Editor Rhonda Parrish put out a great call for submissions, looking for the most unusual settings for fairy stories authors could come up with. I knew I wanted to go with something underwater and the Civil War submarine idea just came out of nowhere.
Can you tell us a bit about the specific type of fairy creature in your story?
There was no particular folklore type I had in mind, unless it was maybe the winged sprite that is inimical to humans. I wanted to create something earthy, cthonic, more animal than human, which could inhabit the world with us but escape notice most of the time. Its concerns would be so different from ours that there would be almost no communication and the human and fairy characters would each have little understanding of what the other wanted.
No, there was a story I’d almost forgotten about, from my first iteration as a writer (in the late 90’s to around 2001). And now that I think about it, the fairy queen captured by humans in that story was similar to the one in Possession – savage and animalistic, not quite comprehending what was happening to her. As if one had captured a ferret. So maybe this is an image that appeals to me.
Do you believe in fairies?
I’m an ancient-history and prehistory buff, and I love the idea of real origins for most of the myths and monsters and folktales we know. So I believe these ideas may have come from encounters between various peoples in ancient times, that the fairy idea may be a remnant of that kind of encounter.
Read Rhonda Eikamp's story, "Possession," in the anthology FAE, available now.