Author of “Kitchen” (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 think I was making up stories on paper pretty much as soon as I could write. I wrote for years as a kid and teenager, just for myself—stories, sketches, wretched poetry. I minored in creative writing in college. But the field of molecular biology was my other love, and after college I took a long hiatus from fiction writing as I focused on trying to build a career in scientific research. I only slowly made my way back to writing, after more than a decade away. In 2013 I left the laboratory bench for good, and decided to finally take my writing seriously.
My first publications were in literary fiction magazines, and for a time I tried to work in the “realist” mode. But even those stories had something of the weird to them, a hint (or more than a hint) of the supernatural. I finally learned to embrace the weird, and I’m happiest writing speculative fiction. I love the freedom in this genre. I love magic and myth and sheer invention. And I love the way fantasy can allow the metaphorical to become literal (a person’s heart can literally turn to stone from grief; someone might literally walk through Hell for true love). There is an essay by writer Lev Grossman in which he writes, “For me fantasy isn’t about escaping reality, it’s about re-encountering the challenges of the real world, but externalized and transformed.” That’s what I feel, too. And this use of metaphors can work for science fiction as well, and all modes of speculative fiction.
Also, I just like making cool stuff up.
Are there themes that you find recurring in your work? If so, what are they, and why do you think they recur?
Mother-daughter pairs recur in my work. Also stories about characters literally caught between worlds or states of being—a selkie-like being caught on shore, children on the Moon who long to visit Earth. Supernatural beings who want to be human and humans who want to enter Faerie Land. I suppose this says something about my psychology, but I’ll just leave it at that.
What writing projects are you working on right now?
I just finished the first draft of a very dark story about clowns.
For someone who wants to read more of your work, which of your stories would you recommend, and how can people find them?
Most of my stories are available to read free online at my website, vanessafogg.com. Some of my stories are also available at the reprint site, Curious Fictions. Of the stories that are available online for free, I have a soft spot for my secondary world fantasy novelette, “Between Sea and Shore.” For hard science fiction, I’d recommend my story “Traces of Us.” And the most recent story of my heart is “The Things That We Will Never Say,” which was scary to write (but worth it).
You can read Vanessa Fogg’s story in Metaphorosis Magazine, “Of Dew and Frost and Flame,” for free online.
For more about Vanessa Fogg:
Amazon webpage: https://www.amazon.com/Vanessa-Fogg/e/B01IJG0SRQ/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1
Goodreads webpage: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8434352.Vanessa_Fogg