I could hardly believe my luck, when, after informing my editor that I was going to attend the 25th World Fantasy Convention (to be held in Providence, RI, November 1999), I was asked, “How would you like to interview Terri Windling?” Well, once I got over the shock, and made sure I wasn’t just dreaming this, I leapt at the opportunity whole-heartedly. Admittedly, I’d never interviewed anyone before, and up until that very moment, I’d never even contemplated such a thing. So it took me all of five seconds to reply with an astounding affirmative. Then I went off to do my homework.
Terri Windling, for those of you who don’t know, is a prominent artist, author, and editor in the fantasy/folklore field. She’s best known for her work editing The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror series with Ellen Datlow, the Fairy Tale series of novel-length retellings of old stories, the Borderland series, the Snow White, Blood Red series (also with Ellen Datlow), and The Armless Maiden and Other Tales for Childhood’s Survivors. She also writes a monthly column, Folkroots, for Realms of Fantasy magazine. Add to that a career as an artist/painter, and you end up with a very busy, very well-respected person.
During her time as an editor with Ace Books, she helped to bring the “urban fantasy” genre into prominence, working with authors such as Charles de Lint, Midori Snyder, Emma Bull, Pamela Dean, Will Shetterly, Ellen Kushner, Steven Brust and Patricia Wrede. As an author, she’s known for The Wood Wife, and for the recently released children’s books A Midsummer Night’s Faery Tale, with art by Wendy Froud, and The Raven Queen with Ellen Steiber. As a result, she’s made quite a mark on the fantasy field, and has won five World Fantasy Awards.
Because of this, by the time I was actually at the convention, and the reality of the interview had set in, I was more than a little intimidated by my mental image of Ms. Windling. Whatever I was expecting, it couldn’t prepare me for the truth.
Obviously, I managed to overcome my intimidation, and make contact, since the interview follows my introduction. But let me share some impressions taken during the initial contact and my later run-ins with her at the Coyote and Other Tricksters panel, in the dealers’ room, and in the hotel bar after the Awards Banquet.
Terri Windling is not a nigh-omniscient goddess of folklore. She’s a human being, just like the rest of us (will the phouka in the back stop snickering?). She seemed to be quiet in public, and reserved, at least until she’s taken stock of the situation. Obviously, she’s going to have her shields up at a convention, just out of sanity and self-defense. Terri isn’t stand-offish, by any means, but she’s obviously getting a feel for the situation. When she was on panels, she’d sit back and let the others talk, and then chime in with important information when the occasion warranted. Otherwise, unless addressed directly, she didn’t seem to take the lead. Around those she knows and likes, she opens up, and it’s downright fascinating to watch her when she’s talking about subjects she likes, or feels strongly about.
Once we started talking, and I lost some (not all, mind you!) of my awe, I found that I’d learned a lot just by listening. I genuinely had a good time talking with Ms. Windling, and I’m glad I had the chance to meet her. Maybe one of these days, I’ll be able to talk with her again, under less stressful circumstances. I’ll even buy the drinks.
And now, our feature presentation, an interview with Terri Windling at the 25th World Fantasy Convention, Sunday, November 8th, 1999.
I’ve been reading some of the other interviews you’ve done, especially the one on the Endicott Studio Web site. It was a very thorough interview, and I learned quite a lot from it.
It was frighteningly thorough! Henry [MacDonald] was a bit formidable that way.
I could see that. He was dredging up things even you’d forgotten about.
He’s an academic, by training, and that’s how he approaches things.
I’m afraid my knowledge isn’t quite that thorough. But it -is- amazing how many books your name appears on when I look through my library.
Well, I’ve been doing this for twenty years….
[Now that the ice has been broken, so to speak] So, would you say you identify yourself as a storyteller, above all? Not really an editor, or an author, but a storyteller?
Yes. Absolutely. That’s the thread that runs through all of my work: editing, writing, even painting — all of my paintings are about stories and language. Storytelling always comes first. And in particular, I’m a storyteller working with folkloric and mythic materials.
