What was the first thing you knew about “The Stone Lover” when you began to work on it?
I’ve been reading through Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling’s excellent series of modern day fairy stories, and at the same time revisiting my adolescent fascination with Greek mythology. The two combined in the storyteller blender to come up with “The Stone Lover.” In essence, it’s the Pygmalion story turned on its head (although I didn’t know that at the time).
Did the story give you any surprises as you were writing it?
Oh yes, all the way through. I knew the queen wanted a statue, but her choice was a surprise, and what she intended to do with it. I didn’t know that the island would be visited by classic catastrophes, but it was. And the ending, the rescue, came as a complete surprise, but I was delighted to see the story resolve itself so neatly.
I know you have a lot of experience teaching. Do you have any advice to share with the aspiring writers among our readers?
Just do it. Stop nattering around the edges and reading every single “advice on writing” book or essay you come across—I am convinced that this is a pernicious form of writer’s block and the only way to avoid it is to hold your nose and jump in. Remember that if your first drafts stink, that’s a good thing: It means you have something to work with in subsequent drafts, which is where the real writing happens. If you hear that malicious voice in your head that derides you and your work, tell it to go to hell. The only thing it exists for is to deceive you and slow you down. Write!
What can we look for from you next?
I wish I knew. I have a couple of things in the pipeline but nothing scheduled yet.
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