[Madera]: The stories here run the fabulist fiction gamut. You explore myth, science fiction, legend, horror, the fairy tale, etc., upending their tropes, often subtextually critiquing them. And sometimes you comment directly on genre conventions. For instance, in “The Cemetery for Lost Faces” we find an argument about what constitutes a fairy tale, some characters arguing that the “happily-ever-after is just a false front. It hides the hungry darkness inside.” What would you say motivates you to play with genre, to trespass their seeming borders? And how would you describe the “hungry darkness inside”?
Sparks: Honestly, most of it is a love for genre fiction, film, and television. The things that got me passionate about reading and writing, the things that I took the first story shapes and tropes from, were almost entirely genre: horror, sci-fi, fantasy, fairy tale. The first books I ever read were books of fairy tales my dad had from his own childhood. So I’ve been forming stories around these traditional structures and genre conventions forever, and playing with those conventions, upending them, for almost just as long. I wouldn’t say there’s an overt motivation beyond playfulness, between thinking always of ways to expand the possibilities of story. But I think if I’m being honest, feminism and an interest in outsider art, in fringe stories, probably also play a role, because there’s so much to be said about the role of women in these traditional stories and in stories outside of the traditional literary space.
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