Evie Manieri graduated from Wesleyan University with a degree in Mediaeval History and Theatre, disciplines that continue to influence her work in about equal measure. She is enthralled by intricacy, and when not weaving together the threads of her plots, she can be found knitting airy lace shawls and singing soprano with New York’s Renaissance Street Singers. Evie lives with her family in New York.
Just Hang On to that Other Shoe
I worry the most when things are going well, and for this I blame the thousands of stories I’ve stuffed into my head over the years. We all know the tropes: a tastefully nude couple in bed in broad daylight, gazing at each other while gauzy drapes blow in an ocean breeze; a schoolyard of children laughing in slow–motion; a doting father making home movies of his adorable toddler. In fantasy, you brace yourself if the story opens on a happy kingdom with a benevolent leader, a sagacious order of wizards using their powers for good, or an ostentatiously ordinary boy nestled in his family’s pastoral bosom. These are ideal moments that exist in fiction only to be shattered; they provide explosive motivation for the protagonist to get out there and do what needs doing. It’s a handy and serviceable device, but it’s not my favorite way to propel a story.
I work very hard not to live my life as if I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop. If I don’t, the next thing I know I’ve disappeared down the rabbit–hole of ‘silent killer’ diseases, home invasions and doomsday cults. In order to get out of bed in the morning, I need to remind myself that every day people face disasters and losses that in fiction would be the justification for all sorts of wild behavior, and yet in real life they continue to go to work, take care of their kids and do their laundry. That’s just what most people do. They’re magnificent that way.
Over the dangerous warrior with nothing left to lose, I’ll take the person who’s inadvertently dislodged an orange from the bottom of the pyramid at the grocery store and is trying to stuff it back in before the whole thing comes tumbling down. That’s a struggle I can really relate to – the heroic attempt to hold together something just as precious as it is precarious. This kind of story may lack the wish–fulfillment of being handed permission to chuck everything aside in pursuit of a single goal without regard for anything or anyone else, but in the end, I think it’s a lot more satisfying.
Evie’s novel, Blood’s Pride, is published by Jo Fletcher Books
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