Last year, my story “Familiaris” was published in THE STARLIT WOOD. It’s about fairy tales, motherhood, and how stories get made.

This year, “Familiaris” was reprinted in LIGHTSPEED! You can read it here:

“I mean, if you don’t want to have one,” he says, that single line down the center of his forehead like his face is about to peel.

“Someday,” she says. His hand is too tight in her hand. One of them is sweating.

• • • •

The prince and princess had no child.

Eventually, wolves.

• • • •

Long ago, a woman in Bavaria had to peel some potatoes. She had to do the washing. She had to check on the soup that simmered on the stove and was never quite thick enough. She had to watch her smallest child where it lay wrapped near the fire and sweating, and watch her oldest daughter tying back her hair to look finer when she went to trade the day’s milk for some woolens from the merchant with the unmarried son. She wanted to tell a story that could lock the door.

And as part of the paperback release-day shenanigans for THE STARLIT WOOD, I wrote a mini-essay for Powell’s about what makes fairy tale retellings so evergreen:

Fairy tales are at war with themselves. This is partially because so many different stories are asked to perform the duties of a fairy tale for readers. It is also because certain tales spark the public imagination at crucial times and become curiosities all their own, shaped and reshaped, sometimes reflecting the moment in which they were most famously retold more than the moment they were born. (Little Red Riding Hood once freed herself from the wolf and sank him in the river with his belly full of stones. You know why that story changed.)

Even fairy tales told in the same moment are likely still at war — both moralizing and surreal, proscriptive and full of the glee of misrule. The Bavarian story I retell in The Starlit Wood — “The Wolves” — manages to be all these things at once, which hints, perhaps, at a war between the original teller and the scholar who wrote it down. (Fairy tales are also about power, a struggle as often behind the story as within it.)

But as much as the history of a story is important — and illuminating — retelling is the natural state of the fairy tale. It’s how the stories lived long enough to be written, to be cultural touchstones, to be theme park franchises. You do it yourself. We bring our own understanding to every fairy tale; to read one is already to be retelling it.