What was the seed for this story?
When I was a child, my mother told me trees that had hollows among the roots were fairy trees, and I still refer to them that way in my head. One day, on a walk as an adult, I saw a fabulous hollowed-out fairy tree. I took some pictures and got to thinking, “What if?”
I loved the description of Beanpole: How did it come about?
Scarecrows are shaped and dressed like humans to fool birds from a distance—but if you get close enough, you see the shape and outerwear are a disguise. You can modify a lot about a scarecrow to make it look more human, but the closer a person gets to it, the less human it appears. I liked the idea of Sister’s husband physically resembling a scarecrow, and trying to acquire the pieces that would make him look human without his disguise—one Marianne is never able to see, but her family responds to favorably, which sets her apart.
Did you struggle with the timing/nature revelation of the origin of the viewpoint character, Marianne? After the revelation, I reread the story a very different way.
Yes. Good gracious, yes—right up to the wire I struggled with that! It’s hard to make something feel like a revelation to the reader that the character whose mind you’re in treats very matter-of-factly.
Whose faerie stories do you love?
In fiction, I loved the Sidhe in War for the Oaks, Iron Kissed, stories by Charles de Lint, and fairy tales. Intersections of folklore with urban fantasy and mythic fiction are things I mainline whenever possible. I’ve just begun reading Merry Gentry, book one, by Laurell K. Hamilton, and I’m fascinated by the cultural implications of flirtation etiquette among fae versus among Midwestern humans. Anything that lets me catch a glimpse of faerie culture and hierarchy is wonderful to me.
Any news or projects you’d like to tell us about?
If you’d like to read more of my work, the anthology Luminescent Threads: Connections to Octavia E. Butler, from Twelfth Planet Press, has an essay of mine that also appeared on okayafrica.com in late June 2017. I also have a short story in the March 2017 issue of Nightmare Magazine. You can listen to Write Pack Radio, a weekly writing podcast I co-host, on iTunes, Blog Talk Radio, WindingTrailsMedia.com, and on YouTube under Winding Trails Media. And finally, I’m in the Fall 2017 Writing The Other class, taught by K. Tempest Bradford and Nisi Shawl, and I highly recommend it. I’m learning a lot that’s informing my current novel project.
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