What was your first encounter with the Fair Folk—a story, a movie, or something else? How did it influence you?
Gus: I spent a lot of time as a kid at the local library, and when I discovered folklore and mythology, I read everything available. I was drawn to the contrast between them and mainstream children’s books. Instead of having a protagonist who was rewarded for good, folklore was populated by characters who were clever, mischievous, and even mean. I’m still very fond of moral ambiguity. I was also fortunate to grow up in a time when movies for young people weren’t as sanitized. The Wizards and The Labyrinth are only two examples.
Brandon: The Gnome Mobile! Has anyone else ever even seen that movie? I think it was a Disney movie back in the 50’s or 60’s. All I remember was a human getting shrunk and he discovered this fairyland. They were all so beautiful and I was so very, very jealous!
Skye: Fairies were never really my thing growing up. I was a knights and dragons kinda girl. However, I did grow up with a lot of the Grimm’s Fairy Tales as well as Christian Hans Anderson tales, and my first experiences with fairies comes from those collections.
Scott: This goes way back for me. Although, properly, they were elves, not fairies. Around second grade, my mom got me started on the Lord of the Rings. Not the Hobbit – that came later – but the full trilogy. And I devoured it. I fell in love with Lothlorien, and thereafter with anything that resembled this enchanted elf wood, where time flowed differently and the people had an ethereal beauty about them that set them apart.
What appeals to you about faeries? What are the most enjoyable aspects of writing about them?
Gus: I could go on for a while here, but I’ll pick what I think is my favorite aspect. In a world where humans think they have control over everything, faeries are uncontrollable. I like the reminder that we haven’t achieved the mastery of nature that we think we have. They can be a metaphor for that.
Brandon: It’s always fun to write magic, always. It’s very freeing. I’ve written demons, witches, vampire, werewolves, mermaids, on and on and on, for my Men of Myth series. However, the fairies were the most magical to me and the most focused on beauty. That beauty is the gist of my story here (or the lack thereof), which lead me to some very dark places.
Skye: Fairies are tricksters. They always tell the truth, but they have mastered the art of doing so in a way that’s extremely literal, and there’s room for lots of misinterpretation to what they say and do.
Scott: I love their capricious nature, and their unapologetic un-human-ness. There are so many faery stories where men and women ended up in faery and spend a few days there, only to return home and find that years had passed. And there’s a seductiveness to faeries and a fluid, dark sexuality that appeals to me.
What are the challenges of working with these types of characters and worlds?
Gus: To pay homage to the old stories and traditions without being derivative or using them as a crutch. It can also be a challenge to portray characters whose thoughts and motivations are wildly different from those of humans while still keeping them relatable.
Brandon: I think fairies can often be seen as weak and the most flighty of mythological creatures. I found myself going down that path at first, then did a complete 180. I wanted to show the strong, dark, and twisted aspects of the species.
Skye: Part of the reason I never liked fairies growing up is because I thought them weak and flighty little creatures with no real magic—yes, despite hearing about them in the fairy tales I mentioned above. Turning my head away from that theology and striving for the darker aspect of fairies and Faery while writing a light-hearted tale was the most challenging thing of all. I didn’t want an overly dark story, but I didn’t want tiny, winged useless creatures either. It was a difficult balance.
Scott: Finding something new to say about a myth that is thousands of years old. Fairies are so entrenched in the culture that almost everyone knows what they are and how they “work”. So I wanted to bring something fresh to the table.
Tell us a little bit about your favorite part of your story in this anthology.
Gus: I enjoyed writing about Lleu’s house. It’s almost an extension of him as a character in that it’s full of weird hoards of seemingly unrelated things, and it is mutable. Imagining what it would be like and describing it was a lot of fun.
Brandon: While there is a love interest (of sorts) in my story, the main relationship is between two brothers. I loved exploring the conflict and devotion that can only happen between siblings. Even the magical kind.
Skye: Oh! That’s easy. When Tyler meets Marsh. Marsh is such a fun, spunky and hot-tempered character and Tyler is so unsure of himself and everything about him. It was just grand to write about their first encounter with one another.
Scott: Colton’s journey to self discovery as a trans man, and how Tris relates to him. I loved writing these two characters together, and I hope my readers enjoy them too.