You do seem to have almost the definitive views for folklore and fairy tales. Well, not quite definitive, but everyone does appear to know your name in connection with them.
Well, again, that’s just because I’ve been doing this for twenty years. There are certainly people who know a lot more about folklore than I do. Marina Warner, Jack Zipes, Joseph Campbell — the great folklorists of our times. I’m more of a popularizer in a way; I think of myself as Marina Warner Lite. If there really was such as thing as reincarnation, and I could come back as anyone, it would be as a Marina-Warner-type scholar. But there’s a role for popularizers, too….
Especially these days. It seems as though it’s becoming more and more widespread, and popular just in general.
There are a number of us who are working in popular culture who have been spending many years trying to make that happen. It’s not just the zeitgeist — or rather, it’s partly the zeitgeist, partly that folklore and mythic themes tend to resurface … someone this weekend was describing it like the ocean, where themes come into culture, like the waves, and then out again, in cycles … but it’s also that for the past twenty years, there have been a number of us working very, very hard to bring myth and fairy tales into public consciousness, through fantasy literature and other media. I hope we’re succeeding in some small way.
You seem to be. Is there any particular culture that you find easiest to access? Any one tradition?
When I was younger, I was in love with everything about the British Isles, from British folklore to Celtic music. That was always where my passions were as a young girl, and so I studied folklore as a college student in England and Ireland. In more recent years, I’ve become more and more fascinated with the indigenous folklore of this land, Native American folklore, and also Hispanic folklore now that I live in the Southwest. I’d had no particular interest in the Southwest at all as a young girl, and I was completely surprised that the desert stole my heart to the extent it did. Which is why, right now, I divide my time between homes in Arizona and England, six months a year in each place.
I can’t imagine being able to bounce back and forth like that. I tend to stick to one place.
I’ve always been a bit nomadic. Even when I was an editor in New York, I maintained a place in Boston, and when I moved up to Boston after that, I maintained a place in New York. I’ve often lived in two places at once, so it comes naturally to me. [laugh] But doing it in two different countries is unique. No, I shouldn’t say unique, since I know other people who do it. It’s interesting.
Do you divide your collection into two halves?
My book collection? My book collection is primarily in America, since that’s where I’ve lived most of my life.
I’ve only been living in England for the last ten years, if you don’t count my student years. When I moved to England, I started building up a library there. It’s a little shocking when I go into my cottage in England that there’s only five cases of books, as opposed to an entire house full! But ask me that question again in another ten years, and the cottage will be full.
What do you think about today’s folklore? You know, modern-day folklore, for this day and age. Do we have anything of our own, or are we just building on what’s gone before? Is there anything that’s ours, uniquely late Twentieth century?
Well, there’s that old adage about how there’s only seven plots in the world and Shakespeare’s done them all before. I think that it’s the nature of folklore to be rooted in old tradition, and what’s new is what we add to the old material. If it were brand-new, with no roots in the old material, would it still be folklore? I don’t know. To me, it wouldn’t be as interesting. What I find interesting about folklore is the dialogue it gives us with storytellers from centuries past, and, if we’re doing it well, and the work we do lasts, then we’re also in dialogue with storytellers in the centuries to come.
You ever wonder what stories they’ll be telling two hundred years from now? Will Elvis have gone the way of the phouka? [Irish tricksters, known for shapechanging into horses, then leading unwary riders into the ocean for a good scare.]
God only knows! What I hope is that at least a handful of the writers working today with the old material will still be read two hundred years from now — that Pat McKillip will still be read, and Jane Yolen will still be read. I hope that writers then will be creating new renditions of Pat McKillip tales, commenting on Pat McKillip tales — while Pat, in turn, was commenting on older stories like Tam Lin I hope that the dialogue continues. I do think that we have writers today who are of the caliber of the great folklore writers of the past, like Hans Christian Andersen. As you go back and back and back, I certainly think that Pat and Jane fit in that tradition, and quite a number of others.
Many of which are writers you’ve worked with or helped get started, it would seem.
