Did you draw upon any particular myth or lore about mermaids for “Doll Re Mi”?
Not at all. For me it was just the complementary shapes—violin, woman with fish-tail.
Your parents were dancers—did you hear a lot of classical music growing up? Are you a classical music fan? Do you play any instruments?
My gorgeous parents weren’t classical dancers—but very able and graceful exponents of Ballroom and Latin American. However, they both loved classical music. So yes, I heard lots, and fell in love with it too. I did try to learn the piano as a child—I could compose on it, but stayed useless as a pianist. (Same with the guitar, later). Both my parents could play well.
What is the significance of the dream sequence? Who is the figure with the webby veil?
A reader will undoubtedly decide for themselves in both cases. There may be many answers, and most of them correct.
Do you see “Doll Re Mi” as a story about punishment for hubris?
No, I see it as the punishment for wasteful cruelty, which the main character so lavishly displays towards both people and things.
What scares you? Who are your favorite horror authors?
In books what scares me is usually rather less the subject matter than how it is handled. Among my favourite writers here are R.L. Stevenson and M.R. James. Individual books: I’d cite John Wyndham’s The Day of the Triffids, Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot—the only example of a work that truly, if temporarily, made me afraid of vampires. While William Golding’s Lord of the Flies is, I think, one of the most frightening novels of any sort ever written.
What are you working on now?
I’m working on a weird contemporary novel (my contemporary stuff is generally even more odd than my fantasy) called Turquoiselle. I shall never think of a garden shed the same way again!