The Fae Visions of the Mediterranean anthology, now available in print and e-book from all online stores, brings you 24 stories and poems of horror and wonder of the sea. Among them is Dawn Vogel’s “Salt in Our Veins,” a short story of insecure childhood and Maltese pirates which highlights our ambiguous relationship with the sometimes nurturing, sometimes terrifying sea.
Dawn Vogel has been published as a short fiction author and a fiction and non-fiction editor. In her alleged spare time, she runs a craft business, helps edit Mad Scientist Journal, and tries to find time to write. She lives in Seattle with her husband and their herd of cats. We asked her a few questions about her work.
TFF: “Salt in Our Veins” is a thrilling pirate story with an understated supernatural twist. Where did the story come from?
I wrote this story after doing some research into historical pirates who operated in the Mediterranean. I found the bits about pirates capturing people to then demand ransoms for them or force them into service particularly interesting. But the crux of this story came down to: what would pirates do with someone who could not be ransomed, but whose claims of supernatural parentage made them far more interesting than your average captive? And what would the captive do to be free again?
What is your connection with the Mediterranean?
I've never actually seen it in person. I had vague plans to go to Greece about a dozen years ago, but those never materialized. In fact, I only made it to Europe for the first time earlier this year, and then only to Germany and France. So my only real connection is a historical interest in the area, particularly Greece.
In your story, nereids live half of their lives in the water and half on land. Is this kind of liminal creature a recurrent topic in your writing?
Yes and no. I write a lot of stories that involve supernatural beings from the sea—mermaids, sirens, nereids, nixies, and even vodyanoi have appeared in my stories. But for me, it's a much stronger tie to water, and the way that it can hide secrets within its depths. So many cultures have stories about things that live in the water that want to kill you, and it's interesting to explore the way those things are similar and different.
I'm an avid crafter, particularly working with crochet. I primarily make functional things, but I have incorporated storytelling and crochet together for some of my projects.
That sounds cool! Could you show us an example of something like that?
I made this combination of crochet and storytelling (left), for an exhibit at a small shop where all of the artists made something that fit in a 6 x 6 x 6 inch cube and wrote a story of less than 200 words to accompany it.
Do you remember the first time you saw the sea?
I grew up in the Midwest, so it wasn't until I was 11 or 12 years old. We drove to South Carolina to visit family, and they took us to the beach on a cloudy day. The main thing I remember is that the waves were, as my youngest sister put it, "pushy." When I was in my early 20s, we went to Virginia, and the water there was less "pushy," but cold. It wasn't until I went to Seattle for the first time, 11 years ago, that I realized that I really loved the ocean and couldn't imagine living somewhere without it. (I moved to Seattle about a year and a half after that trip.)
If you were a ghost, who would you haunt?
A lot of that would depend on how I became a ghost. I would absolutely be a vengeful spirit if there was someone responsible for my death. I'm not sure who I'd haunt if I didn't have vengeance to exact.
What other stories/exciting news do you have coming up?
I have a story, "Army of Me," coming out in Untethered: A Magic iPhone Anthology from Cantina Press this fall. I'm currently working on editing stories for Mad Scientist Journal's third anthology, Fitting In: Historical Accounts of Paranormal Subcultures, which will also be out this fall from DefCon One Publishing.
Thank you, Dawn!
Dawn Vogel’s “Salt in Our Veins” can be found in Fae Visions of the Mediterranean.