In one of the stories in my upcoming collection of short fiction, I have a man, Martin, sewing squares for a quilt. The cloth for those squares comes from various pieces of fashion he designed over his career; he’s putting together a blanket that he can take with him to a care home and feel like he brought something tangible from his past with him.
The theme of the past, of making things from the past, and of looking forward with those pieces of the past in hand is all throughout Of Echoes Born, and even in the format of the book itself.
I love short stories. They’re my first, best, and favourite way to write. That I can release a collection is a huge moment for me, and I’m so excited to be able to open up a copy and read from it at the upcoming festival.
When I say the book itself is a bit like Martin’s quilt, I mean there’s a bigger whole happening. Characters from one story appear in another, as do places, or something as small as a bottle of wine. They’re all connected, share a past, and—because it’s my favourite kind of story to tell—there’s a dash of magic throughout. Whether it’s Martin himself, facing down neurology and stitching a loophole through time itself, or a young boy who can see the way people feel as colours in the air all around him, there’s something magic, or psychic, or “other” at play in all the stories.
But the most magical thing is always in the gathering of the queerness of the people involved. My fictional village may be fictional, but the inspiration isn’t. We’re not born to those like us, and finding each other?
That’s always the best magic.