Asexual Fairy Tales

Saturday, 26 January 2019

What am I up to?





As writers, we are asked lots of questions. Most are some variation on:

Are you still writing?
How's the writing going?
Are you writing anything at the moment?

We writers can feel pretty frustrated by these questions as, for us, they are the equivalent of asking a plumber: "Done any plumbing lately?" Or asking a specialist doctor: "How's the gynaecology going?"

However, we know you mean well and are interested in our work. So, in answer to your questions, I thought I'd bring you up to date with my three main projects.

Asexual Fairy Tales

This is a book of retold and original fairy tales I've been working on with my daughter, Anna, who has done the beautiful illustrations. It's all written, and I'll be launching a crowdfunding campaign to fund it on Kickstarter. (You pledge money to help fund it, you get a signed book and/or other goodies). I'm doing it this way as I believe it's the best way to connect the book with it's main audience in the asexual and fairy tale communities. I've already had a lot of interest and goodwill on Twitter, so I'm optimistic we can do this! The Kickstarter campaign will start in the next week or so, and I'll be putting links everywhere. I mean, everywhere!! It would be great if you could support us, even if you don't want to read the book. A £1 donation will get your name in the back of the book as a valued supporter, and I'll be very grateful!

The King of Ice Leaves

This is my current work-in-progress, the thing I'm actually writing now. It's a winter fantasy based on my own fairy tale "The Ice Queen & the Mer-King", which features in Asexual Fairy Tales, as well as other tales like "The Glass Coffin" (also in Asexual Fairy Tales) and "The Snow Queen." I have at least one agent who would like to read it when it is finished, so that's a positive start.

The Angelio Trilogy

Some of you will not have forgotten my trilogy - beginning with Cage of Nightingales - about Carlo the castrato opera singer and Tammo the flute-playing bird-charmer. I am still seeking the right home for it, and feel optimistic that Asexual Fairy Tales will help me find my audience. (My platform, as they call it in the business). I certainly won't let this one go, as it's my heart and soul, and means the world to me.

So, that's what I'm up to. Thanks for asking. Now, how's the chartered accountancy going?

Saturday, 5 January 2019

17 Rabbits: This Time It's Personal



Several times on this blog, I have referred to the story of Mary Taft, who in 1726 supposedly gave birth to 17 rabbits. In my discussions, it has usually been linked with ideas of parthenogenesis, monstrous births and fears about the contents of women's wombs.

And now the 17 rabbits have surfaced again, in the film The Favourite, about Queen Anne, the last (officially recognised) Stuart monarch, and her court favourites Sarah Churchill and Abigail Masham.

In the film, Queen Anne has 17 pet rabbits, which she keeps in little cages in her private chambers, and lets out to hop around and be petted at various intervals throughout the film. We are told that each of these rabbits represents a child that Anne lost through miscarriage, stillbirth or cot death. I have to say, the rabbits are incredibly cute, and provide some much-needed relief from some of the more disturbing aspects of the film.

Having done a fact-check, I can tell you that the real Queen Anne did not keep pet rabbits (as far as we know). According to BBC History Magazine, director Yorgos Lanthimos simply meant them to stand as a symbol and visual reminder to the audience of Anne's lost children.

But I can't help thinking that Yorgos Lanthimos knew of Mary Taft and her outrageous claim to fame. Or is it too much of a coincidence that lost and aborted babies are replaced by rabbits? 17 rabbits? 

What do you think?