The ballot for this year’s World Fantasy Awards was announced yesterday, and I was stunned to see that ‘Das Steingeschöpf‘ has been shortlisted for the Best Short Fiction category.
The seed for this story was sown several years ago, when I wrote a very short story about a young apprentice arriving at his master’s house for training, only to find said master reclusive and irritable. Over the years, things changed: the master became a fantastical creature — a sculptor himself, actually, obsessed with creating miniatures. Then, in 2015, I started learning German and happened to read both ‘When Money Dies: The Nightmare of the Weimar Hyper-inflation‘ by Adam Fergusson and ‘The Luminous Life of Lilly Aphrodite‘ by Beatrice Colin. They inspired me to write an inter-war story, incorporating the language I’d come to love, and the little snippet I originally wrote all those years ago provided the perfect foundation.
It took a while to come up with the name for my stone creatures, but the artist SvenjaLiv came to the rescue over Skype one day, going so far as to provide not only the words Stein (stone) and Geschöpf (creature), but Schöpfer (creator), and Queckstein (living stone, taken from ‘quick-silver’).
‘Das Steingeschöpf‘ was one of those odd stories that drafts clean and almost fully-formed; I wrote the first draft within a month or so, tweaking it with the advice of now-friends from Scribophile. Finally, in early 2016, I had something I was happy with. I submitted it to Strange Horizons, expecting a rejection within the month.
But the rejection never came. . .
This time last year, I was still waiting on that acceptance, my first professional sale; now, I’m honoured to share a ballot with such incredible writers as Brooke Bolander, Amal El-Mohtar, Maria Dahvana Headley, and Rachael K. Jones.
The World Fantasy Award nomination is a dream come true. To those of you who read, shared, reviewed, or voted for ‘Das Steingeschöpf‘ — I have no words.
Thank you. Thank you so much.