The new year is already upon us, and I'm happy to report that I have a new short story just published that you can read right now.
Foreshadow is a new publisher of young adult short fiction; they describe themselves as "a serial YA anthology, published digitally." What this means is that every month in 2019, you'll be able to read three new (free!) young adult short stories. They'll be written by published authors and new voices alike. I'm thrilled that my short story, "Red," leads off their first issue of the year.
"Red" is a retelling of "Little Red Riding Hood" ... sort of. When Foreshadow invited me to write a story for them, I knew immediately I wanted to do this, for a couple of reasons. First, I've been thinking about retelling "Little Red Riding Hood" for a long time. Second, Foreshadow asks writers to foreshadow their stories by choosing a one-word title that relates to some aspect of the story. When I heard this, I knew immediately that I wanted to tell a story called "Red."
The color red is particularly meaningful in Chinese culture. It's the color of life; brides traditionally wear red on their wedding day. But red has also historically been associated with communism. China has its Red Army, and, during the Cultural Revolution, it had its Red Guards. Red is also deeply symbolic in the West. It's the color of blood, of passion. Little Red Riding Hood's red hood itself has been interpreted as a symbol of the blood of menstruation and thus the loss of so-called innocence.
I knew all these things when I set out to write my story, but further research revealed that the story that we all know from the Brothers Grimm originated in a rather different story called "The Grandmother's Tale." In the Author's Note I wrote to accompany my story, I explain it this way:
In “The Grandmother’s Tale,” a young girl does indeed journey through a dark forest to her grandmother’s house, but there the stories diverge. In this version, the wolf feeds her the body of her grandmother (whom he has killed), and then he demands a strip-tease, as well as other carnal delights. But this girl doesn’t need a huntsman to save her; she escapes on her own and goes home quite unharmed.
Though I started out intending to retell “Little Red Riding Hood,” I found myself much more drawn to “The Grandmother’s Tale,” with its bizarre act of cannibalism. It was horrific, yet it felt profoundly important to me. Why did the girl eat her grandmother? “Red” is my answer to that question.
The first issue of Foreshadow also includes two more stories, which I can't wait to read! I hope you enjoy all of the stories, and be sure to check back every month to read the new ones. I think they're going to publish some really fantastic fiction this year.