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Damien Angelica Walters on Her GENIUS LOCI Story “In the Water, Underneath”


Genius Loci is a new anthology edited by Jaym Gates that is due out in September. It’s currently on Kickstarter, and features stories by authors like Seanan McGuire, Ken Liu,  and more. In a special series of interviews, I asked the authors a few questions about themselves and their stories.

About Genius Loci (via Jaym Gates):

The concept of ‘genius loci‘ is indeed an ancient one, found in nearly every human mythology. Guardian spirits. Divine presences. Demonic powers. Ghosts. In GENIUS LOCI, the emphasis is on the locale as much as it is on the spirit inhabiting it.

We have a huge anthology of 31 all-new fantasy and science fiction stories drawing on the rich tradition of place-as-person. Within the pages of GENIUS LOCI, the authors present stories of sentient deserts, beneficent forests, lonely shrubs, and protective planetary spirits.

Today, I talked to Damien Angelica Walters about her story “In the Water, Underneath”

Damien’s short fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in anthologies and magazines such as Year’s Best Weird Fiction Volume One, The Best of Electric Velocipede, Streets of Shadows, Glitter & Mayhem, What Fates Impose, A is for Apocalypse, Lightspeed, Shimmer, Shock Totem, Jamais Vu, Apex Magazine, Strange Horizons, Nightmare Magazine, Daily Science Fiction, Drabblecast, PodCastle, and Pseudopod.

She is a 2014 Bram Stoker Award nominee in the category of Superior Achievement in Short Fiction for “The Floating Girls: A Documentary,” originally published in Jamais Vu and reprinted in the Chinese literary journal ZUI Found.

Sing Me Your Scars, a collection of her short fiction, will be released on March 9, 2015 from Apex Publications. Paper Tigers, a novel, is forthcoming from Dark House Press.

Writing as Damien Walters Grintalis, her short fiction appeared in magazines such as Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Strange Horizons, Interzone, Fireside, Lightspeed, and Daily Science Fiction, and a novel, Ink, was released in December 2012 by Samhain Publishing.

She’s also a freelance editor, and until the magazine’s closing in 2013, she was an Associate Editor of the Hugo Award-winning speculative fiction magazine, Electric Velocipede.

She lives in Maryland with her husband and two rescued pit bulls.

Kristin Centorcelli: Will you tell us a bit about your story in Genius Loci and what inspired you to write it?

Damien Angelica Walters: I’d stumbled upon an article about the last house standing on Holland Island in the Chesapeake Bay and was haunted by the pictures. A single house stood on a bit of land while the land eroded away around it. The house looked defeated and sad, yet somehow defiant. It finally collapsed in October 2010, and by 2012, Holland Island itself had completely eroded.

I did a bit more reading into the island’s history and filed it all away, and when Jaym announced Genius Loci, I knew I wanted to write about the island and how it felt to stand helpless against the water of the Chesapeake Bay, to be alone and abandoned as its time drew to an end. Most of all, I wanted to capture the essence of that photograph: a thing defeated, but defiant.

KC: What’s next for you?

DAW: Sing Me Your Scars, a collection of my short fiction, is out on March 9, 2015 from Apex Publications, and I also have short fiction forthcoming in several anthologies and magazines including Black Static, Cassilda’s Song, edited by Joe Pulver, a King in Yellow anthology of all new stories written by women, and The Mammoth Book of Cthulhu: New Lovecraftian Fiction, edited by Paula Guran.

About Kristin Centorcelli (842 Articles)
Kristin Centorcelli is the Associate Editor at SF Signal, proprietor of My Bookish Ways, a reviewer for Library Journal and Publisher’s Weekly, and has also written for Crime Fiction Lover, Criminal Element, and Mystery Scene Magazine. She has been reviewing books since late 2010, in an effort to get through a rather immense personal library, while also discussing it with whoever will willingly sit still (and some that won’t).
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