Publisher: Wilde City Press
J. Scott Coatsworth
Cover Artist: August Li
Format: eBook, Paperback
Release Date: 4/13/16
Price: eBook $5.99, paperback TBD
Faeries are part of mythology the world over, past, present, and future. Called elves, brownies, the fae, and more, they evoke a sense of wonder and a little danger. Faery has its own rules, and humans enter at their peril.
In this spirit, we bring you the first book in the Myths Untold anthology series—four stories from the land of the Fae: a homeless man in Cardiff and the luck that could destroy him; the trans man in future San Francisco who falls for an elf; the village boy who has always been a little different; and a faery prince whose birthright was stolen from him.
Welcome to Faery.
The Pwcca and the Persian Boy, by Gus Li
Despite beauty and luck, something about Glyn makes everyone uncomfortable. Homeless on the streets of Cardiff, he has nothing to keep him going but his friendship with Farrokh. Through stealing and fortune’s occasional favor, Glyn keeps them alive. But then homeless youths begin to disappear, and when Farrokh goes missing, Glyn begins to discover the reasons behind both his luck and the way people react to him. Determined to save his friend from a danger he never imagined, he enlists the help of Lleu, who might be an ally, or might be manipulating Glyn to achieve his own goals.
The Other Side of the Chrysalis, by Brandon Witt
In a species that values beauty above all else, Quay looses both his freedom and his birthright as prince of the fairies. Lower than an outcast, he watches over his younger brother, hoping against hope that Xenith’s rebirth will provide safety and positions that has slipped through Quay’s grasp. Though he expected kindness from no one, Quay gradually starts to trust that there is more to life, even for the likes of him, as sexual encounters with Flesser, a fairy barely accepted himself, turn from lust to love. Quay knows having forbidden relationships will be his undoing, but he is powerless to turn away.
Changeling, by Skye Hegyes
With his pointed ears and a tail, Tyler’s always been different than the other children, but until Marsh, a brownie tells him he’s a changeling, he never thought he wasn’t human. Now he will discover what faery life is like, and just how being a changeling could change his life. On the way, his ties with his mother will be pushed and prodded even as his friendships grow and his love life blossoms. However, in a village of God-fearing people, those who are different are spurned and Tyler will discover how much trouble a fledgling changeling can get into.
Through the Veil, by J. Scott Coatsworth
In the not-too-distant future, San Francisco has been swamped by rising sea levels caused by global warming, and has only survived by building a wall to keep the water out of the heart of the City. Colton is a trans man barely getting by on the canals outside the wall. Tris is an elf who has come to the human world on his journey to become a man. Fate brings them together, and everything changes for Colton when he sets out with Tris to find the elf's missing brother, taking Colton behind the Wall for the first time.
Wilde City Press
Wilde City Press
August (Gus) Li is a creator of fantasy worlds. When not writing, he enjoys drawing, illustration, costuming and cosplay, and making things in general. He lives near Philadelphia with two cats and too many ball-jointed dolls.
He loves to travel and is trying to see as much of the world as possible. Other hobbies include reading (of course), tattoos, and playing video games.
Brandon Witt’s outlook on life is greatly impacted by his first eighteen years of growing up gay in a small town in the Ozarks, as well as fifteen years as a counselor and special education teacher for students with severe emotional disabilities.
Add to that his obsession with corgis and mermaids, then factor in an unhealthy love affair with cheeseburgers, and you realize that with all those issues, he’s got plenty to write about…
Dragons, wolves, and sharp objects are commonplace in Skye Hegyes’s home in North Carolina. She spends most of her time between writing and working. When not doing either of these things, you may find her making crafts or adventuring with her family, which consists of her husband, two daughters, two birds, and three cats… and a partridge in a pear tree…
J. Scott Coatsworth
Scott has been writing since elementary school, when he and won a University of Arizona writing contest in 4th grade for his first sci fi story (with illustrations!). He finished his first novel in his mid twenties, but after seeing it rejected by ten publishers, he gave up on writing for a while.
Over the ensuing years, he came back to it periodically, but it never stuck. Then one day, he was complaining to Mark, his husband, early last year about how he had been derailed yet again by the death of a family member, and Mark said to him “the only one stopping you from writing is you.”
Since then, Scott has gone back to writing in a big way, finishing more than a dozen short stories – some new, some that he had started years before – and seeing his first sale. He’s embarking on a new trilogy, and also runs the Queer Sci Fi (http://www.queerscifi.com) site, a support group for writers of gay sci fi, fantasy, and supernatural fiction.