“Rumpelstiltskin” by Jeff Wood gets to the point quickly and is a fantastic addition to this anthology as it gets the point across that women should not be treated as breeding stock. This fairytale retelling is a masterpiece of an interpretation.
Q (Crone Girls Press): Author Interview Question 1: What drove your story for this anthology? Tell us the “story behind the story.”
A (Jeff Wood): I wrote this story for my two daughters. I’ve rarely written a story with such immediacy. I was howling with rage after the Dobbs decision, and a friend pointed me in the direction of this anthology. I wrote this at the kitchen table in about an hour. I gave it a light edit, but I mostly wanted my anger to burn through the words. This story is well out of my comfort zone, and I plan to visit these more uncomfortable places in the future, as a result of writing this.
Q: What does it mean to read and write horror when you’re competing with news headlines (for example, this anthology came about in response to the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe V Wade)? How has it changed (or not!) your approach to the genre as a writer or as a fan?
A: I don’t know that it changes my approach, but the wider world around me certainly suggests what my content will be. My reactions to the world are a personal funhouse mirror of the world, and I just try to put them in a fictional context that accurately reflects what I see. When the world pokes at me, I poke back.
Q: There are a number of different flavors of horror. Where does your story fit, and what drew you to this particular category?
A: I normally write what I like to call Suburban Horror, where the Dreadful Thing lurks behind and within ordinary objects and behaviors, often just barely offstage. This is NOT that flavor of horror. I tried to lay my rage and fear out on a bloody platter, for the reader to see and confront head on.
Q: Why do you write horror? What about the genre appeals to you as an author?
A: It’s so malleable. I find the lens of horror allows me to handle issues, both personal and political, with a distance I might not otherwise be able to attain.
Q: What’s next in your writing journey?
A: I am working on the second draft of Chew, my post-apocalyptic sci-fi/horror novel where a subliminal advertising stunt goes awry, and capitalism devolves into a full-blown, all consuming hunger for more.
About The Author
Jeff Wood lives in Colorado Springs, where he spends way too much time staring at the night sky, and a little too much time watching baseball. His stories have appeared in over 30 publications such as Boston Phoenix, New York Press, Wild Musette, Fiction at Work, Bright Desire, The Greyrock Review, Bellowing Ark, and Java Journal. He has a children’s play included in the anthology CHILDSPLAY, in the company of such authors as Sam Shepard and Maya Angelou. More can be found at jeffmwood.com
Be sure to check out his story in A Woman Unbecoming