What’s better than reading all our new, amazing Issue 046 stories? Getting to talk with out authors about them, of course! Today Patrice Rivara shared with us the inspirations behind her story “Vegoia“.
LSQ: This story reads like the beginning of an epic novel, yet you manage to fit this rich plot into the parameters of a short story. Why did you decide to keep this in short form, rather than expand it?
Patrice: Keeping it short really allowed me to make the most of my time in Vera’s world. It felt fitting to keep Vera’s story short–her life as she knew it is, in effect, cut short by this supernatural occurrence. Her journey as an individual concludes within the story.
LSQ: Your descriptions are so lush and add so much depth to the story without bogging it down. I especially loved the scene where Vera stops to admire the blue laundry. What is your advice for successfully integrating scenic descriptions into stories without halting the plot?
Patrice: I try to make sure every piece of description propels the story forward. I really enjoy bringing a world to life on the page, but I give myself a rule that it has to accomplish something else. Sometimes it’s a small tidbit to help with worldbuilding, but I often try to link scenic descriptions like the blue laundry to the character’s journey, be it mental, emotional, physical, or spiritual. Fleshing out the world through the eyes of the narrator gives me a better idea as to the kind of person they are, what they notice, and how that relates to their life.
LSQ: It wasn’t until your mention of a wolf suckling two boys that it occurred to me that Vegoia is a figure with historical roots. How did you come across her, and what made you want to write a story featuring her name?
Patrice: I forget the exact place I saw her name, but it’s 50/50 a museum placard or Wikipedia. I started thinking of her world when I visited an exhibit on ancient Etruscan life at the National Museum in Seoul while living in South Korea. A friend (who extended a layover to visit me–thanks Avanti!) and I visited the museum and spent a while in the exhibit, looking at carts and pots and funerary urns, and talking about the lives of the people who used them. Vera is entirely fictional, but I was interested in examining myth-making and the origins of myths. With Vegoia in particular, I saw a story in what is omitted from history, and a chance to spend time imagining a slice of the world my ancestors inhabited.
LSQ: Are there any other projects you’re currently working on? If so, could you tell us a bit about them?
Patrice: I don’t have any short stories in the works at the moment, but I’d like to get a few started over summer. I’m also working on a longform piece, and I really don’t know what to say about it except that I’m committed to making it as good as it can be!