Author Interview – Charlotte H. Lee

More From This Author

Story Art Sneak Peek

Amazing Artwork By Daniela Rivera

"Just Desserts"

Anthology: The Devil Who Loves Me
Release Date: June 23rd, 2023
Preorders: Paperback | Kindle
About the Author: Charlotte H. Lee spends her days pondering how best to smash all the boxes people want to keep the world in from a baby city near Vancouver, Canada. It doesn't matter whether it's through telling stories to challenge others how we see life, or pushing herself to stretch her own brain in new ways. Her stories have appeared in Little Blue Marble, Metaphorosis, The Overcast, and others. You can find links to her published work at www.charlottehlee.com.
Q & A

How does it feel to have this story published for the first time?

A relief! This poor story has been looking for a home for the last five years. It's come close a number of times, with many positive comments on the rejections, but it was never quite the right fit. I'm pleased to be in such great company!

What inspired the idea for your story?

I'd been thinking about the expression, 'Beauty is in the eye of the beholder', and while researching something completely unrelated came across the actual role that harpies had in classical mythology. I'd also been stewing over the state of justice at the time.

We know that writing can be a tumultuous journey with a lot of obstacles, what is your kryptonite as a writer?

Imposter syndrome. I know I'm not alone. I know that most other writers experience it even after they've achieved far more success than I have. It hits especially hard when I've had a long string of rejections, and acceptances have been few and far between.

Clearly, you’ve succeeded at writing a captivating story for GrendelPress, but we all start somewhere. What advice would you give yourself as a young writer?

Anyone can learn to write. Even you. However, unlike any other art, there's no public education for kids to learn the very basics such as integrating setting and character descriptions into action, or how to use dialogue effectively, or how and when to show vs tell, or when to use which story structure, or even making the right word choices to support the tone you're looking to achieve in a specific scene. It doesn't help that most university creative writing courses skip over the basics of the craft, too, focusing instead on workshopping theme integration. Before trying to write even the first story, start with developing basic prose skills, then move on to learning how to structure scenes, then expand it out to story.

We’d like to argue that every good story makes both the author and the readers feel something. What perspectives or beliefs have you challenged with your story?

Just Desserts made me examine how I view justice, especially in the case of those who are silent, even unwilling, collaborators of those who cause egregious harm. I didn't come to any simple answers, largely because I came to realize that there aren't any - the line between victim and collaborator can be razor thin.

What do you love most about your story’s genre?

What I love about fantasy is the ability to step outside of the strict rules of the world so I can really dive deeply into a theme or concept without getting myself mired in nihilism. And besides, who wouldn't want to be able to fly?

Tell us about your favorite author. What about their book(s) call to you and how do they inspire your own writing?

Anne McCaffrey and Lois McMaster Bujold were inspirations for me long before I even thought writing was something I could be capable of doing. What I adored specifically about Anne was her simple, relatable prose combined with her mastery of characterization through action and dialogue. LMB's brilliance with humour and loveable characters that drive plots in unanticipated ways is something I will aspire to for years to come.

What are some other genres you’d like to break into and why?

I've been curious about steampunk for a long while, largely because I adore the complexity of the costuming contrasting with the simplicity of the technology.

If you had to pick another story of yours to share with your readers, what would it be?

One of my favourite published pieces is "HOPper", published in 2018 by Metaphorosis. It's the story of a house AI that gets infested with Gaulish brownies. The inspiration for that story was my frustration at the number of stories that were coming out at the time in which if there's an AI invovled, it becomes a toxic love / obsession story. I wanted to write a story where the love was more wholesome, nurturing. And that not every human is going to react with terror at the thought of an intelligence different from their own.
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