audio/bcs-153-the-girl-with-golden-hair/

3. I wrote this story hoping to explore the trope of the golden-haired main character in so many fairy tales. Growing up, I was always fielding comments about my hair. I heard everything from dumb blonde jokes told by peers in middle and high school to a remark made to my father: “You have no idea how much money you’ve saved by having girls with blonde hair. Hair dye is so expensive!” I was tired of these comments before I even knew how to respond. And so, when I read about or see the golden-haired princess or heroine, I’m always wary. I wanted to literalize the golden hair aspect, making the hair real gold, so heavy it hurts the wearer’s neck. The hair becomes a burden, along with the expectations it brings with it. Everyone expects Oovis, the main character in this story, to do great things. She internalizes these expectations, setting a high precedent for herself that she may never be able to fill.

“Everything Beneath You” — Beneath Ceaseless Skies (January 2015)

My short story “Everything Beneath You” appeared in Beneath Ceaseless Skies in January 2015.

beneath-ceaseless-skiesFirst line: You don’t know me, but I changed the world.

Inspiration: In the late winter of 2014 I was having a rough time with depression. I wasn’t feeling excited about anything I wrote, and that combined with a break in therapy and the lack of sunlight brought on the worst funk I’ve experienced. Fed up with feeling awful, I decided that I needed to force myself to grab hold of any opportunities that presented themselves. When my sister asked me if I wanted to go with her to a local Lantern Festival, I said yes even though it felt like the last thing I wanted to do.

Each lantern display at the festival had a plaque. Most described Chinese myths. The myth that stood out the most to me was about seven fairy sisters. Having to keep up with my nephews, I took a picture of the plaque to read again later and moved on. I stood on a lantern boat shaped like a dragon. It cost money to board the stationary boat, and my partner only had enough for one of us. As I stood there looking at the water, I told myself I’d turn it into a story, partly as a thank-you to him for letting me have the experience over him and partly because I had to do something, anything, to lift my spirits.

The beauty of the festival–the bright lights, brisk air, and the presence of family–brought me out of my depression just enough to allow me to start the story. I wrote about a woman who felt confined to a body and a world that constricted her. I wrote about a woman with grand ambition; she wants a ship of her own, a body that she can alter as she pleases, love. Once I finished, I felt invigorated. Though the depression hadn’t completely gone, I was inspired to keep working. I pledged to write a novel within the year. I did. And when Beneath Ceaseless Skies took the story, I completed another goal: publication in one of my favorite magazines.

Read it for free: http://www.beneath-ceaseless-skies.com/stories/everything-beneath-you/

Art: Whisper by Jennifer Stufflebeam

“Sleepers” — Interzone (March 2014)

My short story “Sleepers” appeared in the March 2014 issue of Interzone and was reprinted online in the December 2014 isssue of Fantastic Stories.

Art by Martin Hanford
Art by Martin Hanford

First line: “The newscasters say that the sleepers came without warning, that one day they weren’t here and the next, they were.”

Inspiration: In February of 2013, my partner had spinal surgery. On my birthday one day later, I broke my ankle in a car crash. This left us both rather helpless in a 700 square foot duplex, but it also gave me six free weeks of writing time and some misery for inspiration. Naturally, I wrote about a young woman struggling with panic and the drawn-out death of her father in a hospital.

Praise for “Sleepers”:

Buy a copy of Interzone, the high quality British SFF magazine where “Sleepers” first appeared (Issue 252): http://ttapress.com/interzone/backissues/

Read it for free on Fantastic Stories: http://www.fantasticstoriesoftheimagination.com/short-story-sleepers/

Art: The Tempest by Jennifer Stufflebeam

“Sleepers” reprinted in Fantastic Stories

My story “Sleepers,” which originally appeared in Interzone, has been reprinted in Fantastic Stories, which means it’s now free to read online: http://www.fantasticstoriesoftheimagination.com/short-story-sleepers/

“The newscasters say that the sleepers came without warning, that one day they weren’t here and the next, they were. I don’t believe them. There must have been signs we were too wrapped up in our busy lives to see.”