You guys, I can’t even tell you how excited I am by this. I’ve never had an illustration for one of my stories before, and this one is beautiful! It’s for “Haunts”, coming out in Interzone #249 in November.
This story has its roots in an eclipse, back in 1993 or thereabouts. I lived in a small city with a fountain in a square downtown. My best friend and I watched the sun go dark and then we went for breakfast. As often happens with stories, I can’t quite describe how I got from that eclipse to this rather dark story about an ex-duelist selling off her fingers to keep her failing school from closing. I can tell you it has some other hidden ingredients from the time of the eclipse–a kitten who only lived a few days, a house in the west end where the lilacs were all cut down–but how those little realities are woven into this fiction, I can’t even explain.
There were some wrong turns–I finished the first draft of this story a few years ago, but I didn’t finish the final draft until quite recently, and it changed a lot in between. Now it’s finally about to meet the world. I hope the world likes it.