So, where did I get the idea for “Where Coyotes Fear to Tread”?
Well, Tim Marquitz contacted me last winter, and during out back-and-forth emails, he told me he was editing Fading Light and encouraged me to submit a story. I checked out the guidelines for the anthology and silently thanked Tim for bringing it to my attention, because the premise was right up my alley. An anthology dedicated to the monstrous? The things that go bump in the night? Yeah, I’m on board.
While I figured other authors would take a more subtle approach, I couldn’t help but take a much more literal interpretation. I wanted to write a story about a monster literally rising from the darkness. The next thing I had to figure out after resolving to actually write a story was which monster?
I remembered an old Native-American legend about the Sun and a monster that was sent to kill her. That monster was named Uktena, a real unpleasant creature that could that would make the Loch Ness Monster look like a salamander. From there, I took some creative liberties and invented her offspring that would rise from the Tennessee River when the Sun disappeared. What I had to figure out next was how to make the Sun disappear.
That’s when I stumbled across the legend of how Eagle and Coyote stole the Sun and Moon and brought light to the land. It’s a great little story that has Coyote sabotage his own efforts by allowing Sun and Moon to escape after Eagle captures them. I wanted to basically write a sequel that would have new incarnations of Eagle and Coyote go looking for a new way to bring light to a darkened Earth. Enter Lester and Carla.
While brainstorming about this story, I watched the old John Carpenter film, Big Trouble in Little China, for the umpteenth time. Jack Burton is an iconic oaf of a character, and I wanted that kind of antihero to be showcased in my story, so that’s where Lester came in. But Lester’s a bit of a scoundrel and needed a foil that would appeal to his better nature. He needed a hero, which ended up being his ex-girlfriend Carla.
So I had characters and plot, but I needed a setting. I wound up choosing Tennesse, namely Knoxville, for two reasons: 1) The Tennessee River winds through the state like a snake; 2) The Sunsphere, an iconic tourist trap that fits neatly with the themes behind Fading Light.
When it comes to the finished product, I’m biased in my approval of it, but I take it as a good sign that Tim thought it good enough to include it among stories authored by some really talented authors. “Where Coyotes Fear to Tread” is a far cry from high-minded literary prose, but I like to think I spun a pretty good yarn–and God help me, I think there’s another adventure in store for Lester and Carla some time down the line.
Gef Fox is a self-professed rabid reader and wrabid writer. His tastes lean towards dark fiction, whether that be in the horror genre or elsewhere. He finds that most folks have a different definition–and an unflattering one at that–than he does when it comes to horror, so he finds the “dark fiction” tag helps keep the disdainful reactions at bay.
Currently, his published stories include:
- “Scarecrow’s Sunrise” (Shadows of the Emerald City, Northern Frights Publishing) [excerpt]
- “The Stand-Ins” (Zero Gravity, Pill Hill Press)
- “Staving off the Thaw” (Seasons in the Abyss, Blood Bound Books).
- “Where Coyotes Fear to Tread” (Fading Light, Angelic Knight Press) COMING SOON!