Until about a decade ago, I wrote non-fiction. Then, in an effort to improve my narrative non-fiction skills, I enrolled in several fiction workshops. The hook sunk deep, and the next year I wrote and revised a novel.
Diving into the deep end, so to speak, was a great learning experience, even though that novel is not publishable. During this time, I also discovered the satisfaction of writing short stories. Those first attempts taught me how much I had to learn on the craft side and how different writing fiction is from writing non-fiction. For quite a while I focused on the basics, taking craft courses and then completing two writing programs at Simon Fraser University, including the Writer’s Studio (TWS) in 2015 under the mentorship of Hiromi Goto.
The year after I graduated from TWS I began looking for additional workshopping experiences. I’d learned to appreciate the benefits of working with a peer group: brainstorming, critiquing, and creating together. My first workshop with Carina was inspiring and resulted in about ten story drafts and several new writing friends. I loved the concept of pairing social/science issues with fairy tales and myths and immediately signed up for another session.
Ever since I’ve been taking Storied Imaginarium workshops on a regular basis. Five students generate stories using the same source material as inspiration but the result for each participant is always entirely unique.
The Storied Imaginarium community is inclusive, supportive, and motivating. Several of my published stories were either written in one of the workshops or inspired by what I’d learned. I am particularly proud of “Beneath Her Skin” which was chosen in a blind submission process for the anthology Twisted Book of Shadows. The anthology went on to win a Shirley Jackson Award (2019) and was nominated for a Bram Stoker the same year.
My latest story to be published, “Winter’s Flower” (Pulp Literature, Issue 29, Winter 2021), is a reimagining of Hans Christian Andersen‘s “The Snow Queen“. I wondered why Gerda would leave the witch’s home and garden just to find a boy who had taken off? I set the story amidst the impact of an expanding polar vortex brought on by climate change.
In “Winter’s Flower”, I also explored a theme I revisit often, societal perceptions of older women
I believe that no matter the genre, resonant stories reflect both universal human experiences and needs, as well as the important issues of the times in which they are written. Myth and folktales and fairy tales, all speak to the broader human condition, and mining current science and social issues add modern relevance.
~ KT Wagner
Author Bio: Surrounded by gnomes, gargoyles, and poisonous plants, KT Wagner writes Gothic horror and op/ed pieces in the garden of her British Columbia home, regardless of the weather. She enjoys day-dreaming and is a collector of strange plants, weird trivia, and obscure tomes. KT organizes writer events and works to create literary community though much of this has been temporarily derailed by the pandemic. A number of her short stories are published in magazines and anthologies. She’s currently working on a novel.
Author Website: https://northernlightsgothic.com/
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/KT-Wagner/e/B009PPZ9HU/