“If the Shoe Fits” is in Innocence and Deceit, the second volume in the Ever After Fairy Tales anthology series.
Enter the magical, unpredictable, wonderful world of fairy tales!
Meet Dayle A. Dermatis!
Hi, I’m Dayle. I write stuff. I write in almost every genre, and I’m happiest when I’m mashing a few of them together in the same story or novel. I’ve had more than a hundred short stories published, most recently in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine and Fiction River: Summer Sizzles. Since I’m apparently not busy enough, I’ve been trying my hand at editing. Fiction River: Doorways to Enchantment comes out soon, and I’m working on another volume of Fiction River as well as a charity anthology.
As Andrea Dale, I write erotica and erotic stuff. Sometimes mashed together with other genres. Want a lesbian erotic romance with a ghost? A shapeshifting cat/woman? How about a steamy rock star? If so, I’m your girl.
I live in the lush Pacific Northwest in a historic English-style cottage filled with Pre-Raphaelite paintings, a husband, a lodger, and the usual cats, books, etc.
“If the Shoe Fits”
Is Prince Charming really interested in Cinderella…or was it her shoes that captured his attention?
When I heard the royal family would be holding a ball to find suitable wife material for the prince and heir, my mind went into overdrive.
But not in the way anyone would expect.
I didn’t have specific information about how a royal household was run; I didn’t know the number and skill sets of the servants, or even how many people would be invited to this shindig. But within ten minutes I had a pretty good sense of how much it would cost per person, even factoring in peacock meat (which seemed like a waste to me, what with chickens being that much cheaper per pound, but I also understood the art of entertaining sometimes meant being flashy to impress certain guests).
Not, mind you, that it was any of my business. Party planning wasn’t really where I wanted to end up, but I loved the idea of it. Just the way my brain works: a challenge, a puzzle. I can put together a fundraising dinner and auction for fifty people without breaking a sweat. The concept of overseeing a royal ball made me go squee (on the inside).
Actually going to the ball? Meh. Marrying royalty didn’t interest me in the least, and besides, I had finals coming up.
My aunt, Sheila, thought differently.
—from “If the Shoe Fits” by Dayle A. Dermatis
What inspired you to write “If the Shoe Fits?”
I was at an anthology workshop on the Oregon Coast, where we had to write a story in 24 hours while also being in the workshop for 8 hours. The theme was The Trouble With Heroes, with the idea that fairy-tale heroes are all well and good when they’re out rescuing princesses, etc., but they must be less than optimal once you’ve settled down with them—in part because they’re probably always running off to do heroic things. I started off with the idea of a modern Cinderella who wasn’t interested in the prince, and off the story went. (It first appeared in The Trouble With Heroes from DAW Books in 2009.)
What do you enjoy about incorporating fairy tale elements in your own writing?
I’ve always loved fairy stories and fairy tales. I’m pretty sure I worked my way through all the Lang fairy tale books, including ecru and puce and goose-turd green. Additionally, I love urban fantasy, where the veil between our world and Faerie is thin. But most of all, I really like riffing off fairy tales and exploring the truths behind them while often updating them or turning them on their heads. (And as Andrea Dale, I’ve written quite a few erotica stories inspired by fairy tales!)
Is there a fairy tale that you really enjoy, or which has stuck with you? If so, which one—and what do you find compelling about this particular story?
I think all of the classics are compelling, but my favorite from the time I was young was Beauty and the Beast. For one thing, she was a brunette, as am I (well, I’m a purpled brunette)—all the other princesses were blond. Also, she loved to read books, which really spoke to me. And she wasn’t a princess to begin with, which made her more relatable.
Many fairy tales were to teach young women about men, whom they would eventually marry, but who seemed foreign and beastly. In The Princess and the Frog, the princess turned the frog (i.e., beast) into a man with a kiss. But she was a horrible, whiny, bratty, animal abusing liar. Belle, on the other hand, was gentle and kind even as she was brave enough to stand up to the beast. She “changed” him because she was caring, not because she was cruel.
