Shimmer #21: A.C. Wise

Tell us how “Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife” came to be.acwise
As many of my stories do, this one came from a snippet of overheard conversation. I have no idea what the context was, but two people were talking about Hokusai’s famous (or infamous) woodcut, The Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife. One of them said something to the effect of, “I hope the fisherman doesn’t catch them, heh heh heh,” and I immediately thought, “wait, would that be a bad thing?” What if the fisherman was an equal partner in the relationship? Thus the tale of a balanced and loving triad between a fisherman, his wife, and an octopus of variable size was born.

This is your third! short story in Shimmer, and in each one, the sea factors into the story somehow. What is it about the sea?
Actually, it’s my fourth – Trashman, Tasting of the Sea, How Bunny Came to Be, and this one. But now that you mention it, Trashman did have a river. Oceans, shores, rivers, creeks, lakes, pools, and other bodies of water do tend to be a recurring theme in my work. My obsession with seas and oceans probably traces back to summer visits to Cape Cod as a kid. When I think of the ocean, it’s almost always a New England-y ocean. It’s a perfect setting for the kind of fiction I like to write – a little bit cold, a little bit brooding. The air tastes like salt and the wind tangles your hair and there’s a very real possibility of something dark and terrible and wonderful hiding under those shifting grey-green waves. It’s not like a tropical beach with clear, aqua water and white sand, easily tamed by a postcard. My New England beaches are wild and moody, and that mood is frequently cranky and/or surly. Plus tropical beaches contain way too much sunshine.

Your story from Issue 17, “How Bunny Came to Be,” is a prequel to “Doctor Blood and the Ultra Fabulous Glitter Squadron.” Do you plan to write any other stories about the Glitter Squadron?
Funny you should ask! I just finished putting together a collection of Glitter Squadron stories, and I have turned it over to a beta reader for critique. I have no idea whether anything will come of it, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

You’ve been writing regular “Women to Read” guest posts for SF Signal. Has this has had an impact on your fiction writing?
I don’t know that it’s had an impact on my writing, but it’s certainly made me more conscious of my reading habits. I started actively keeping a log of the novels and anthologies I read each year in 2012. Last year, I made a conscious effort to track the non-anthology short fiction that most impressed me as well. I have no problem finding short fiction by women to recommend in my posts, but I did realize I was falling down on reading novels by women. It’s not that I wasn’t reading them at all, but they were closer to a third of my overall reading, rather than half or more, which is where I am so far this year. I’ve also discovered a lot of wonderful new-to-me authors in writing the guest post series, and I’m delighted to be able to share their work with other readers.

In previous interviews, we’ve asked you about Lovecraft, Bradbury, music, and dinosaurs. So, tell us; what it is about poutine that makes it Montreal’s dish?
Well, on a basic level, no one outside the province of Quebec makes poutine quite right. I’ve seen some valiant efforts, and sampled some delicious variations, but they’re not really poutine as far as I’m concerned. The best poutine comes from faintly dingy looking places where the fry oil probably hasn’t been changed in about a billion years. On a metaphorical level, I suppose you could say that much like Montreal, poutine takes seemingly disparate things that sound to any sane person like they shouldn’t work together and turns them into a wonderful and harmonious whole – a golden, crispy-yet-soggy, gravy-drenched, melty, gooey whole. Wait… What was I talking about? Damn it, now I want poutine!


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