Q&A With Kate Seger
Q1) Tell us about your book
My book Tria Ellinka is a collection of three Greek Myth retellings, told from female perspectives. It includes Echo and Narcissus, Scylla’s origin story, and Psyche and Eros. They’re all told in first-person perspective as if the goddesses themselves are telling their own stories.
Q2) Why did you focus on myths/legends from that particular region?
As an Art History minor in college, I’ve always been particularly interested in all things Greek, from the Gods and Goddesses to art and architecture. This really came in handy when working on these stories, as I had a lot of knowledge going into it.
Q3) Who is your favorite mythical figure?
Persephone. I find the reality that she represents fascinating and relevant.
Q4) If you could choose to hang out with one mythical God, who would it be and why?
Q5) Do you plan on writing similar books in the future?
I have begun working on a new story focused on Artemis and plan to write a few more and rapidly release them in late 2022.
I am of the Asrais. We dwell in the salty seas and wind-swept lakes, the swift-moving rapids, and stagnant ponds. There are others like us, each with their own name; Sylphs who call the forests home, Will-o-Wisps who wander the fens, shadowy Unseelie Goblins, and Sidhé who sparkle with all the light of the stars.
We are the Others. The Outsiders. The last vestiges of Avalon. Once, we were called the Fair Folk. Then we were forgotten. And in forgetting, the mortals left the door open for us to return.
I have heard the call of The Morrigan. Her voice rises with the tide, and whispers, tonight, my sweetlings. Tonight, we sow the seeds that will remind them why they once spat and touched iron when they spoke of us.
Smoke rises from the chimneys of houses cloaked by woodlands. The air is chill, winter threatening to turn autumn aside. A full moon hangs fat and low, bloated and wavering behind a veil of clouds.
We must, each of us, claim a Changeling on this eve, and in their place leave one of our own, so they may grow strong on Mortal milk and sink their teeth into the teats of this world, reclaiming it for our people. We tire of being the Outsiders. We long to reign again. We have not forgotten this world. Tonight, as the mists that shroud Avalon recede, we will set the plan in motion. A new Fae Court will be forged by the babes we leave behind.
I carry my child in my arms as I rise from the deep. Her feet, like mine, are webbed. Translucent membranes stretch between her tiny toes. A shock of hair, muddy brown and green like kelp, stringy as swamp grass, crowns her head. Her eyes, mottled blue and gray sea glass, gaze up at me. Sentient. Knowing. She understands the plan. She is a babe, but she is not a fool. Faery children are born wise.
I close my eyes and raise a clawed hand, murmuring in the Old Tongue, caressing the soft skin of her body. The air around her shimmers. When I open my eyes, it is done. The glamour has taken. She is pale and small with fragile bones, different from the pudgy babies nurtured since birth by Mortal mothers. Her hair is colorless as a reed, but her eyes remain unchanged.
"You will have a good life," I whisper. "I will choose your caretaker wisely. And one day, I will return for you when this world is again ruled by the Fae."
My child cocks her head at me as if in agreement. She trusts that this is right, as I do. We are guided by the wisdom of The Morrigan.
The waters grow shallow, lapping at my slender thighs as I move towards the shore. My skin prickles with goosebumps, exposed to the kiss of the cold wind. Silt sucks at my webbed feet, slimy beneath them.
I crouch when I reach the beach, holding my babe close to me, eyes darting to the tree line. When I am sure I'm not being watched, I slink across the beach. Sand sticks to my dampness, sloughing off layers of flesh. I was not built for dry land. If I remain on the surface too long, it will be my end. Should the sun rise on me, I will dissolve, leaving only a shimmering puddle behind.
But not my daughter. She will be protected by my glamour and her new mother's milk. The babes are best suited for the task of reclaiming this world. They are not yet Outsiders. They can still be molded to survive. Five hundred years I have dwelt in Avalon. I am well past my prime, too old to adapt.
I follow the scent of wood smoke. I have watched the mortal women on this beach, woven hats set upon their brows, gazes following their wee ones as they laugh and frolic. I know many could serve as surrogates. I need only find one.
