Where did the idea for “Knee Deep in the Sea” originate?
Rage . . .? I don’t know. I have three other short stories of murderous women out this year—“Daddy’s Girl” (Life is Short anthology, September), “Of Roses” (Tor.com, October); and “Nameless” (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, end of 2019). I also have an extremely dark Audible Original contemporary psychological thriller in early 2020.
I suspect I have a bit of feminist rage that’s been exacerbated by politics the last couple years.
Isabel is from middle America and transplanted to Los Angeles; is there a reason that the story is set in Orkney, so far from where she’s from?
Well, I don’t consider the South “middle America.” I love the South. Three of my five murderous women in recent tales come from there—and I spent half my life there.
Orkney is the origin of the selchie, and I have been going there or the Hebrides most summers for the last decade plus.
It’s not terribly complex. If you want to write the sea, you write where the sea speaks: coast and island.
The characters in this story aren’t exactly cuddly and likable; was that a conscious choice you made from the beginning or did it grow from the story you wanted to tell?
I think we may have a definition issue. I think Isa and Margaret are likeable. They were women faced with men who disrespect women. They opted not to accept such things. What’s not to like?
The sea is very much a secondary character in this story, and the main character’s relationship with it is very important to what happens. Which came first for you, that relationship or the premise of the story?
I am in love with the water. I suspect it shows in a few spots in this tale. I spend my free time traveling to the water. (I’m just back from kayaking an hour ago as I reply to this.) I go to Orkney, the Hebrides, Alaska, SoCal, the bayou. At least three to four of those every year. In June, I was on a boat in Alaska, and in August in SoCal (at the beach and on a boat). In January, I’ll be in the bayou. In June, the Scottish Isles . . . and in September, the Alaskan waters also. Somewhere in there, I’ll be in Mexican waters. And weekly, I’m on the river—with occasional lakes.
What are you working on now, and where can readers who want to find more of your work find you?
2020 has my thriller (Pretty Things) on Audible Originals, and 2021 has my Faux Victorian middle grade novel (with kelpies, swords, and alchemy) from Penguin . . . as well as a book with my photos of the wild horses at my local river and trails (also via Penguin).
In progress, there’s a graphic novel I’m hoping will be greenlit soon, and I was just approached about working in a writer’s room for television this fall.
Those last two are maybes. The others are done and awaiting release. Somewhere in there, I have a Wicked Lovely prequel I’m finishing.
I’m not great at sticking to one thing.
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