After the initial brain fart and memory lapse I have every time someone asks me who my favorite authors are, two of the names I always answer first are Diana Wynne Jones and Terry Pratchett. They are indelible influences on my work as a writer, as well.
“Chosen Mother” is a love letter to the both of them in addition to being a satire of the Chosen One trope so prevalent in the fantasy genre. It was initially inspired by Jones’ Tough Guide to Fantasyland; its tone and humor, meanwhile, were inspired by the comedic tones and jokes of Pratchett’s Discworld series–though I could not help but make a pale imitation, so hopefully, the humor evolved into something that was more my own while borrowing Pratchett’s joke structures.
I considered also that mothers—particularly pregnant women—are rarely ever protagonists in fiction. They’re usually killed off for shock value or for the growth and freedom of the Chosen Ones. I thought it would be fun to see how Dalena would try to steer her life while balancing a child, her own desires, and the unfair system she’s trapped in (a.k.a. the Chosen One’s Destiny). After that, I threw into the mix some Easter Eggs featuring standard fantasy tropes and cliches and biblical apocalypse references.
“Chosen Mother” was written during a time when I felt more adventurous in my writing choices. As I got older and better, sometimes I feel like I’ve traded adventurousness for intentionality. I hope to prove someday that that isn’t the case, that I can have both adventurousness and intentionality in my arsenal in equal measure.
Though it’s never been published outside of Song of the Mango and Other New Myths, “Chosen Mother” was one of my two Clarion submission stories. While I have not found the right magazine to home it, it definitely helped win me a spot in the 2014 workshop. Therefore, it’ll always be special to me.