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.
World Weaver Press and I are going to host an official cover reveal for Fae on May 21st. In addition to showing off our fantastic cover, we’ll also be hosting a giveaway of several copies (through Goodreads).
Meet Robin Goodfellow as you’ve never seen him before, watch damsels in distress rescue themselves, get swept away with the selkies and enjoy tales of hobs, green men, pixies and phookas. One thing is for certain, these are not your grandmother’s fairy tales.
Fairies have been both mischievous and malignant creatures throughout history. They’ve dwelt in forests, collected teeth or crafted shoes. Fae is full of stories that honor that rich history while exploring new and interesting takes on the fair folk from castles to computer technologies and modern midwifing, the Old World to Indianapolis.
Fae covers a vast swath of the fairy story spectrum, making the old new and exploring lush settings with beautiful prose and complex characters. Enjoy the familiar feeling of a good old-fashioned fairy tale alongside urban fantasy and horror with a fae twist.
With an introduction by Sara Cleto and Brittany Warman, and all new stories from Sidney Blaylock Jr., Amanda Block, Kari Castor, Beth Cato, Liz Colter, Rhonda Eikamp, Lor Graham, Alexis A. Hunter, L.S. Johnson, Jon Arthur Kitson, Adria Laycraft, Lauren Liebowitz, Christine Morgan, Shannon Phillips, Sara Puls, Laura VanArendonk Baugh, and Kristina Wojtaszek.
If you’d like to participate in the official reveal, please leave a comment to this blog post before May 17th (short notice, I know) and I’ll send you all the information you need by the 19th. Otherwise, just be sure and check back here on the 21st for the official unveiling of the cover and information about how you can enter to win a copy for yourself!
ETA:A friend asked me to explain a bit about what ‘hosting the reveal’ meant, for those people who aren’t familiar with the jargon. Basically, right before the day of the official reveal I will send out a copy of the cover image, a description of the book, links for the Goodreads giveaway, excerpts and all that sort of fun stuff to everyone who signs up to host the reveal. Then, on the day of the reveal all the hosts will post a blog entry with the cover image and whatever other bits of the book information they want to share.
People who don’t have a blog don’t need to sign up, but they can absolutely help still by spreading the word on social media, voting for the book in polls and entering to win the giveaway.
This is a blog hop. Each participant in it is meant to blog about their writing process… I’m going to be faking it a bit because, frankly, I don’t have a writing process LOL I’m getting a little ahead of myself, however. Because hop is chain/train-like in style. I was one of three writers invited by Kristina Wojtaszek to participate and I in turn invited a few writers. Kristina posted her blog last week, and the people I invited will blog next week. So the chain goes on, and on, and on… 😉 Before I start talking about myself and my, ahem, “writing process” let me tell you a little bit about Kristina, since she’s the one who invited me to play along 🙂
Kristina Wojtaszek grew up as a woodland sprite and mermaid, playing around the shores of Lake Michigan. At any given time she could be found with live snakes tangled in her hair and worn out shoes filled with sand. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Management as an excuse to spend her days lost in the woods with a book in hand. She currently resides in the high desert country of Wyoming with her husband and two small children. She is fascinated by fairy tales and fantasy and her favorite haunts are libraries and cemeteries. Follow her @KristinaWojtasz or on her blog, Twice Upon a Time.
I met Kristina when she submitted a story to Fae. A story, titled Solomon’s Friend, which I accepted. It was a pleasure to work with Kristina on edits and all the other minutiae that come with anthologies. I’ve not yet read her longer works (Kristina’s page at World Weaver Press) but Opal is on my TBR list and I liked her short story, Cinder, in the Specter Spectacular anthology from WWP.
Now, though I could keep talking about Kristina, I’m actually supposed to answer some questions about my writing process. Let’s give it a go, shall we?
1) What am I working on?
So many things. No really. Maybe that’s part of the reason I don’t have a writing process — I absolutely fail at single-tasking. I wish I didn’t. I wish I could focus on one project at a time, but that doesn’t seem to be the way my brain works. I’m pre-scheduling this blog post, so when it goes live it may not be 100% accurate, but as of the time of my writing this I am working on:
Editing the stories for A is for Apocalypse (almost done!)
Revising a Canadian apocalypse story (no where near done)
The first draft of my YA horror novel (almost done!!)
Poems for a collaborative project (spec)
Writing a ‘setting the mood’ scene for a collaborative short story (horror)
Copyediting a small collection of my reprints I’m going to self-publish.
Short story for a pen name project
Actually… that’s it for writing/editing projects which are super active right now. O_o Might be a new record, actually LoL I’ve also got a wish list of sorts of a bunch of stories I want to write, but either I haven’t quite figured them all the way out yet, or haven’t found the time to sit down and get ’em done. That list obviously doesn’t count things like Niteblade, promoting anthologies I’ve edited, paperwork, blogging challenges (I start one tomorrow), etc. etc. But it gives a pretty good idea of the files currently open on my computer.
2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Well, it’s mine, isn’t it? That sounds kind of like a lame or a smart ass answer, but it’s the best I’ve got. Everything I write is informed by what makes me, me. By my past, my present, my favourite words, my strengths, my weaknesses…
Interestingly, I think for a long time I was handicapping myself. One of the things I do best is write description, but for years I’ve been cutting it out of my work because of the idea ‘if it’s not absolutely necessary, cut it’. Which is silly, when I think about it now… but there you go.
