Issue 050 Author Interview: Amelia Brunskill and “The Hunter’s Child”

Is there anything better than a raven in a fairytale? We discuss this and more today with Amelia Brunskill, author of Issue 050 story “The Hunter’s Child.”

LSQ: I love stories about helpful corvids. What is it about them that’s so wonderful?

Amelia: I think part of the great thing about corvids is that they are such smart, wily, little dinosaurs that nothing really feels off the table for them, even without making them explicitly magical. Also, since they can fly, it’s all on their terms and that makes their trust/help feel like that much more of an honor.

LSQ: The narrator’s backstory is never clearly stated, but it’s not difficult for the reader to suss out the details. Why do you think this indirect method works best?

Amelia: In life, it feels like I have two settings for providing details/backstory: weirdly cagey or wildly excessive. In fiction, I err on the first setting, a tendency aided and abetted by the fact that I’ve read so many warnings about not writing too much backstory because it can slow things down. I also felt like in this particular story not much backstory was required–really all that is necessary for the reader to know is that it is from the perspective of a child who has been placed in an impossible position by two rather monstrous adults.

LSQ: Where do you see the narrator’s story going from here? Do you think you’ll continue their story someday?

Amelia: I like to think it’s going to go well for them! I don’t think I’ll continue their story though, I feel like I got them to the place where they made the decision they needed to make in order to reclaim their future, so my work is done. (If they end up having some kind of dedicated wolf-type creature at their side, that wouldn’t surprise me, but at this point that’s their business.)

LSQ: Who and what inspires your writing?

Amelia: There are so many brilliant writers out there, but most of them I actively avoid reading when I’m trying to get anything done because their writing is too good and it will only depress me.

This story was inspired by a snowy day when I managed to get stuck shoeless and without keys in the tiny mailing room of an apartment building, and I had to wait for the mailman to arrive and let me back into the main building. Before then I had never really thought that much about shoes and how their presence/lack thereof changes your options, but that prompted me to think about what a simple and yet deeply sinister gesture it would be to take someone’s shoes and a lot of the story ended up unfurling from there.