Well, those two I’ve worked with, but didn’t help get started. They were both established when I came into the field. Jane was highly regarded in children’s fiction, but I was involved with getting her work out to adult fantasy readers. Pat was already well known before I came into publishing. But yes, there have been a lot of authors over the years who I’ve helped get started.
Right, it’s like a who’s who of my bookshelf.
That’s nice to hear. It was just that in the late Seventies/ early Eighties, the field was wide open, because fantasy as a genre was so new. When I started in the business, there was a thing called adult fantasy, but nobody quite knew what it was, and most publishers didn’t have an adult fantasy list. They had science fiction lists, which they stuck a little bit of fantasy into. Ace Books, where I worked at the time, was one of the very first publishers to create a separate fantasy imprint, and I was involved with that. Which meant that we had room to publish new writers. I was actively going out and looking for new writers, which is not something that happens so much today. Talk to any first-novelist desperate to get published and you’ll see that its very hard for first-novelists now. Whereas back then, we were actively beating the bushes for good new people, which was extraordinarily exciting as an editor. And that’s why so many people came into the field all at once. The whole post-Tolkien generation.
So what do you think’s going to happen with the field now, if it’s so crowded?
Well, you know, ten years ago I was despairing, I must admit. I didn’t see new talent coming after the early-Eighties post-Tolkien group that was of the same caliber. We needed a new generation to emerge and to take the mantle from us. Not that we planned to stop writing ourselves! But a field needs to keep growing and changing if it’s going to maintain its vitality, and I was worried by the dearth of younger writers and editors with any real vision. In the last few years, however, I’ve been astonished by the number of new people who have been published who are really good. Some are young — like Kelly Link, for example, she’s formidably talented. Then there are people my age, in their late thirties/early forties, who have come into the field quite recently. There are new people I’m really excited about — Sean Russell, Sean Stewart, Jeffrey Ford, Susanna Clark, Sharon Shinn, and others. It’s given me fresh hope.
I was particularly worried about the area of Imaginary World fantasy, because it seemed for a while as though the best writers in the field had gotten tired of it, weren’t seeing new possibilities in it. They were going into Magic Realism, which I love … but I’d look at Imaginary World fiction, and it would all seem to be what Jane Yolen calls “bathtub novels,” which are novels you read as entertainment, not as great literature. They have a valid place in the world, I like bathtub novels too, but I wasn’t seeing works of Imaginary World fantasy of literary quality. In the last few years, however, people like Philip Pullman, Sean Russell, and Patrick O’Leary have been creating works that I think are on a par with Le Guin, McKillip, Yolen, and so forth. It’s very exciting.
What’s your take on Robert Jordan?
Well, his books are not to my personal taste, but he has a huge audience of people who love him, there’s room for all kinds of writers in the world, and I wish him every bit of success.
My tastes aren’t always to the epic either.
I don’t like to trash anyone’s fiction, really. Unless it’s written cynically. Then I wish it would just slink away with its tail between its legs. But anyone who’s writing with passion, whether it’s to my taste or not, there’s room for them. Robert Jordan, whether he’s writing with passion or not, I don’t know … but what I do know is that people are reading him with passion, and so there’s a place for him. It’s not my kind of fantasy, but the fantasy field is very broad and I despair a bit when I see people fighting about what gets to be called fantasy. People who’ll look at you and say “Oh, you’re ruining the fantasy field because you’re publishing all these things that aren’t Imaginary World novels, and we only believe Imaginary World genre fiction should be called fantasy.” I think that’s narrow minded. There’s room for everything. Does one thing have to be fantasy and not another? There’s enough readers to go around.
One of the best things about folklore and fairy tales is that the best fantasy is what you find right around the corner, in this world. That’s where the old stuff came from.
Magic Realism is not new. The label’s new, the specific Latin American form of it is new, its modern popularity is new, but yeah, you’re right. It’s been around as long as literature has been around.
Now, you actually got into writing relatively later in your career. Did you start out intending to be a writer, or an editor, or what?