It’s always a learning process, right? The stories I write today are going to be better than the ones I wrote yesterday. The anthologies I edit this year are likely to be stronger than the ones I edited last year… it’s just how it goes. The novel I’m working on right now is still a work in progress, and very much a first draft, but it has loads of description in it — and I love it. That’s subject to change, of course, but right now I feel like it’s the thing I’ve written which most closely shows who I am as a writer. I can’t wait to share it 😉
3) Why do I write what I do?
Two reasons, I think. First, because it’s what I would want to read, and second, because it is what interests me. I guess those things are almost the same thing… but not quite.
4) How does my writing process work?
Uh… I don’t really have one. I used to try to force myself to do things one way all the time, but that resulted in long periods where I wasn’t “blocked” but I wasn’t writing either. Now I do whatever it takes to get the words on the page.
Ideally, I prefer to write all my first drafts longhand, on my bed (the picture to the left is a pretty accurate representation of how that goes LoL). Because I type far quicker than I can write, forcing myself to slow down really helps me refine the words as they are coming out of my brain and onto the page. Afterwards, when I transcribe them from book to computer it’s an opportunity to do another edit without really editing. I let the story/poem/novel rest for a while either before or after transcription, and then it’s time to revise the hell out of it. I do most of my revisions on the computer, but when a project is super important to me I print it out and edit the hard copy, then transcribe those edits back into the computer again. I know I should do this with all my work because it produces a far better project, but honestly? My printer’s not doing so well these days and I feel bad for all the dead trees >_<
So that’s my ideal process. In reality though, like I said, I do whatever it takes to get the words out. Sometimes that means using Write or Die on kamikaze mode with a low tolerance (so it will start deleting my words if I stop writing them), sometimes I go to the university my husband teaches at and hide out in an empty room where there are no distractions and no excuses for not getting words done. Sometimes I complain on twitter for two hours about how I should be writing but I’m procrastinating instead, then I get so tired of my own whining I just shut up and write. Whatever it takes, man. That’s my process — whatever it takes.
Well, enough about me 🙂 I’ve invited a few of the other contributors to Fae to participate in this blog hop. Next week, April 7th, you’ll be able to read posts from:
Laura was born at a very early age and never looked back. She overcame her childhood deficiencies of having been born without teeth and unable to walk, and by the time she matured into a recognizable adult she had become a behavior analyst, an internationally-recognized and award-winning animal trainer, a costumer/cosplayer, a chocolate addict, and of course a writer.
Laura writes historical and fantasy works as well as non-fiction in the art and science of behavior and training. Follow her exploits at www.LauraVanArendonkBaugh.com.
Rhonda Eikamp grew up in the heart of Texas, fell in love with words and languages and moved to Germany. Her story-writing started with a Nancy Drew novel written at the age of ten, but only really took off after 1996, with stories in venues such as Space & Time and The Urbanite. Since rebooting in 2012, she has published stories in Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, The Colored Lens and Daily Science Fiction. She lives with her husband, two daughters and a cat, and spends non-writing time translating legal texts for a German law firm or photographing the idyllic places of her youth on trips back to the States.
Beth Cato’s debut steampunk novel THE CLOCKWORK DAGGER will be released by HarperCollins Voyager in September 2014. She’s originally from Hanford, California, but now resides in Arizona with her husband and son. Her short fiction, poetry, and tasty cookie recipes can be found at http://www.bethcato.com.
L.S. Johnson lives in Northern California. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in such venues as Corvus, Interzone, and Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History. Currently she is working on a novel set in 18th century Europe. She can be found online at traversingz.com.
Alexis A. Hunter revels in the endless possibilities of speculative fiction. Short stories are her true passion, despite a few curious forays into the world of novels. Over forty of her short stories have been published, appearing recently in Kasma SF, Spark: A Creative Anthology, Read Short Fiction, and more. To learn more about Alexis visit www.idreamagain.wordpress.com.
Shannon Phillips lives in Oakland, where she keeps chickens, a dog, three boys, and a husband. Her first novel, The Millennial Sword, tells the story of the modern-day Lady of the Lake. Her short fiction has been featured in Dragon magazine, Rose Red Review, and the upcoming anthology Fae from World Weaver Press.
Because, go big or go home, right? 🙂 I hope you’ll pop by these ladies’ blogs next week. I certainly will be 🙂
It’s been quite a journey since World Weaver Press and I first announced that I’d be editing an anthology of fairy stories. Fae has grown from a vague idea to a solid manuscript over the past few months and become even more amazing than I’d hoped. We have seventeen fantastic stories that are going to blow you away.
Allow me to share the table of contents from my forthcoming anthology, Fae:
These stories run the gamut from high-tech to old-fashioned and will sweep you away to settings as varied as modern day Indianapolis, the American civil war and mystical medieval kingdoms. They have, as I requested in my call for submissions, lush settings, beautiful prose and complex characters, and come this summer, if you’re a fan of fairies and folklore, you are going to fall in love with this book.