I never much liked the color yellow. Maybe it’s because in my youth, I was sent a hideous yellow cable-knit sweater, that didn’t compliment my bosom or my skin tone. Yellow makes me look like I’m in possession of some terrible disease and should have died three years ago. Yellow and I never really got along.
And then, we kind of did. I wouldn’t wear it — that was off the table — but I could read about it and write about it. Within the universe of The King in Yellow? Which was weird and fantastic and creepy? Heck yes. “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman? I hated it when we read it in school — but I think I hated it because I understood it. None of my classmates really seemed or cared to.
When editor Joe Pulver assembled a group of women writers to create the Cassilda’s Song anthology, a collection of stories by and about women in The King in Yellow universe, the first thing that came to mind was a room that had once been papered in yellow. And what existed within that paper? And beyond that paper? Surely it was Cassilda and her world. Could the paper be a portal? Of course it could.
What terrible things happened within those yellow-papered rooms?
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that “She Will Be Raised a Queen” was also inspired by Arthur Machen’s “The White People” and “The Green Book” (both of which you can read at Project Gutenberg). Strange people in strange woods (aha, a theme in Shimmer’s January cover story as well — everything is eventually connected, time itself is a circle).
In this anthology, I was also given the opportunity to collaborate with Damien Angelica Walters, which was a distinct pleasure. We got to play with a novelette length work that traverses the world in every stage of its life. Our Cassilda is searching for something, but what? Doorways, portals, the songwriter who understands them and encourages her to break on through. The writer of the original tale. The writer who has corrupted the truth of her.
If you love The King in Yellow, I hope you’ll pick up this book. It contains a lot of brilliant authors, in addition to me and Damien (who are also brilliant, make no mistake): Nicole Cushing, Lynda E. Rucker, Helen Marshall, Mercedes M. Yardley, Chesya Burke, Ursula Pflug, Allyson Bird, Lucy A. Snyder, Anya Martin, Selena Chambers, Ann K. Schwader, Maura McHugh, Nadia Bulkin, Molly Tanzer, S.P. Miskowski.
You don’t need a mask. Come, join us.