Among the 24 stories and poems in Fae Visions of the Mediterranean, the polyglot anthology of horrors and wonders of the sea, is Louise Herring-Jones's “Michaelis and the Dew Shades,” a quiet but delicious story that leaves the reader hungry, thirsty, and maybe even a little hungover! We asked Louise a few questions about her work.
Louise Herring-Jones writes mainstream, historical, and speculative fiction as well as non-fiction. Her science fiction, steampunk, dark fantasy, and light horror stories have appeared in anthologies. Born in Madrid, she now lives in the Tennessee Valley. Her website is louiseherring-jones.com.
TFF: “Michaelis and the Dew Shades” is a vivid piece, at once intensely realist and seamlessly magical, as living surrounded by ghosts must be. What does the story mean, for you?
LHJ: I have loved Crete from a distance since I read the novels of Mary Renault in grade school. When I visited in 2005, for a Write-in-Crete workshop with Bruce Holland-Rogers, Eric Witchey, and Philip Lees, I learned as much about the island as I could. I enjoy merging history with legend. The circa 1825 massacre of the Epirote freedom fighters (who became the legendary Drosoulites) melded perfectly with another event, the failed solar village proposal at Fragokastello some 155 years later. Crete is both a modern tourist destination and a land drenched in myth. I wanted my story to bear witness to the diverse elements of this magical island.
What sort of connection do you feel for the Mediterranean Sea or region?
I was born in Spain, although inland, and my first travel experience was by ship to the United States. I grew up surrounded by my parents' furniture and art gathered from their adventures in the Mediterranean region, both in Europe and in North Africa. When I first ventured forth from North America, I visited islands in the Aegean Sea. The experience was mystical, visiting new and exotic places but somehow coming home.
What historical event would you like to witness or participate in?
I would have loved to watch the athletic dancers who vaulted the horns of bulls during Crete's Minoan period (possibly even captive Athenian youths). The paintings of them found at the palace of Knossos near Heraklion are phenomenal.
Can you tell us an anecdote about one of your ancestors?
Not very distant ancestors, I realize, but both my parents were stationed in Cairo during World War II. At the end of the war, they were married there and honeymooned near the pyramids at Giza. Their photographs inspired my interest in the Mediterranean region's past, from ancient through more recent times.
Have you ever met a ghost? Would you like to?
Although never formally introduced, at the risk of disclosing my latent insanity, I believe I have encountered one or more spirits. The American South, where I grew up, is crowded with haunted mansions, battlefields, and even a playground. Happily for me, the only ghosts I have encountered thus far have been cordial.
Is there a particular monster or shade that is said to haunt the streets of your home town?
My hometown is Huntsville, Alabama. Maple Hill Cemetery, close to my childhood home, is adjacent to the heavily wooded "dead children's playground." Only the very brave go there after dark when the kids' ghosts come out to play. I am not one of those courageous souls although I've walked by the entrance many times, always protected by bright sunshine.
What is the most courageous act, in your opinion?
Living life to the fullest regardless of age, situation, or circumstance.
What are you working on next?
Final revision of my novel of historical fantasy and magic set in late medieval Europe.
Thank you, Louise!
Louise Herring-Jones's “Michaelis and the Dew Shades” can be found in Fae Visions of the Mediterranean.