The authors of the stories in Crazy Little Spring Called Love (order here) sat down to answer some questions for their readers. For links to the full list of interview questions, teasers, and more, visit the blog tour page.
Question 3: World-Building
Anthologies can be a good place to test out new ideas or to tell smaller stories you may not have space for in a bigger novel. Talk about the world of your story and why you picked it for this anthology.
The idea for this short story has been kicking around in my head for a while. I’d done some research on Hermes and Eos during my time in my MFA program at Seton Hill University for a completely different story and the two characters stayed with me. I love mythology and I’m always fascinated by “what if” questions. My story takes these ancient figures and puts them in the modern world. It was fun taking these old stories and revamping them into my idea of what they’d be today.
I’d say it’s more of an alternate reality, happening at the same time as ours. In the story, the humans know about the Oceanus Resort and it’s something of a gathering spot for the world’s elite. Of course, being Zeus’s home away from home, it’s lavish and golden and covered in precious gems and marble, as one does when one is the ruler of all. LOL. Then the story moves to modern day Manhattan, which is basically the same as it is now.
It seems many of my stories have some type of clockwork element to them, especially in regards to human enhancements or part-human/part-machine beings. These people are different from others in their world and struggle with love–within themselves, and with relationships. The anthology was a perfect spot to focus on a microcosm of how the natural world is constantly being altered by technology, and how we fit into that world.
Pennora’s world exists within the real world, but with magical wards that protect its true identity. The fairy inhabitants embrace most technology, but still keep their old traditions. Protecting nature is of primary importance, since that’s the source of their magic, so keeping their world secret is very important.
“A Hunt for Love” is set in the real world with one big difference—there’s at least one djinn who grants wishes. After clearing out his grandmother’s attic, Adam (the hero) is out planting flowers. He rubs the planter, and out pops Janessa (djinn of the planter) in a burst of silver sparkles. Since this story is kind of a one-and-done, the magic is just there. Though, it was really fun working in references to Disney’s Aladdin.
Many of my stories take place in a nondescript small New England town/city with flavors of where I grew up. I doubt I’ll go anywhere else with this story world unless given a compelling reason to. It was more the fun idea of the story that got me writing. So, I guess it’s just too small for a novel and the right size for this anthology.
After I finish my current series (in about 2-4 more books, depending on how things play out), I am going to start writing a secondary-world fantasy romance series set in a non-European-esque culture. I am pulling most of my touchstones from the highly communal Pacific Island nations, mixed with the ancient Indus River civilization and Hindu cosmology/mythology. This story was a first idea of what that world might look like if left alone to advance to modern times (well, Industrial Revolution-ish) without the monotheistic Judeo/Christian/Muslim influence. I can’t guarantee that the world will end up exactly like in the story, but it’s a start.
I’m still playing around with how magic works, the nuances of the culture, and exactly how well-developed they are. They are at least at Industrial Revolution-level technology, with factories and steel-working capabilities. Maybe not electricity yet, though. And magic is rare in humans, although magical creatures and gods exist. The society is extremely communal, and concepts of ownership are present but fluid. Responsibilities are shared and children belong to the community as much and sometimes more than to their parents. The hardest thing about writing this story was trying to make it very equal–not overtly partriarchal or matriarchal. They follow the example of their god and goddess and think marriage is sacred–and because of that, they wait to make sure they’re with the right person to get married, sometimes until middle age or longer. Taking lovers is common, and children born of those unions are treated no differently than any others. And this particular pairing is F/M, but they are accepting of all forms of love and all forms of gender expression.
So everyone in this anthology is either enrolled or graduated from Seton Hill University, where we study Writing Popular Fiction. My thesis novel is a Science Fiction and Fantasy YA novel, which is weird for me because I mostly write very graphic Romance novels. The world of my thesis, Tovar, is huge and since this anthology called for Fantasy, I figure I might as well explore other areas of the world while looking for love. Nick the wolf actually appears in my thesis novel several years after this story.
Seaweed and Silk doesn’t show off too much of the world, but Tovar is a place I’ve been writing in for a long time. I try to make it as difference from our world as I can without writing about were-bunnies. For example, Tovar is a sexist in women’s favor since witches tend to be female (men are discouraged from even trying magic). But I also don’t like it when Fantasy that gets stuck in the Dark Ages, so Tovar has big cities, metal ships, magic-powered indoor plumbing, and lighting.
I don’t like to think of fantasy worlds as that different. I think we can make a lot of our world more fantastic by just the power of our wills. I believe in self-manifestation, and thinking good things into being. My mother was right! If you believe it, so will those around you.
I admit it, I’m a total sap for – sap. I love love, love stories, lovers, and anything with sunshine and daisies. The real world is not always perfect, but we can create places that with a little work, sweat equity, and determination – become that way for lucky soulmates. You have to be open to ideas, and one was that persons of the same name could be so similar, but the fact that they’re different sexes could lead them to think differently. Men and women are more similar than they are different, but sometimes it takes a while to see it. I wanted to show young people who got it wrong finally get it right when enough time passes for them to look deeper at what they are, and what they can be.
“Welded” is set in the real world, but some of the characters have magical abilities. They live in Iowa and travel for business when it suits them. They rely on themselves for justice and generally like to keep to themselves, as they have been persecuted for generations, though they do have extensive outside contacts with some dangerous and often unsavory outfits.
Rena, Duke, and Nate are the main characters of Heathen Row, a supernatural horror/romance. In the novel, they are estranged with the possibility of reconciling. I always wondered how they got together, and this story was a great chance to find out!