Putting the Noir into a Fairy Tale
When Mina Khan first contacted me to invite me to contribute to a paranormal noir anthology, I said yes without thinking about it for very long. The timing fit perfectly into my schedule, the authors involved are both amazing and my friends. Total no brainer!
Then I started to think about *what* I would write and stumbled over the nagging fact that, not only did I not read or watch much noir – I wasn’t even really sure what defined the genre.
So I did what any well-trained refugee from academia does: Research!
I read some scholarly articles on the topic and cribbed the lines that spoke to me. I kept them pasted at the top of my first draft as I worked, returning to them time and again like checking a compass to keep me going in the right direction.
This is what they said:
contemporary dark fiction, built on the backbone of classic noir and hardboiled fiction, genre-bending subgenre that includes edgy literary fiction, as well as fantasy, science fiction, and horror, magical realism, slipstream, transgressive, and the grotesque.
Flannery O’Connor talked about the grotesque as being a moment in time, a rare occurrence of horror, surprise, or a crossroads. You can see how these kind of bizarre, strange, and pivotal moments can lend themselves to neo-noir fiction.
I saved these particular lines for a few reasons. First, they reassured me that I *could* do a fairy tale/fantasy story and stay true to the noir genre. The kind of story I think of as noir – the black and white 40s style dective movie – really isn’t my thing. But genre-bending?? Absolutely my thing!
The bit attributed to Flannery O’Connor was what really cemented my story idea, however. “The grotesque as being a moment in time. One image came to my mind then – as illustrated in my copy of Grimms Fairy Tales – of the man hanging a dead horse’s head over the gate in The Goose Girl. I can’t tell you if I love that fairy tale for that drawing or if I love the drawing for the tale. But the story has long obsessed me and it hit me then that *this* would be my opportunity to write my retelling.
So, HEART’S BLOOD is that tale. About a rare occurrence of horror, the crossroads, the pivotal moment – and the redemption that comes after.
*previously published for the release of Dark Secrets: a Paranormal Noir Anthology in 2015*
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