An extract from the Afterword:
This book has taken a long time to write.
I began it at the end of 2013, after The Bitterwood Bible and Other Recountings had been sent off to Tartarus Press. I was fortunate enough to be awarded a Writer’s Fellowship by the Queensland Literary Awards to help me develop it. I’ve been writing and re-writing it ever since – wonderfully patient folk at the Literary Awards, let me tell you. Almost as patient at Rosalie and Raymond at Tartarus, frankly.
The first three stories have been published. The Tallow-Wife”, “What
Shines Brightest Burns Most Fiercely” and “Bearskin” all in A Feast of Sorrows (Prime Books, thanks, Sean Wallace and Paula Guran). The titular novella was released as a limited edition by Fablecroft in 2017 for Conflux – we only did fifty of those, so if you’ve got one, congrats! It’s rare as hen’s teeth. I’d thought (way back in 2013), that this would be my last foray into the world of Sourdough and Bitterwood. Thought I’d exhausted the seam – as I said, this book took a long time to write. And now, I’m penning the “Afterword” in the Time of Plague, the Covid-19 pandemic; it feels very Decameron, although with fewer rats and buboes. It feels very strange.
Don’t get me wrong: I was writing. I was writing a lot. Then I was rewriting, amending and deleting, hacking and slashing, polishing then setting everything on fire and tossing it in the bin. Casting spells, sacrificing chickens, making promises to dark gods. Sulking, then starting again.
But at last it is done. I just need to give it a final edit and Kathleen Jennings is finishing up the artwork, then it will be off to those lovely folk at Tartarus.
The Table of Contents is:
Introduction by Helen Marshall
The Promise of Saints
What Shines Brightest Burns Most Fiercely
Embers and Ash
The Nightingale and the Rose
Of Ghosts and Glory
A Stitch in Time
Sleeping Like Snow
And A Young Husband to Bury Me
By Such Paths