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Interview: Marissa Lingen on “Ten Stamps Viewed Under Water”

– Tell us a bit about “Ten Stamps Viewed Under Water.”

I wrote it while I was in a lake house alone with my in-laws for a long weekend. There were nine of us, not two, and everyone was quite cheerful and having a good time, but I think the “it’s just us and the snow outside” experience probably had a subconscious effect on me!

– What was the inspiration for this story, or what prompted you to write it?

I had the title first. I honestly don’t even remember how I got the title. And then I thought about the sorts of stamps you see, how they would translate to a fantasy setting, and it became a very stressed out fantasy setting very quickly, because what would be interesting about the stamps of a fantasy setting that is utterly peaceful and running smoothly? And really, the head of a queen: that’s a little alarming when you take it out of context. I think honestly it was Queen Elizabeth II’s head that really had me off and running. (Obviously it is not QE2 in the story.)

– Was this story personal to you in any way? If so, how?

My grandfather was a stamp collector, and my grandfather-in-law still is one. So my associations with the hinges and the tweezers and the little dishes of water soaking stamps off envelopes and all the paraphernalia of stamp collecting are all very positive–much more positive than this story would indicate!

– What are you working on now?

Oh gosh. Lots of stuff. Right at the moment, I am obsessed with fungus, so that’s going in a lot of different directions. Some of them apocalyptic, some of them therapeutic…lots of mycological science fiction, is I guess what I’m saying here.

“Ten Stamps Viewed Under Water” appears in the September/October 2015 issue of F&SF, which can be purchased here:

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One Response to “Interview: Marissa Lingen on “Ten Stamps Viewed Under Water””

  1. Back from Starry Coast | Novel Gazing Redux on September 30th, 2015

    […] didn’t catch up on things like posting the link to the interview F&SF did about my story, and then tonight I saw a best stories of the year so far link on IO9 mentioning that very same […]

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