Today, I am very pleased to have as my guest my fellow Canadian speculative fiction writer Lorina Stephens, who is going to talk about her writings, including her upcoming short story collection “Dreams Of The Moon”:
The last collection of short stories I published was in 2008. It’s an eclectic mix which I entitled And the Angels Sang, named for the lead story. To my delight, it’s met with quite a bit of positive reaction from both readers and reviewers.
In the ensuing years, I’ve crafted a number of other short stories in between operating a publishing house and all the demands of being an administrator in our other business, one which pays the bills. A lot has happened during that time: our son married his life-buddy, three major surgeries, a failed attempt at elder care, renovating this old stone house which was built c1847, and as I write this, into the second year of a global pandemic.
And somewhere in all that still writing, still exploring ideas and what-ifs. I do have to admit a reluctance to writing short fiction. The literary form seems so restrictive to me, perhaps more having to do with the fact I have too much to say and want to make an epic out of everything. But short story writing is good discipline.
Having said that, I’m giving you 10 short works of fiction in this collection, spanning the boundaries of science fiction, speculative fiction, fantasy, magic realism and absurd fantastica. Apparently, I don’t much like writing in just one genre, either. Creative fences drive me batshit crazy, although I do very much appreciate fences around this sanctuary we are privileged to call home. But there is a theme to this collection, a common thread I think you will find through all the stories. What it is, I will leave up to you to decipher, and thus we will have a silent communication.
I’ve arranged the stories in some loose graduation of dark to light, and again have chosen to use the lead story as the title for the collection. But the title Dreams of the Moon is more, because as a child, and then an adolescent, I firmly believed if I arranged myself just so in the bed, so that when the moon shone in my window, something wonderful would happen. It never did. But I still felt compelled to answer the call of that pale, eerie light.
And then there were all the moonlight walks in the deep of the night which took place well into adulthood. Wonderful moments. Moments I remember with clarity and wonder, whether moonlight so bright on a winter’s night that the trees by the river cast indigo shadows across the snow, or a brace of geese rising up and across that silver face. And as with all things, there is the dark side of the moon: a sleepless night fraught with sorrow and a desperate attempt to rescue someone I dearly loved.
All of these moments influence and underscore what I write. It’s there in these 10 stories. Darkness and light. Wonder and sorrow. The ambiguity, sometimes, of reflected light. Dreams of the Moon.
The fifth story in the collection, A Perfect Spell, dives directly into the world of fantasy, and very much transitions from the horror, and dark fiction of the previous four stories, into something a little lighter, even hopeful. I suppose you could say this is the phase of the half-moon, definitely not into the full-blown dark and remorseless tone of the eponymous story, but not quite into the light of a clear, full moon of the final story.
Although A Perfect Spell is fantasy, it deals with a science fiction trope, that of a time loop. But as I’ve often stated, it’s our job as writers to create a new window on an old story, and hopefully that’s what I achieved when I decided to marry a time loop tale to one about a spell gone awry, mix in another aspect of religious mythology in the form the Book of Life, and the Book of the Dead, and an apprentice, who happens to be yourself talking to yourself, who creates an inventive solution
Well, at the risk of being coy, you’ll have to read the story in order to find out how all of that resolves itself.
Dreams of the Moon is available in trade paperback and ebook, either directly through my website or through your favourite online bookseller wherever you live in the world. It’s also available through elibrary services globally.