I've been blocked for about a month and a half now; the fairy tales have dried up and I've had zero inspiration for what's going to happen in the end, or what needs to happen illustration-wise.
This should be worrying me, but weirdly it's not; it feels a bit like the universe is timing everything very carefully for me at the moment. I've been going through some personal stuff, and integrating a huge shift in energy over the last six weeks; and trusting the process as I try to do these days, I feel like perhaps there are just some things I need to learn or experience before the details of my seventh fairy tale The Sea Queen come to me in full.
What I know so far, is that The Sea Queen is a badass wife and mother (as well as underwater monarch), who has spent her life subconsciously haunted by a traumatic experience she had as a young mermaid - a mer-toddler or mer-preschooler if you like. This one looks like it could be my darkest tale so far, and most of the stories I've written have a bit of an edge. I think kids need a bit of the shadow in their literature; I can't tell you how disappointed I was recently to read a collection of Hans Christian Andersen stories and see how utterly sanitised everything has become since I was a girl.
The Little Mermaid of the noughties yearns only for a prince and marriage, sporting technicolour Disney-style flowing red hair and the obligatory shell bra; whereas in my day *coughs*... early 80s... *coughs coughs* she was a bare-breasted, line-drawn goddess whose desire for an immortal soul gave her a depth that seems to be utterly lacking in today's dumbed-down version.
I am absolutely determined that my mermaid will bewitch my readers with more than just an attractive shape and a pretty face. My mermaid is flawed, she's damaged, she'll probably behave quite badly at times as she strives to heal the wounds from her past. But she'll be real. She will love and fight and learn and grieve and rage like real women do.
And I tell you something else for damn sure, there will be no sanitised shell bras in my illustrations!
There is no force more powerful than a woman determined to rise.
My mermaid will rise.