I came to New York, straight out of college, wanting one thing in life: to work on Jim Henson’s film The Dark Crystal. [Laugh] I applied for a job, and didn’t get it, and looked around to see what else I could do. I was interested in folklore, and in “Golden Age” British book artists, like Arthur Rackham, Kay Nielsen, and Edmund Dulac. The reason I wanted to work on The Dark Crystal was because Brian and Wendy Froud were designing it and I see them as the heirs to the Golden Age art tradition, and I wanted to be involved with that. I was a great fan of Jim Henson’s, too.
When it became clear to me that I wasn’t going to get a job on the movie, I looked around to see what else I could do with my passion for folklore and folkloric art, and started applying to publishers, on the advice of my friends Tappan King and Beth Meacham, who were both in the science fiction field. I was applying to both art departments and editorial departments. I didn’t have a strong preference as to which way I went, whether I would work with visual art or literary art, and the first job I was offered was as an editorial assistant. Now I look back and think, “Thank God.” I think it was the best thing for me, in terms of being a storyteller by nature, to have spent years being an editor because I learned so much from it. And I got to meet and work with some of the great fantasists of our day. Eventually I met Brian and Wendy Froud, and now we work together, so it all came round full circle. So no, I didn’t start off to New York determined to be an editor, but within a year of moving there that’s what I became, and I’m very glad I had that experience.
You seem to be lucky. Right time, right place. For your talents, and for a field where you could apply them.
Oh, absolutely. It would be harder today. Then, the fantasy field was so wide open, nobody knew quite what to do with such an upstart genre, and even though I was quite young when I went to New York, I had the opportunity to become a full editor quite quickly and work directly on books. Within a few years, however, I knew that it wasn’t where I wanted to stay, being an editor. As I worked with writers and artists, it became clear that I was too envious of them; I wanted to be writing and doing art myself. And so I was editing throughout the Eighties — but by the end of the Eighties, I was leading a dual life. I was editing in New York and being an artist in Boston. In the early Nineties, I moved to England, and that’s when I started writing and doing art full-time, with editing on the side.
Something you said in the MacDonald interview is that you found you enjoyed editing anthologies more than novels.
Yeah, because an anthology is your own book. Editing an anthology, even though the stories in them are the work and creative children of the authors involved, you have more of an influence on the whole shape of the book. Your name is on it, you’re providing the theme for it, whereas it’s a whole different skill being a novel editor. A good novel editor is invisible. You’re not there to put your print on that book. You’re there to help the author, to strengthen their vision of what that book should be. There are plenty of bad editors who try to impose their own vision on a book … I hope I wasn’t one of them. I certainly tried not to be one of them. So to be a good book editor, you really had to be invisible. I reached a point in life where it was less satisfying to me to be invisible.
With anthologies, you got to work with so many more people, and see so many different stories.
Plus, I started working with Ellen Datlow. Jim Frenkel, who’s an editor and agent, called me up one night (he’d tracked me down at Will Shetterly and Emma Bull’s house in Minneapolis, don’t ask me how) and said that he had an idea for an anthology, The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror, and he wanted me to work on it. He’d asked Ellen Datlow to be the horror editor. I knew her socially, but I’d never worked with her before. I liked her as a person, but I had no idea what it would be like to work with her, whether we would mesh at all editorially. I said yes, largely because it was the middle of the night and I was tired and it was the quickest way to get off the phone. [laugh] Afterwards, I thought, “Oh my God, what have I just agreed to? Oh well, it’ll never get off the ground anyway.” But it did, and Ellen and I worked beautifully together; and since then, we’ve gone on to work on a number of things together. That’s been fun! I think if I’d been editing anthologies all by my lonesome, I probably wouldn’t have done as many. It’s a lot of work, and I’m not sure it would have been as much fun. But working with Ellen is a blast. She’s great.
You two are like the Team Supreme of the field.
[laugh] Jane Yolen has a book called Sister Light, Sister Dark, and she calls us Sister Light, Sister Dark, because Ellen concentrates on the dark horror, and I concentrate on the lighter end of fantasy. She’s dark, and I’m blond. You know, all that ridiculous symbolism. But the fact that we’re so opposite is what makes it work.
