Welcome to Fantasy Magazine! We’re thrilled to run your story, “The Rainmakers,” one of the most unique post-apocalyptic tales I’ve had the pleasure of reading. Can you tell us how this story came to be?
I often look to anthology calls for writing prompts (even if I don’t always end up submitting), and the seed for “The Rainmakers” came from a call for joyful, queer, post-apocalyptic stories. I’m a lifelong fan of the disaster/apocalypse genre, but it can be bleak. The idea of writing a story that centred joy and hope in a genre that usually centres pain and nihilism really appealed to me.
Your anticipation of how our present vernacular might evolve in your imagined future is one of the things that makes this story so convincing. The Haters, the Rainmakers, randos, and newbs—can you tell us how those ideas evolved?
I think the best way to describe my writing process is “in medias res pantsing.” I go into every project with a solid idea of the key plot and emotional beats, but I don’t world-build in advance. Instead, I like to dive straight into the story and the voice of my MC and see where they take me. In this case, Clem’s voice immediately felt like a slightly folksy, grown-up version of today’s young pop-culture vernacular. As the story evolved, I decided to lean into that vibe wholesale and play around with how words often get adopted by the broader population and work their way into common parlance over time.
This story is one of those that straddles the line between science fiction and fantasy, with the world-building being so strongly centered around a climate-based post-apocalypse, but culminating in an act of magic in calling the rains. As you were writing it, did you have a sense of where it would fall along genre lines? Is there other magic in the world you created, outside the boundaries of what we can see in this story? Come to think of it, are there other stories to be told by and about the troupe and their world?
A lot of my writing tends to straddle genres, and I enjoy playing around on the fuzzy margins of things, so I didn’t really give any conscious thought to the combination of a climate-based post-apocalyptic story with magic, other than knowing I wanted there to be magic in this world. I think I knew from the outset that it would fall between genres, but the duality there fit the mood I was looking for. Magic (be it real or imagined) can bring wonder and joy, and I wanted to take a setting that’s usually quite grim and layer in beauty and hope. I chose to combine the “real” magic of calling the rains with the equally important but less tangible magic of love, optimism, altruism, and compassion that the Rainmakers also share.
Is there other magic in this world? There might be; I’d have to write more to find out! I think there are definitely other stories to be told in this world.
Ultimately, this is a story of hope. I think many of us share Clem’s dream for an end to Haters and a world committed to spreading the love. Do you think it’s a world within reach?
That’s a hard question. I wrote the first draft of this story a few years ago, and I have to say my faith in humanity’s been a little shaken since then.
That said, I still have hope. The world is full of people who are willing to put their own comfort and convenience aside, stand up to hatred, and do whatever they can to help others. I have to believe that compassion and kindness will win out, in the end.
What are you working on now, and what can we look forward to seeing from you in the future?
I’m currently working on a few bigger projects, including a genre-bending novella (post-apocalyptic modern fantasy for the win!) and an adult horror novel with a very Canadian setting.
As for what you might see from me in the future, I’m always writing short stories, and my agent and I are looking forward to sharing my creepy Upper-MG horror.
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