Corvidae Contributor Interview: M.L.D. Curelas

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Over the coming weeks I’d like to share interviews that Magnus and I conducted with the contributors to Corvidae and Scarecrow. This week we’ll talk with M.L.D. Curelas whose story allowed me to check off the ‘Steampunk corvid story’ on my TOC wishlist for this anthology 🙂

Interview with M.L.D. Curelas

Please share a short excerpt from your story:

“Right.” Hanna leaned forward and adjusted the knob of the gaslight lamp, brightening the alcove where they sat. “Let me see her up close.”

He lowered the bird to the table, and she hesitated, then stepped down, wings held aloft for balance, croaking irritably.

Jenny was mostly black and white, with streaks of blue on her wings and tail–a magpie. One of her legs was artificial, brass, by the look of it, with miniscule gears and cogs serving as joints. One eye was also clockwork. It click-clacked and a telescopic lens protruded from the socket.

What is it about corvids that inspired you to write about them? They’re so intelligent! Recommended reading for everyone: In the Company of Crows and Ravens. And I love Charles de Lint’s stories that focus on the Crow Girls and Lucius the Raven.

Was there one corvid characteristic you wanted to highlight more than others? I wanted to have the magpie muttering and participating in the conversations. I remember a few years ago hearing people talking in my backyard. It sounded almost like a cocktail party! I went outside and it was a magpie, having a conversation with herself.

Do you think you were successful? I think so. Jenny has opinions!

If you were a covid, what would you build your nest out of? Goat hair.

What’s your favourite ‘shiny’ thing? New books.

As you may know, one of Edmonton’s local Twitter personalities is Magnus E. Magpie who haunts Twitter as @YEGMagpie. I invited him to read an advance copy of Corvidae and Scarecrow and offer a short cawmentary on each story from a magpie’s point of view, which he did. When he was finished I asked if there was anything he’d like to ask the contributors. The italicized portions are mine because Magnus didn’t ask straight-forward questions on account of he’s a magpie 🙂

Mr. Yegpie: I also would sure love to know where they got their ideas from! I caught several familiar references from existing books and mythology and fairy tales; I like seeing people riff off stuff. (What inspired your story/poem?Calgary, not too far from you!

Mr. Yegpie: I also would sure love to know where they got their ideas from! I caught several familiar references from existing books and mythology and fairy tales; I like seeing people riff off stuff. (What inspired your story/poem?Corvids are known for their attraction to shiny things. It seemed that a magpie would be a good thief. Crows will often help wolves locate carcasses, so the magpie’s partner had to be a wolf.

Mr. Yegpie: I think I would like to know what people’s favourite corvid is though; and if it isn’t a magpie, WHYEVER NOT?!? (If they come back with some guff about crows using tools, PLEASE LET ME KNOW AND I WILL SEND THEM A COPY OF MY ROGERS BILL. Pffft, crows.) (What is your favourite corvid?Obviously, magpies.

 

M. L. D. Curelas lives in Calgary, Canada, with two humans and a varying number of guinea pigs. Raised on a diet of Victorian fiction and Stephen King, it’s unsurprising that she now writes and edits fantasy and science fiction. Her most recent short fiction, an Old West set steampunk story, can be found in the anthology Kisses by Clockwork. She is also the owner of Tyche Books, a Canadian small-press which publishes science fiction and fantasy.

 

Cover for CORVIDAE. Design by Eileen Wiedbrauk

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