Delia Sherman's second exploration of "New York Between"-- the wondrous parallel city she introduced us to in Changeling-- was published this year: The Magic Mirror of the Mermaid Queen. (See Delia's website for details.) Lobster & Canary's youngest nephew will receive this book under the Christmas tree next week!
Delia kindly spoke with the Lobster & Canary about "New York Between":
Lobster & Canary: We believe in Neef's "New York Between"-- wood woses, gargoyles, and other creatures of myth and legend festoon the facades of many older New York buildings, while our skyscrapers at night look like dream palaces and the towers of faerie riot. When did "New York Between" first appear to you, and when did you decide to depict it in story?
Delia: I grew up in New York, two blocks from Central Park. When I was little, my idea of a day in the country was sailing my toy boat on the Boat Pond, rowing with my father on the Lake, or getting lost in the Ramble. I also grew up reading myths and fairy tales. I’m just surprised that it took as long as it did for the two to come together in my fiction.
The precipitating factors were a speech given by Brian Froud at a Faerie Symposium at the Omega Institute and Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling’s anthology The Green Man. I’d been asked to submit a story for it, and was having a hard time coming up with an idea. When Brian said that he didn’t think fairies could exist in a city, my immediate response was an indignant (and silent) “Of course they can!” It was a real Eureka moment.
The story that came out of that particular insight was “Grand Central Park,” which gave me the Green Lady (although I didn’t know her very well yet) and the first inklings of a parallel fairy New York. I first visited there in “CATNYP,” and have been exploring ever since.
L & C: Many reviewers comment on the wit and verve of Changeling and now The Magic Mirror of the Mermaid Queen. Do you start with satirical intent, or does the humor emerge organically as Neef's adventures unfold?
I like reading humor, when the humor is based on character and language. I like reading tragedy, too, and I enjoy writing it in my adult fiction. But even then, I find myself veering into comedy from time to time. I can’t help myself. People say and do funny things, even when things are grim. Characters do too. Or at least mine do.
L & C: Thank you Delia!