How did “The Cheesemaker and the Undying King” originate? What inspirations did you draw on?
This story first came out of my interest in medical history—I was reading about the history of medical uses for molds and began thinking about how cheesemakers in pre-modern times probably would have been the experts in cultivating molds. I also really enjoy writing about people who are not trained in conflict and violence being thrust into situations that would usually be solved with violence.
What is your writing space like? What do you like to have around for optimal creativity?
I love a classic coffee shop writing day—a hot drink, the chatter of other people, and headspace away from my home or work distractions. Of course this has been less available with Covid, but I’m lucky to have several local coffee shops with great patios.
Other than writing, do you have any other creative pursuits? What do you do to relax?
I love crafting! I’m a big knitter and embroiderer, and I’m hoping to learn to quilt soon. I also enjoy beachcombing and poking around in the woods—here on the Potomac, we have great fossil deposits of sharks’ teeth, crinoids, and other treasures.
What trends in speculative fiction would you like to see gain popularity in the next few years?
I would really like to see more slipstream-y, litfic-crossover speculative fiction gain popularity. This is the subgenre many of my favorite books come from (Famous Men Who Never Lived, Lives of the Monster Dogs, and The Seep are a few recent favorites), but it’s never quite gotten the recognition as a distinct form that it deserves. Over the past few years several of the short fiction markets in this niche have closed as well—namely Liminal, Shimmer, and Lackington’s. I would love to see a new market emerge to take up the mantle.
What are you working on lately? Where else can fans look for your work?
I’ve had several other pieces out recently! For fans of flash fiction, my story “The Night the River Meets the Sky” was in Fireside’s January issue, and is about a mother dealing with the consequences of a choice she made long ago. The second novella in my “Our Lady of Endless Worlds” series (nuns in space, riding in giant slugs!) was published by Tor.com in February. Finally, for those who liked the historical aspects of this story, keep an eye out next year for another Tor.com novella about a midwife in Restoration-era London who is dealing with some very unnatural births.
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