It’s Fae-tastic Friday, again! How are you enjoying these Fae-centric breaks from everything else that’s going on? I rather like them. We have a few more interviews to go, but when we run out I think I’ll continue the series with some guest blogs or some such awesomeness. We’ll see… For today, another interview! This one is with Rhonda Eikamp. Her Fae story begins in a submersible! How’s that for a unique setting, eh? 🙂
Rhonda Eikamp’s Interview
What was the inspiration for your Fae story?
Editor Rhonda Parrish put out a great call for submissions, looking for the most unusual settings for fairy stories authors could come up with. I knew I wanted to go with something underwater and the Civil War submarine idea just came out of nowhere.
Can you tell us a bit about the specific type of fairy creature in your story?
There was no particular folklore type I had in mind, unless it was maybe the winged sprite that is inimical to humans. I wanted to create something earthy, cthonic, more animal than human, which could inhabit the world with us but escape notice most of the time. Its concerns would be so different from ours that there would be almost no communication and the human and fairy characters would each have little understanding of what the other wanted.
Was this your first foray into writing fairy stories?
No, there was a story I’d almost forgotten about, from my first iteration as a writer (in the late 90’s to around 2001). And now that I think about it, the fairy queen captured by humans in that story was similar to the one in Possession – savage and animalistic, not quite comprehending what was happening to her. As if one had captured a ferret. So maybe this is an image that appeals to me.
Do you believe in fairies?
I’m an ancient-history and prehistory buff, and I love the idea of real origins for most of the myths and monsters and folktales we know. So I believe these ideas may have come from encounters between various peoples in ancient times, that the fairy idea may be a remnant of that kind of encounter.
Excerpt from Possession by Rhonda Eikamp (329 words):
Corporal Francis McFarlane was about to drown and the woman in his pocket couldn’t save him.
Black water had cascaded in when the submersible’s tip ruptured, the hand-cranked propeller not quick enough to pull them back from the explosive charge they’d rammed into the Union ship, the sea like a steely-cold monster poking its snout in through the twisted hole, and now all eight men were flailing away at the crank up around up around, headed for the shallows of the Chesapeake Bay, but they would never make it. The water was up to McFarlane’s waist. Private Dunsey was screaming beside him. On every face McFarlane saw the knowledge – clear by the light of the single candle clamped to the ceiling – that they would be dead in minutes, clams at the bottom of the bay.
Moments were tripping in his head like lightning bursts: the old farm, sunlight. Cherish, home in Suffolk with the baby, her eyes red from crying when he left for war. There lay a sadness, worse than the panic closing his throat. They would be alone. His life for the Confederacy, yes, but god help him, his wife and child would be alone.
McFarlane felt the flutter in his breast pocket and fumbled open the button. He knew the others believed he carried a live mouse there, a lucky charm, and he’d let them think that. No use for secrets now. The tiny winged woman clambered onto his palm. Perfect and perfectly nude, her skin a white gold glowing brighter than the candle. Eyes too large for the thumbnail bit of smooth beast face, lids sweeping back and up to her temples, etching the same parabola as the impossible violet wings rising from her shoulder blades, huge as elephant-ear leaves as they unfolded, colors of bruises and winter sky. The men had stopped cranking, the water to their chests. The nearest stared, death-hallucinating, McFarlane knew they assumed, seeing an angel come to lead them home.