The Issue 049 interviews continue today with Erin Keating and her answers to our questions about her story “Sleeping Giants“.
LSQ: Nature has a big role in this story. Do you usually write about nature? What about it draws you in?
Erin: I hadn’t thought about it until you asked this question! Yes, I suppose I do usually write about nature—specifically, nature that behaves unnaturally. Our relationship with nature is so precarious, and it’s fascinating to me to explore what happens when that relationship tips one way or the other—when characters, like Annie, connect with nature, or when characters are punished by nature (like in my story “Chrysanthemum” available at Haven Spec). In the end, I think nature always shapes my characters far more than they can shape it.
LSQ: The narrative in this story is as lyrical as Annie’s songs to the wind! Do you have any tips for crafting an effective narrative voice?
Erin: Thank you! Voice is the first thing that I think about when I’m drafting a new piece because it becomes so woven into the fabric of the story. I usually begin by handwriting a short scene, then read it out loud to hear how it sounds—focusing on sentence structure, cadence, and word choice. I’ll repeat this until I’ve crafted a narrative voice that I think adds texture to the story. Once I’ve internalized the voice enough that I feel like I can maintain it for the duration of the story, I’ll switch over to my laptop to finish the draft. When I’m done with a draft, I’ll repeat the process—reading the story aloud to focus on the sound of the piece and working my way through sentence-level revisions. Ultimately, I think a strong narrative voice should feel seamless—you can’t separate the story from the voice.
LSQ: I’m so curious about Annie’s life as she gets older. Would you be willing to share a glimpse? Do you know where her story leads after this?
Erin: After Annie wakes the giants, she follows them to the sea where they’ve created a new island. I’ve imagined a collection of fabulist tales—some including Annie, some simply set in the same world—that stitch together as she makes her journey.
LSQ: Are you working on any other writing projects at the moment? If so, can you tell us a bit about them?
Erin: I have a couple of stories that were recently published—“Chrysanthemum” in Haven Spec, which I mentioned earlier, and “The Future in a Wash Basin” in Metaphorosis—and I’m always working on new ones. Beyond my short fiction, I’m also working on a YA novel about a competition held by Death.