Issue 042 Author Interview: Emily Swaim and “The Witch and the Fool”

LSQ: Wow, I started this story feeling like I knew who the witch and the fool in the title were, and ended it not at all sure. What inspired you to write “The Witch and The Fool”, and how did you come up with the title?
Emily: I’ve always loved fairy tales: they are simple in structure, but they often have a psychological resonance to them. I see them as literary ink blot tests—their meaning can shift depending on the reader, but each interpretation is valid. That’s why I wanted to try writing my own. I chose the title because I liked the ambiguity. Any one of the characters could be considered the “fool” depending on how the reader feels about love and relationships.

LSQ: This story has a feeling of elegance to its escalations in Zora’s requests of her suitor. If you had to lose one of your senses, which one would you give up?

Emily: My sense of smell is already pretty weak, so I would miss it the least. Taste would be the next to go, followed by touch and hearing. Sight would be absolutely last.

LSQ: Your portfolio shows that you’ve published fiction in very different genres. Do you have a favorite genre to write in, and why?

Emily: I prefer fantasy because I love crafting new worlds. To be honest, it is incredibly difficult for me to write stories set in the real world. Every time I try, a little bit of magic slips in.

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