J. Marie Ravenshaw is the author of The Silver Comb in Twisted Realities: Of Myth and Monstrosity. We wanted to know the inspiration behind her story, so we decided to ask her; this is what she told us -
My Inspiration for The Silver Comb
Many of the stories I write are born of a challenge. Whether that challenge be a prompt, or someone outright saying, “I bet you could …” or “I bet you couldn’t …” The challenge can even come from within; a direct challenge from myself. That’s just how I write. When a friend directed me to Sirens Call, and more specifically, the prompt for this anthology, the first thing that popped into my mind was actually the Unseelie Sidhe. Of course, I thought faeries could be terrifying … my friend, well, not so much.
I listened to his reasoning, and he definitely made a good point. It helps that this particular friend knows my writing style quite well. “Well if you’re gonna write about faeries …” then he brought up the Bean Sidhe. I ‘googled’ her, and was intrigued. I knew I could definitely write about her …
I’d always been interested in creatures of myth, but for this, I wanted to write about a creature I hadn’t written about before … the Banshee. I mean, how could I go wrong writing about a banshee? What’s scarier than a fairy woman who begins to wail if someone is about to die? She’s an omen of death; a messenger from the otherworld.
I’d seen movies about Banshees, and read stories about them. I did a little research and stumbled upon the myth about banshees and ‘The Silver Comb.’ After reading about it, I knew exactly what I was going to write. Now, it was time to visualize my monster. I read that a banshee could appear in many different guises. Most often, she appears as an ugly, frightening hag, but she can also appear as a stunningly beautiful woman of any age that suits her. Oh, I was going to have fun with this one!
I sat back and closed my eyes trying to get a bead on her. I wanted both images, the hag and the terrible beauty, to be burned into my readers’ retinas; she needed to be unforgettable. I was listening to Nox Arcana when her likeness flashed into my mind’s eye; she was terrifying. I struggled for a while with how I would get that vision onto paper. Could I effectively show my reader my terrifying vision? Would they be able to see what I saw? I can only hope that I did her justice. I’ll let you be the judge of that.
That banshee haunted my dreams until the very last sentence of the story was written. Then, POOF! She was gone.
So, there ya go. That is what inspired me to write, ‘The Silver Comb.’ I’ll be leaving you now … and please, remember, if you ever see a silver comb lying on the ground, do NOT pick it up!
Explore the twelve tales of horror and intrigue in Twisted Realities: Of Myth and Monstrosity and ask yourself, what would you consider a fair price to pay for life immortal… or the chance of life at all?
Would a young woman pass up a shiny bauble if she believed it to be nothing more than a harmless trinket? What transpires once a year in a peaceful and remote village that no one will ever speak of? What better way for a broken man to honor a crippled existence than with a memorial of blood and vengeance? How could a disfigured woman ever dream of chancing across an object that would restore her beauty – and at what cost?
Follow the twists and turns of each writer as they delve into the legends of days gone by, as well as the consequences that are wrought when myths and monstrosities collide with our world.
Contributing Authors include:
Thomas James Brown, Nina D’Arcangela, K. Trap Jones, Amber Keller, Lisamarie Lamb, Edward Lorn, Alexa Muir, Kate Monroe, Joseph A. Pinto, J. Marie Ravenshaw, Julianne Snow, and Jonathan Templar
Twisted Realities: Of Myth and Monstrosity is available in print and digital forms from these fine retailers:
The Silver Comb is an engaged re-imagining of the classic Banshee myth – with a twist! Read on for a longer look at J. Marie’s contribution to Twisted Realities: Of Myth and Monstrosity -
Aisling Grey maneuvered her car into the hidden driveway of the house she rented along with her best friend, Shayna O’Neill, and Shayna’s long-time boyfriend, Callum Connor. It was hard to see the entrance at night. As she turned the corner, she could just barely see the house through the trees. The porch lights were off.
They lived on two and a half acres in a little rental house nestled right in the midst of a thick wood. She knew that as soon as the headlights were off, she’d be plunged into darkness. She rolled her eyes and muttered, “God, you’d think they’d at least flip the fricken’ light on for me …”
Aisling pulled up close to the garage – knowing that both stalls would be in use – and turned off the car. She grabbed the groceries and her purse. Deciding to leave her books in the car -she didn’t need to crack them until Sunday anyway- she slid out and slammed the door behind her.
Aisling glanced toward the front door, mapping out the path she would take in the utter darkness. Out of the corner of her eye she saw a shadow flit by at the edge of the woods. She stopped dead in her tracks and turned toward the area. Narrowing her eyes, she yelled, “Who’s there?” No answer. Chills ran up her spine, making her shiver in response.
A thought crossed her mind, making her smile and immediately staving off her fear. She yelled again. “Cal? You messin’ with me again? ‘Cause if you are …” She shook her head and continued toward the front door.
As she stepped onto the bottom step, the porch light came on, illuminating the front yard and temporarily blinding her. She raised her arm to shield her face from the bright light. Her eyes widened as the front door opened to reveal Cal’s grinning face. “Hey! Aisling! What’re you bellowin’ about? You gonna stand out ‘ere all night? Spaghetti’s almost done!”
“Jesus, Cal! You gotta yell when I’m standing right here?”
Cal looked down toward her. “Sorry, didn’t see you there. The wine must be gettin’ to me.” He pushed his fingers through his raven hair, making it stand on end. “We’re on the third bottle already. You’re gonna be playin’ catch up.” He dropped his hand to his side, smiled, and held the door open for her.
She passed the groceries to him and set her purse and keys on the entryway table as she walked toward the kitchen. Shayna leaned around the corner with a bottle of red wine in her hand. She swished it back and forth. “You wanna glass? Or shall we pass the bottle about?”
Aisling wrapped her fingers around the neck of the bottle, snatching it from Shayna’s hands. “I think this one’s mine.” She brought the bottle to her lips, a mischievous smirk gracing her mouth as she tipped the bottle up and took a couple of healthy swigs. A thin trail of the red liquid ran down her chin as she lowered the bottle. She wiped her mouth with her shirt sleeve, shrugged, and said, “It’s only fair, right?”
Interested in learning more about J. Marie? Check out her blog.