Charles Tan Interviews Tanith Lee

Tanith Lee’s novelette “A Little of the Night” is a 2013 Shirley Jackson Awards nominee.

Charles Tan: What was the genesis of Corlan Von Antal as a character?

Tanith LeeI often don’t know, and didn’t here, where ‘my’ characters come from. He arrived, and engaged my interest at once. I think he probably carries for me some resonance of Russian and German myth and stories (Chekhov, Bunin, Goethe) and the dark deep forests and long tortured wars of 18th century Eastern Europe.

Charles Tan: What were the challenges in writing “A little of the Night (Ein Bisschen Nacht)”?

 Tanith LeeThe central idea came from my husband and partner, writer/artist John Kaiine. (He now and then offers me such wonderful wild dark fruit.) Otherwise, as frequently, the challenges were simply integral – elusive, rock-solid, untrustworthy – alluring. However, one real and un-rectifiable ‘challenge’ did occur. My beloved former electric type-writer, (I don’t do computers) a companion for 23 years, broke irreparably as I typed up the text of A Little of the Night ( I always first write long-hand). Given the tale’s main premise, I blame the story directly for this ‘death’ !

Charles Tan: What’s the appeal of the novette format for you?

 Tanith LeeLike all lengths and mediums that accompany my work, the work itself generally seems to select size and format. Retrospectively though, the novella length seems apt – brief enough to curb too much wandering room to cast shadows…

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