Author of “Dreaming in Other Colours” (Contemporary Fantasy)
How long have you been writing? Do you write in genres other than speculative fiction? If so, which ones? If not, why do you prefer spec fic?
I’ve been writing since 2009. Or that’s the first start date I have recorded for a story. And it was a terrible story, too. I spent four pages describing a castle. Then when I got to the character sitting in her room, I found that there was no actual story there. I still have those pages somewhere.
I write speculative fiction. I’ve tried to write other genres, but somewhere along the way something weird will turn up and reality goes out the window. Horror and contemporary fantasy are the closest I get to the real world.
I love speculative fiction because I love wonder, the sense of the strange, of something bigger than us being out there, whether it’s magical creatures or places or the vast breadth of the stars.
What are some of your literary influences? How did you encounter them?
All of my influences are from my early reading. C S Lewis, Ursula Le Guin, Isaac Asimov and many authors whose books have not turned into classics, and yet they still brought wonder to my teenage years.
Are there themes that you find recurring in your work? If so, what are they, and why do you think they recur?
Female agency is a big theme in my fantasy work. I like to investigate heroines who don’t have fighting skills or magical powers and yet have to face threats to their survival. In my science fiction I tend to explore humanity in the stars and how it changes us, how we respond to the new and different, how family is still important. I guess my main theme is ordinary people. I love them, and they make great characters.
What writing projects are you working on right now?
I’m working on a novel (who isn’t?) about feminism, power and choice, set in a fantasy world based on the medieval concept of the universe. I’m trying to finish a quintet of novellas about a war between Mars and Earth from the point of view of four people who experienced it. I’m also about to start a horror collaboration with a writer friend, based in Australia and New Zealand, with old gods, power, corruption and politics. It’s going to be a busy year.
For someone who wants to read more of your work, which of your stories would you recommend, and how can people find them?
Two of my favourite stories were published this year. “Gone to Wrack and Ruin” in Empyreome Magazine, October 2017, and “The Frozen Sea Takes Everything I Love” in The Fantasist, December 2017. Both of these stories are about older women struggling to protect their families when they have little to no personal power or agency.
You can read Meryl Stenhouse’s story in Metaphorosis Magazine, “Gathering Dust,” for free online.
For more about Meryl Stenhouse:
Amazon webpage: https://www.amazon.com/Meryl-Stenhouse/e/B01FQ30488