From Luopans to Fractal Burns
Rhonda Parrish, editor of the highly anticipated Fae anthology, interviews contributor Beth Cato.
What was the inspiration for your Fae story?
I wrote my story as part of a Codex Writers' Halloween contest. I was provided two distinct prompts: a luopan, which is a Chinese magnetic compass used in Feng Shui, and lichtenberg figures, the scarring that results from a lightning strike. The luopan put me in mind of maps, and from there I thought--what if there was a map in fractal burns on someone? What would cause that?
Was this your first foray into writing fairy stories?
No, I've written and published a number of fairy poems and stories, including a steampunk-fae tale "Stitched Wings" for Beneath Ceaseless Skies and a story in the forthcoming B is for Broken anthology. Fairies are such an important part of the fantasy genre, and there are common elements in fairy-like mythologies across the world. It's something universal and accessible.
Can you tell us a bit about the specific type of fairy creature in your story?
In the case of my story, that would be a major spoiler! I'll withhold the name.
Is that your favourite type of fae?
No. My very favorite fae would be selkies. Back in my teens, I even collected seal figurines and plushes for a time!
Do you believe in fairies?
In a wistful way. I write about obscured magic because I want there to be something more, something we can't quite see or comprehend. Along those same lines, when I'm driving and encounter a number of green traffic lights in a row, I thank the traffic gods. It's not too much to hope that, in a bountiful garden, that glint of light in the corner of my eye might have something more to it. I hope I'll always be childlike in that way. If I lose that, I'll have nothing left to write.
Check out Beth's story, "The Cartography of Shattered Trees," in the anthology FAE, available now.
Beth Cato’s debut steampunk novel THE CLOCKWORK DAGGER was released by HarperCollins Voyager in September 2014. She’s originally from Hanford, California, but now resides in Arizona with her husband and son. Her short fiction, poetry, and tasty cookie recipes can be found at bethcato.com.
4/22/2015 12:14:15 pm
I took a break from editing a story with a luopan to read this post -- how cool is that?
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