Science Fiction & Fantasy

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Author Spotlight: Delia Sherman

What was the inspiration for this story? What sort of research was involved?

I wrote this story for the Datlow/Windling anthology Sirens. They wanted an erotic story and, though I always do what Ellen and Terri tell me to, I’m not exactly a writer of erotic stories. To be honest, they make me blush. Bawdy stories, in an Elizabethan vein, were another pair of shoes. A PhD in Non-Shakespearean Renaissance Drama had left me (among other things) with a copy of Shakespeare’s Bawdy, a facsimile of Robert Greene’s The Art of Conny-Catching, and a knack for writing Elizabethan prose. I figured I might as well get some use out of them. And so I did.

Did Peasecod intend for Nick to be brought to Faerie at the behest of Gloriana, or was Nick’s fortune changed by removing her splinter? Or was the fall into Faerie accidental?

You know, I can’t remember. It seems likely, given Peasecod’s (you know, of course, that a cod is what a man keeps in his codpiece, right?) reactions, that the trap was Gloriana’s idea, as was the delicious deception enfolded therein.

Nick’s success in the negotiation with Gloriana had much to do with trusting Peasecod. Throughout the story, he shows a remarkable shrewdness. Was this canniness inspired by someone in particular? What do you think it was about Peasecod that showed Nick he could trust her?

As an apprentice, Nick has had the opportunity to learn not only goldsmithing but business, and has profited by all his lessons. Once he starts bargaining, he’s on his own ground. He’s young, he’s untried, and he’s inclined to be brash and overconfident, but he’s not stupid. He can recognize sincerity when he sees it. And Peasecod did warn him about eating or drinking anything Gloriana offered him.

What were the difficulties in constructing this story? Were there any surprises along the way in the writing process?

Again, I wrote this story a long time ago, so can’t remember exactly, but there are always difficulties, especially when you’re as bad at plot as I am. Like most of the writers of the period, I borrowed most of the incidents in the story—in this case, from Robert Greene, whose The Art of Conny-Catching provided not only descriptions of the Verser, the Tickler, and the rest of the confidence fraternity of Elizabethan London, but also anecdotes displaying their tricks. The Faeire Court, the characters, and the language, however, are entirely my own.

What’s next for you?

I am continuing my career of literary ventriloquism with a YA novel set in Victorian London. Yes, it’s steampunk. Kind of. And it has Sherlock Holmes in it. Kind of. Also a ghost and a lost treasure and an escaped convict and a trial and a female scientist and a kidnapping and a theft.

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Robyn Lupo

Robyn Lupo lives in Southwestern Ontario with her not-that-kind-of-doctor partner and three cats. She enjoys tiny things, and has wrangled flash for Women Destroy Science Fiction! as well as selected poetry for Queers Destroy Horror! She aspires to one day write many things.