Gender Role Revenge
Rhonda Parrish, editor of the highly anticipated Fae anthology, interviews contributor Christine Morgan.
Rhonda Parrish: What was the inspiration for your Fae story?
Christine Morgan: It was one of those articles about toy marketing for girls vs. boys, the dreaded "pink aisle" and special girly LEGO and that kind of thing. It led me into thinking about the whole history of toys and "traditional" gender-based play, which then led to all that stuff about snips and snails and puppy dog tails, boys are active and rambunctious, sugar and spice and everything nice for little girls all clean and polite... and it annoys the heck out of me. Then I started thinking about Peter Pan, and how here's this wonderful world of excitement and adventure for the boys, but Wendy's expected to be the nice mommy, and wanted to write something where... what if it went kind of a different way around? Why should the boys get to have all the fun? Why not make them pay for it, in a kind of malicious way?
Was this your first foray into writing fairy stories?
Not at all. Always been very into them, going back to when I must've checked out a couple of those Andrew Lang color collections (the Green Fairy Book, the Red Fairy Book, etc.) every week. As I got older, I realized how much of a powerful female perspective they had ... as they should. Sure, it was the Brothers Grimm who collected them and got the credit, but it was the mothers, the big sisters, the grandmothers, who were making up and telling these stories. For me, as a writer, the real fun is in taking the classics and giving them a new twist or fun quirk, to play with the old tropes. And, sometimes, to do weird mash-ups or re-imaginings just to see what happens. I've recently, for example, sold one called "The Arkham-Town Musicians" to an anthology of Lovecraftian fairy tales, and I've got a heist version of Cinderella, "Cinder's Twelve," in another upcoming book.
Can you tell us a bit about the specific type of fairy creature in your story? Is that your favourite type of fae?
I think of Rosie as being of the Fair Folk / Puck-ish variety, sprite-like, but a little mean. Puck's depicted as a trickster, but generally benign, seeking to make amends and all that. Rosie's more the kind who would grow up to steal babies and replace them with changelings, or do real harm. That kind, for me, is the most fun to write about because they might look human enough, but their attitude is completely inhuman, not bound by or even understanding human morality. I also like the little winged pixie-types; more Disney's Fantasia with the nature magic and the flowers and the snowflakes ... which mostly didn't interact with humans but just flitted about and did their thing.
Outside of your own writing, who is your favourite fairy character? (ie: Tinkerbell, Puck, etc.) What is it about them that makes them special?
The court of A Midsummer Night's Dream. They exemplify that inhuman attitude I mentioned above, something so foreign and alien to us that it's almost beyond comprehension. I mean, think about it, Oberon's all "Ha-ha, made you *bleep* a donkey, ha-ha!" and Titania's all "Oh, YOU! You sillybuns! Let's make up!" Gotta love Tink, though ... if only for the scene in the Disney animated classic where she's on the mirror admiring herself and suddenly gets concerned about the size of her rump ... and the whole jealous attempted-Wendy-murder.
Do you believe in fairies?
I believe in... not really sure what, exactly... but, something more or other than what we can normally perceive. Mostly, I believe in not wanting to rule things out; like to keep my options open. Who am I to say for sure? Got to have a flexible mind and be able to go with the flow. Or maybe I'm too much of a horror writer and know it's the ones who dig in their heels about there being "no such thing as" who usually meet a band end first.
Read Christina Morgan's story, "Rosie Red Jacket," in the anthology FAE, available now.
Christine Morgan works the overnight shift in a psychiatric facility and divides her writing time among many genres, though her true calling seems to be tending toward historical horror and dark fantasy (especially Viking-themed stories). A lifelong reader, she also writes, reviews, beta-reads, occasionally edits and dabbles in self-publishing. She has several novels in print, with more due out soon. Her stories have appeared in more than three dozen anthologies, ‘zines and e-chapbooks. She’s been nominated for the Origins Award and made Honorable Mention in two volumes of Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror. She’s also a wife, mom, and possible future crazy-cat-lady whose other interests include gaming, history, superheroes, crafts, and cheesy disaster movies.
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