FYI, this year I’ll be releasing a YA novel called Beautiful Beast, which is a modern lesbian romance inspired by Beauty and the Beast. Look for it in a few months!
You’ve written a few short stories about Nikki Ashburne, a former party girl who develops the ability to see ghosts, and are now writing a series of novels featuring Nikki. How did you come up with the idea for these stories?
About 20 years ago, I moved to Wales for four years. When I returned to Southern California, I was confused by all these new “celebrities” who didn’t seem to do anything. I would ask people, “Who’s Jessica Simpson exactly?” They’d say, “Well, she was on this show…” “So she’s an actress?” “Well, no, not really…”
Nikki ended up being an amalgam of many celebrity party girls, and she’s now navigating not being famous anymore. Unlike the cliché, she’s smart and also very snarky—I love writing in her voice! She makes me laugh out loud.
Also, I love ghost stories. Anyway, all of these things crashed together in my weird brain, and the rest is history.
The first novel in the series, Ghosted, is currently available. Shaded will be out later this year, followed at some point by Spectered and a collection of short stories.
You’ve recently met some otters! Tell us about this awesome experience!
Otters! Oh, I love me some otters. Whenever I go somewhere where there are otters, I have to be dragged away urs with meerkats, and one Valentine’s Day he surprised me with an in-water dolphin experience, so there’s a trend.)
The otters (Asian river otters, my absolute favorites) were freaking adorable! It was all I could do not to squee nonstop (I did cry a little). One of them accidentally bit me—she liked grabbing the hem of jeans and pulling, and she saw my t-shirt sleeve as a similar piece of fabric. She just grazed me, and I have a fading scar on my upper arm in the shape of a smile. I was really, really hoping it meant I’d gain otter superpowers or become a were-otter, but so far, nada. (Dammit, I forgot the radiation!)
The best part was when one of the otters fell asleep, belly up, in my lap. I realized river otters are basically aquatic cats who like having their bellies rubbed.
Sadly, I was unable to smuggle the otter out of the petting zoo, in case anyone was wondering.
What’s your favorite Styx song? 🙂
Depends on the day. Sometimes it depends on the hour. I’ve seen them live 150 times and during a concert, it’s the song they’re currently performing.
“One With Everything” is pretty high up there, though. And their new album, The Mission (a concept album about a mission to Mars), is amazing.
Tell us about your cats!
How much time do you have? Really, I could talk about them for days.
We have four at present. Goose is our eldercat, and was bottle-raised by his former guardian, so he still thinks he’s a kitten. I had to get a baby sling for him because he insists on being held, and I can’t hold him and type. Clara is deaf and mostly toothless, small, and sweet. Because she can’t hear, she screams. As in, she wakes up and wants to ask the household where everybody is. Hamish is an enormous orange cat with a tiny peep of a meow and cauliflower ears. He loooooves having his belly rubbed. Walk into the room and exclaim “Hamish!” and he’ll roll over and start purring before you even touch him. Bonny Lass is our beautiful grey girl. She mostly trills. She’s the only non-lap cat, but she likes to be close by and get lots of pets.
What story (or stories) are you working on now, and what’s fun about what you’re writing?
I’m at a week long writing retreat as I type this, where I plan to write a long-overdue short story, finish Beautiful Beast, and ideally (fingers crossed) finish Shaded. Then I’m a-gonna start Spectered, unless something else gets in the way. Oh, and I have a story due for the next Mercedes Lackey Valdemar anthology due soon. Eep!
Hailed as “one of the best writers working today” by bestselling author Dean Wesley Smith, Dayle A. Dermatis is the author or coauthor of many novels and more than a hundred short stories in multiple genres, including urban fantasy novel Ghosted. She is the mastermind behind the Uncollected Anthology project, and her short fiction has been lauded in year’s best anthologies in erotica, mystery, and horror.
She lives in a book- and cat-filled historic English-style cottage in the wild greenscapes of the Pacific Northwest. In her spare time she follows Styx around the country and travels the world, which inspires her writing.