I hang back in the safety of the trees when the first cabin comes into view. It is small and lists to one side like it is groaning beneath the weight of its roof. Moss scales the exterior walls, and refuse is scattered about an overgrown yard. Lights burn in the windows, and the sound of voices filters out. A woman shouts. Her voice is grating, her words coarse. I hear a clatter of pots and pans crashing and immediately think, iron. I pull my daughter tighter to my breast, glancing down at her. She meets my gaze with a shake of her head. She is right. This is no home for my precious daughter.
A path leads away from the hovel. I follow it, keeping to the shadows of the forest. Brambles catch on my flesh, rending it, embedding it with burrs. Blue blood weeps from the gashes. But I press on.
Eventually, the path widens into a proper road, packed earth turning to concrete. A cluster of dwellings comes into view up ahead. Whitewashed wooden houses built two stories high. A neatly tended garden full of bright red tomatoes, fragrant with basil and thyme, draws me, but peering through the darkened windows, I see only an old hag, well past her birthing years, slumbering inside. I curse my bad luck and move on to the next, tracking the moon's progress across the night sky. I haven't as much time as I'd like, and my child weighs heavily in my arms.
I creep towards the next home on the street. My eyes light on three pairs of sand-covered shoes; two large, one tiny, neatly lined up beside the steps of an enclosed wraparound porch. There are no lights within, but a dim effusion comes from one window in the rear.
I prowl closer, keeping to the shadows. Peering inside the lit window, I see a tidy room with pale pink walls. A heart-shaped nightlight glows faintly, and a wicker cradle sits at its center. Overhead, a mobile of forest creatures turns slowly. Inside the cradle lays a slumbering babe. Her little fingers are curled in a fist and pressed against her lips, her chest rising slowly and steadily.
She is not an exact likeness of my child, but the coloring is close, and it does really matter. The Mortals no longer believe in the Fae. Changelings are the stuff of myth and legend to them now. No one will believe the mother if she claims the babe has been switched.
I try the window and, what luck! It slides open at my touch. It is no easy task to climb through it without dropping my daughter, but I manage. I hold my child at arm's length, admiring the fine work of my glamour. She almost looks Mortal when she brings her fist to her lips and closes her eyes, mimicking the child in the cradle.
I smile down at her. She will do fine, this daughter of mine.
Already she is learning.
A baby's cry pierces the silence, desperate and mournful. The woman enters the nursery and shivers, frowning at the open window and cursing her own carelessness. She is sure she closed it earlier, but the stiff autumn breeze suggests otherwise. She slams it shut, oblivious to the inhuman eyes watching her.
Then she crosses the room, cooing softly as she lifts the baby from the cradle. The child is cold. So cold that even through the swaddling, the woman feels the chill leaching from it.
"My poor sweet thing," she croons. "I'm so sorry."
She pulls her robe aside and brings the baby to her breast. Its little mouth latches, sucking with such force that the woman recoils in pain. She hisses, rubbing her nipple.
"Mary!" she exclaims, thrusting her daughter away from her. The baby blinks up with sea glass eyes, its face angular where once it had been soft.
The mother frowns, confused. She removes the swaddling, inspecting this alien child she has found in her daughter's cradle. All skin and bones, a scrawny wisp of a thing.
"This is not my baby." The woman's voice begins as a whisper, then rises in a crescendo as she screams, "this is not my baby!"
She rushes to the window. For an instant, she could swear she sees a pair of alien blue-gray eyes peering back at her, but when she blinks, they are gone.
The baby in her arms does not blink. It just screams, demanding more mother's milk.
Kate's writings interweave fantasy and mythology into unique, romantic tapestries. An introvert, dog mom, and whiskey connoisseur, when she's not searching for fairy circles in hopes of being transported to an enchanted kingdom, Kate is immersed in the chaos of her writing process.
She lives with her husband and her rescue dog Gracie on the banks of the Hudson in Westchester County, NY, where, alas, she has found few portals to magical Realms.
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About the Author:
S. K. Gregory is an author, editor and blogger. She currently resides in Northern Ireland.
“Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s.”