I’m so honored and proud to have been selected as one of the recipients of the 2016 Barbara Deming Fund/Money for Women fiction grant.
The fund, established in 1975 by writer/activist Barbara Deming, provides small grants to feminist women in need of financial support for in-progress projects. Some past recipients have been awarded money for a new computer, childcare fees to provide the mother more writing time, travel costs for research, financial support to launch a gallery exhibit, etc.
In my case, it’s providing me the money I would otherwise have earned working freelance this summer, which ordinarily covers a month worth of my bills (mortgage, utilities, etc); the grant will instead allow me to devote that time to working on a novel draft that i began three years ago but since put aside for other projects.
It’s a pretty cool story, in fact, how this novel has come about. Several years ago, author/publisher/activist Margaret Killjoy accepted a short story of mine entitled “Reflected Light” for publication in Steampunk Magazine. That story was later chosen by Ann and Jeff Vandermeer for inclusion in an anthology they were editing, entitled STEAMPUNK, which caught the eye of UK editor/writer Scott Harrison.
Harrison was putting together a conceptual anthology for the publisher Snowbooks, entitled RESURRECTION ENGINES. His idea for the collection was a group of stories which would reinterpret classic works of 19th century literature through a steampunk/anachrotechnological paradigm. Those of us who signed on to participate were asked to choose a source work to frame our story around. I chose TREASURE ISLAND, and inspired by it, I wrote the story “Tidewrack Medusa” for Harrison’s anthology.
I had a deadline and a word count to work within, and I did hit both of those marks with my short story, but even as I was finishing it up, I thought to myself, “This really needs to be a novel. The story’s too big for 6000 words.” Shortly after I finished graduate school when I was casting about for long-form stories I wanted to tell, I began to conceptualize how I might expand it into a novel. I sketched up a structure diagram and got about a quarter of the way into a draft, when other projects pushed their way to the forefront (a rollercoaster which culminated in signing with my literary agent).
I’m so, so thrilled that the Deming Fund felt that my novel-in-progress was promising enough to put their grant support behind it, and I’m grateful for all the writers, editors, publishers, and colleagues who’ve been a part of getting me here.
And, congratulations to all my fellow 2016 recipients! Everyone else’s projects sound pretty fantastic, too.