Welcome to Fantasy Magazine! We’re delighted to run your story “Odd Peas in a Pod.” Can you tell us what inspired this story and how it came about?
Most of my inspiration to write comes from reading, so I did read something that bordered on the mother-daughter discordant relationship. I can’t remember what it was, though. I just know I wanted to recreate that and put my own spin on things.
Music is a touchstone throughout the story; no matter what’s going on in their lives, the characters seem grounded in the protagonist’s memory with the music that was playing at the time. Is that a theme that you revisit in your work, or was it specific to this story? What do you think makes music so powerfully associated with memory?
Music is a huge staple of my personal identity, so I think it always reflects one way or another in my work. However, for this in particular, I wanted to show every memory of the past associated with a song, the reigning anthem at that point in the protagonist’s life, as the memories themselves are often painful, and music for me has always been a useful suppressant, redirecting my mind from bitter introspection.
Which is the same effect it would have on readers, who would naturally focus on or be distracted by the music, rather than give full attention to whatever gruesome past I or the protagonist was exposing.
Why I think music is so powerfully associated with memory? To be honest, I really don’t know. I just thought it’d be cool to write this story.
What was the most challenging part of writing this story? What came easiest?
The most challenging part of writing it was being so close to the protagonist that at certain times, I felt she and I were one.
Diving into some ugly parts of my past that was needed for the story was hard. Pouring life, my life, into the protagonist like that was hard. At the end of the day, there’s only a thin frangible line separating fiction from truth, nothing really stopping them from walking right into the other—as I did often in Odd Peas in a Pod. That part was hard.
What came the easiest?
The music, for sure. The whole story is really just a front for wanting to share my prized playlist with anyone who reads it. (Winks)
The parent-child relationship is one that is ever-evolving and often painful for both. Your protagonist seems keenly aware that her mother has an inner life of her own. How did you navigate that relationship during the creative process?
First by acknowledging they were more than just fictional characters. Then by creating a world that allowed them to be true to themselves. Most times, it’s easy to forget or hard to accept that motherhood can be a burden to those unprepared for it. That mothers can be detached from their children. Have their own addictions and traumas and demons. Just like everyone else. The protagonist UNDERSTOOD that—it was essential for the progression of the piece.
What are you working on now, and what can our readers look forward to seeing from you in the future?
I’ve been working on, well, a lot of things. And readers can expect to see a lot of things. Hahaha.
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