Today is the day! It’s been six months since Timeworn opened and Issue One is finally out in the world! We hope that this little book reaches the masses and that the stories are loved, because these writers are all brilliant and deserve unending adoration, if we do say so ourselves.
But before we get into that, here is a bit about how this all started.
Courtney and I met a few years ago in a writing group. She was steeped in the final drafts of her first major historical novel and I was writing wild, absurd speculative fiction. Since then, we’ve gone through multiple novels together, endless rounds of beta reading and critique. We’ve waded through TBR piles that feel like they are still miles long. We've worked so closely since those early days, that somewhere along the line, the two genres began to merge in our collective subconscious.
Without even trying, we started finding all of these marvelous authors we both loved who were combining aspects of the historical with the speculative to create incredible, gorgeous books—Heather O'Neill's Lonely Hearts Hotel and Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus, just to name a couple. If felt like they were springing out of the universe toward us with covers shouting, read me. Read me now.
The idea of "historical fiction from the fringe" grew, leading us to find even more stories that felt historically cemented—tales with a spark, a distinct glimmer of fantasy. And we came into this insisting that the stories we select must be global and inclusive. We will continue to keep this at the forefront of our minds with every single step in Timeworn’s journey.
In each of these stories, characters are coping with some degree of oppression, of absurdity, either internal or external and the magic serves as a way out, a release from that omnipresent holdfast:
In Chasing Dark by Ranajabali Chaudhuri, the magic of her own imagination helps a child bride in Victorian Kolkata learn to cope with isolation from the larger world.
In Slip Stitch by Kat Weaver, magic quite literally helps a young woman in France to keep herself functioning in the world despite crippling mental illness.
In Battlefield by Jason J. McCuiston, out of the aftermath of WWI’s Bloody Somme, a monster is borne of the needless death and destruction—a monster that wants nothing more than to be heard.
Hannah Onoguwe’s Where the Palm Nut Grows brings us Nigerian sea beasts reminiscent of mermaids which defend the indigenous from colonial invaders, who think nothing of the people they are devastating as they extract wealth.
And, finally, Kate Heartfield’s A Cut-Purse Rethinks his Ways and Rebecca Bennett’s Love, by Alexander Graham Bell both celebrate love that overcomes the oppression of their time, to hell with what society may (or might still) think.
We were overjoyed by the response to our first call and received over 450 submissions. We read so many excellent stories; it was almost impossible to narrow the list down to what would fit in our slim saddle-stitched issue. These six stories have the spark we were looking for from the beginning. They each made the world around us melt away as the story carried us on. And we hope this first issue will do just that for you.
So, cheers to Issue One! And for the many, many more to come.
Thank you all for your love and support.
Casey & Courtney