Of Echoes Born will be available at the Bold Strokes Books website this Friday, June 1st. To say I’m excited about this collection would be a wee understatement, because—this will surprise no one who knows me—short fiction is my favourite.
That doesn’t mean I don’t have space in my heart for other things. Both as a reader and a writer, I still love novels and series, but shorter fiction? Novellas and short stories? Oh, they’re my jam.
Even when I had my first short fiction piece published, which was “Heart” in Fool For Love: New Gay Fiction, I had a plan about interconnected short fiction pieces. At the time, I’d wanted to start with Ian, a character with the ability to see how people feel as colours in the air around them, alongside a less predictable gift to glimpse the past or the future.
Instead, one of the characters around Ian, Jeremiah, caught my attention, and Miah’s relationship with Aiden (a.k.a. “Moose”) took centre stage. Moose could heal people, but had repressed that gift for years after witnessing a loss. Miah had a heart condition. They hit it off, and it became “Heart.” Ian stuck around just enough to get mentioned twice in “Heart,” though.
And they all live in the Village.
The Village—my fictionalized version of the little gay village here in Ottawa—gets a major debut in Of Echoes Born, even though I’ve already visited it multiple times in Handmade Holidays, Saving the Date, and probably a majority of the other short fiction I’ve already published.
“A Little Village Magic” pulls double-duty in the collection. First, it tells the story of Gabriel Riche, who absolutely, positively doesn’t believe in magic despite working at a little New Age/Occult shop in the Village, and his fumbling attempts to gather enough courage to make a connection with the charming artist repainting a defaced memorial. Alas, the thing about magic is it doesn’t matter much if you believe in it when it believes in you.
The second job of “A Little Village Magic” is to spark a change in the Village. The magic that pops up in the novelette will have impact on person after person in the Village. Gabriel’s just the first. The novelette connects with almost every other story in the connection with one (or two) degrees of separation. Ian’s bookstore is there, as is Michel’s gallery, and Phoebe’s consignment shop, and Ivan’s tea shop and café, and—of course—the oft-referenced Bittersweets small fair-trade coffee chain from Handmade Holidays (and, as Ru would undoubtedly mention, the one with the better grinder is in the Village).
I have plans for Ivan. And Marion. And Michel. And even Officer Hotbody. And if readers enjoy “A Little Village Magic,” I’ve got a plan for more novellas set in the Village (and even a re-release of “A Little Village Magic” with a bit of an expansion to further set the stage).
This Friday the Village is officially open.
I hope to see you there.