In this Author Spotlight, we asked author Genevieve Valentine to tell us a bit about the background of her story for Fantasy Magazine, “The Sandal-Bride.”
Could you tell us what inspired “The Sandal-Bride”?
Whenever you travel, you see glimpses of people—in a train station or a hotel, for two minutes or two weeks—who you’ll probably never see again. Some people get very curious about that, and some people hardly notice; the story sprang from the idea of two such people meeting.
In “The Sandal-Bride,” the character with the most freedom is also the one most limited in his wonderment. Do you think his responsibilities constrain him or that people need to be introduced to new ways at looking at the world that he has not yet been introduced to?
Those are the very questions that this story is asking, and I don’t think there’s any one pat answer. That’s something each reader—and person—has to weigh for themselves.
At the end of “The Sandal-Bride,” the protagonist travels the world writing down people’s stories. Do you also keep record of all you see in your travels?
With my memory problems, you’d think I would! Sadly, I’m an indifferent diarist, and generally forget to make any notes until I’m already back home again. I tend to take away impressions, rather than concrete memories, and many of my stories contain an element of recreating a place half-remembered and half-imagined.
Sara, the Sandal-Bride, collected stories, because “she’d needed something that was hers, to hoard against a life with some dull boy to whom she had given her word.” What stories do you return to time and again? Do you have favorites that you always recommend?
I definitely have a few books from childhood that appeal to me now as much as ever. I own half a dozen editions of Beagle’s The Last Unicorn and Sagan’s Contact—some too worn to read, but all of which I’m keeping. And every once in a while, a story will strike me just so—Travel Light by Naomi Mitchison was a recent find.
Your book Mechanique: A Tale of the Circus Tresaulti comes out in April. Could you tell us a bit about it? Will you be giving any readings?
Mechanique is about a mechanical circus traveling a war-torn landscape, in thrall to the ringmaster who made them, and what happens when their sovereignty is threatened both by the war at their doorstep, and mutiny within the Circus Tresaulti itself. In terms of readings, I’ll be a reader at KGB in New York City on March 16. I also hope to be attending several conventions this year; my most up-to-date reading schedule can be found at www.circus-tresaulti.com.
What’s next for you?
I have several short stories in upcoming anthologies, including Teeth: Vampire Tales, Bewere the Night, and The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination. This fall will also see the release of Geek Wisdom, out from Quirk Books and co-written by me, and of course there are more novels in the works.