As any writer, I loathe labels. Sure, it makes it easier to homogenize what you are doing, and gives you a buzz word to sell the work but jeepers, it seems so limiting to just say ‘oh, it’s a ______’. Nothing is every that cut and dried. Mysteries have an element of terror to them, romances have tragedy, and horror often features romance. It’s all so confusing to my poor brain. Alas, the world is the way it is so, for lack of a better term, The Meep Sheep is a fairy tale. Series of fairy tales. Whatever. But why?
I have a hard time classifying what I write, probably because I am too invested in it all and am too close to it. Again though, for lack of a better term, I generally write ‘dark fiction’, which is to say fiction that is a close neighbor to horror but not necessarily. I love scary stories, and love horror but the stories I want to tell are not always set in that world and, well, you tell the stories you have to tell. I feel as if I can show more of the world and say more in that sub-genre. When the first ideas came to me regarding Meep Sheep and Bumble Kitties and stories that might be about the two it was my childhood that called more strongly than my teen years where I discovered a taste for the macabre. These were creatures from a world where magic still existed and where fairy tales were real. I loved both creatures because I wanted them. So for a long time I thought about the flying sheepies and kitties and the slowly but surely the stories formed. And as they formed, what they were became more clear to me. The stories became clearer and as they did I started to put them down. Little did I know at the time that I was writing a fairy tale that would lead to several. You see, I wanted to write the story of the Meep SHeep, whatever it was.
I guess what I am slowly getting at is that these were not written as fairy tales but just simply were fairy tales. There’s where the magic of writing comes in – when you can let yourself go and just let the story take you where it will. It is natural, really, when I look back at it because these were flying sheep and flying kitties after all. There are few genres that they fit in easily, and where they’d make sense. I have always loved fairy tales, and that these stories fit into that niche seems, well, perfect. There is a pervasive darkness to fairy tales but within that darkness there is ever the glimmer of hope, no matter how distant it is. And that’s what drew me, as the stories beyond Messy and the Meep Sheep came together. I wanted to tell the story of a land that was scared to death of the dark (figuratively and literally), a place that had known a lot of such things but had found a way back into the light again. I wanted to tell the story of people searching for themselves and for their dreams. People who wanted to find peace within. I wanted to tell the story of a dark soul that was old (my version of the wicked witch, I suppose) beyond belief and who wanted nothing more than to herald in an age of chaos. And in the end, I wanted to tell a story that reminded me of the stories that inspired and scared me as a kid. I wanted to try to catch that magic in a bottle. Now, there are twists to it all, there are nods to my own writing interests but, at its heart, The Meep Sheep is a fairy tale.
Why do I love fairy tales? Because they are the pre-cursors to horror stories. I love them because they are a link to our childhood where there really were monsters in closets and under beds; and a world where any and every dream was possible. Plausible. This book is my gift to the world, for what it’s worth, and to the child in all of us. There is plenty for adults, trust me there, but there is a gentleness here, and in the air there is the faint scent of Spring flowers and the ground feels of soft grass. And if you look real hard, you might see a flying sheep flitting through the clouds.