Kathrin Hutson adds a story to Shamrocks, Saints and Standing Stones based on her prompt of 1918, a ship and a mirror. With her usual flair, she has penned us a great tale!
Kathrin has been writing fiction for fifteen years, editing for five, and plunging in and out of reality since she first became aware of the concept. Kathrin specializes in Dark Fantasy and Sci-fi, and the first novel in her Fantasy series, Daughter of the Drackan, was published in 2015 and is available on Amazon and in the Kindle store. The sequel, Mother of the Drackan, is due to be out Spring 2016.
Kathrin runs her own independent editing company, KLH CreateWorks, for Indie Authors of all genres. She also serves as Story Coordinator and Chief Editor for Collaborative Writing Challenge. Needless to say, she doesn’t have time to do anything she doesn’t enjoy.
The old woman grinned, showing maybe only four teeth amidst the black, gaping hole, and held out a crooked finger toward Nuala. “Ye heard me, lass. And I can help ye see him, I can. But I be needin’ something from ye in exchange.”
“I have hardly a thing to offer,” Nuala said, wondering now if this was some parlor trick meant to scam her out of her hard-earned wages—though the woman had known her Georgie’s name and seemed to read the inside of Nuala’s heart like a book.
“Even the poor have something useful,” the crone replied, wheezing for a few seconds when her words cut off in a fit of choking hacks. She shuffled a few steps closer, if that was even possible, and reached out a bony finger to tap Nuala three times in the hollow of her throat, right between her collarbones. “Ye have a bonnie voice, dearie, and I’d like to borrow it from ye for a while, if I may.”
The noxious stink of rotting cabbage overwhelmed Nuala’s senses for a minute, and she parted her lips only a little to breathe through her mouth. The woman seemed insane, but she wasn’t about to be rude. “How in the world could you borrow my voice?” she asked.
“Ye just have to say the word and accept my gifts.” The old woman brought her hands out from the folds of her putrid rags and held them up to Nuala. In one hand she held a brass hand-mirror, her other hand poised above it a few inches. “I promise ye it works.” She tapped a ragged fingernail on the glass of the mirror three times, and a muted flash of light reflected off the mirror’s surface.
1. What’s your most prominent memory of St. Patrick’s Day?
I always remember elementary school during St. Patrick’s Day. I spent grades 1-7 in a Catholic school, where we went to church every morning and had to wear uniforms every day—the whole shebang. So holidays like St. Patrick’s Day were pretty awesome just for the fact that we got to wear anything other than our boring navy and khaki uniform, as long as it was green. So everybody took advantage of that.
I also thought for the longest time that the basement of our tiny little catholic school was haunted by leprechauns every March. My friends and I would find those gold-wrapped chocolate coins in the strangest places in the basement, where we’d get to hang out after Girl Scouts or when we stayed after school in daycare.
2. Name the part of Irish culture you are most happy to lay claim to and why- is it Guinness? Irish music? The Book of Kells? The Fighting Irish?
I’m not sure there’s any part of Irish culture I can ‘lay claim to’, other than the fact that it’s in my blood. My family names on my mom’s side are Dougherty and Kuebel…there’s a lot of Irish there. I got the red hair, glowing white skin, and freckles—plus a little bit of the Celtic mysticism, I think. My second tattoo (out of the gobs I now have) is an entirely green rendition of the symbol or Cerridwen, the Celtic goddess of creativity and inspiration. She’s also known as a pretty tricky, powerful witch-woman, which is a little ironic, both for my own personality and for the characters I’ve written into this anthology story, Nuala’s Mirror.
3. What are your thoughts on working with this sort of writing exercise, fueled by prompts? How did seeing the prompts of your fellow authors and chatting online together with them about the work affect your process?
I love getting prompts like this. It’s a lot easier for me to work with prompts that have extreme specifics—mine were 1918, magic mirror, and a ship. That’s it. The possibilities are endless on that one, but it’s narrowed down a little bit because I have to incorporate all these things. It’s a lot better than getting a prompt with a super generalized theme. I think that lacks the larger spark of inspiration and how to ‘work around’ said prompt.
It was incredibly fun to watch all the other authors in this anthology discussing what they were thinking about their stories and their own prompts, about how the stories took on completely different personalities and lives of their own. I know I wasn’t the only author who ended up with a story completely different than what I’d originally planned. I’m a firm believer in a ‘writing community’. Yes, most of us write complete pieces on our own, and writing itself can be very isolated. But the simple exposure to other writers who like to discuss their work—their difficulties and successes—is a huge tool for my own motivation and inspiration with my own work.