LSQ: This gave me some very Little Mermaid vibes while also feeling like its own lovely, unique thing. I love the transformation that Bee experiences, both mental and physical. Where did you get the idea for this story?
Ashley: For me the idea for the story started with the sea witch and then grew from there. I went out to the coast early one morning to read and watch the water, and while I was engrossed in my book, an older woman seemed to suddenly appear in front of me. I was surprised I hadn’t heard her approach given how rocky the beach was and the idea for the sea witch popped into my head. From there, I started thinking about who might seek out a sea witch and what they might be after.
LSQ: I think there’s a part of all of us that would rather pick the water. Bee doesn’t seem to be escaping from any massive trauma or downturn, she just needs something other than what she has. How did you decide her motivation?
Ashley: Bee’s life represents something I think a lot of people go through–it’s that time of life where nothing is particularly bad, but nothing is particularly good either. For most people, this will change, but for Bee it’s going to last forever. She knows on a subconscious level that she’ll never truly be happy. I wanted to explore a story where a woman didn’t put her head down and just take what she’d ended up with.
LSQ: Okay, so Bee becomes my favorite sea creature at the end of this story. Why did you pick that, and what’s your favorite sea creature?
Ashley: I love octopi and I’m curious about their association with the monstrous (like Disney’s Ursula and the myth of the Kraken). While writing this story I wanted to play with the idea that by finally figuring out what will make her happy and unapologetically taking it, Bee might be considered monstrous by others in her (and our) society. Personally I really love jellyfish, all the way from the little guys to the behemoths. They’re fascinating to watch and seem like they’re from another world.