You two are looking at two different sides of the same coin! Horror and fantasy are two sides of the same folklore coin, basically.
Mind you, there are some reviewers who every year say, “Oh God, why don’t they just divide this volume into Year’s Best Fantasy, and Year’s Best Horror? They’re Siamese twins joined at the hip, separate them for God’s sake!” Fortunately, it’s a small number of reviewers. A larger number of reviewers — and judging by the sales figures, a large number of readers — agree with you, that the two go together.
You’d know better than I would, but if you look at a lot of the old tales, they’re very dark.
Horrific, even. And when we look at the stories we read for Year’s Best, so many of them fall into a grey area between Ellen’s purview and mine. If we were to split the volumes, we’d have an incredible overlap anyway. I love that we have the full range from light to dark. I can’t go as dark as Ellen; I’m not capable of going to that place. She’s not capable of going quite as fanciful as I can with my literary tastes. And there’re probably readers who feel the same way, and have to be at one end or the other. But I’m pleased to see that there are also an astonishing number of readers who read the full range, and I think that’s great.
As you say, a lot of the old folklore and fairy tales and myths are intensely dark, particularly once you get away from Victorian watered-down versions. It seems appropriate to do the volume the way we do it.
So why do you think so many of them were so dark back then?
Dark times. We’ve always lived in dark times. There has always been a range of human experience from the sublime to the brutal, and stories reflect it. It’s no less brutal now; each age has its horrors. For instance, today we have school shootings and everything else, and in past times, it was other horrors. We all have horrors to deal with in our lives, and folklore reflects that. Folktales don’t -explain- shootings in schools; I don’t think it was the point of fairy tales to explain things and be didactic, but rather to provide catharsis, to provide an outlet for emotions and themes that come up as a result of the times we live in.
Here’s an odd question. Your ideal collaboration, with anybody, living or dead. The person or people you could work with if you had the full range to choose from.
Oh wow, that’s an interesting question. Give me a minute to think about it. As an editor, a writer, a painter?
As -you-, as a storyteller.
As a storyteller. Okay. There’s so many people I wish I knew, who are gone now. Certainly, there are great artists that I wish were alive today to illustrate stories I’d like to write.
You’ve mentioned Rackham?
Like Arthur Rackham, like Jessie M. King or Sir Edward Burne-Jones. Imagine collaborating with Burne-Jones! I would have loved to have been in Mexico during the time of World War II and to have known and worked with Leonora Carrington and Remedios Varo. They seem to have been amazing women, combining art, storytelling, surrealism … I would have loved to have been part of that circle. Today … of the people living today, I’d love to work with Lizbeth Zwerger, the Austrian artist. If I could have a story illustrated by her, I’d die a happy woman. But I’ve worked with a number of the people I admire most, like Brian and Wendy Froud, Thomas Canty, Ellen Kushner, Delia Sherman, Midori Snyder, Ellen Steiber … I’ve had the opportunity to collaborate with some of my favorite artists and writers. There are still a few I haven’t worked with. Jim Henson died before I could meet him, and I’ll always regret that I never met Angela Carter. She was one of my two major inspirations in life, the other being Adrienne Segur, a French illustrator in the 1950s-1960s. I don’t even know if she’s still alive today. I keep asking people, if they ever hear of any information about this woman’s life, please let me know! Her artwork started me on this path. It’s been interesting to find out that a number of the people I know who also work in fantasy grew up with the same book of her artwork, The Golden Book of Fairy Tales, and were affected just as strongly. Wendy Froud, Ellen Datlow, Ellen Steiber, and others all grew up with that same book.
I recognize a few names. My main exposure to Angela Carter came from a movie they made from her work, In The Company of Wolves. What was your opinion of it?
I think it’s beautiful. She wrote the screenplay, so it wasn’t screwed up, and Neil Jordan did a gorgeous job directing it. I loved it. It was very Freudian, but that’s Angela Carter for you. I think it’s a powerful piece of work. But for me, really, the written word is always stronger than film, and for anyone who loved the film, go back to the work on which Carter based it — her story collection, The Bloody Chamber — which is even better. I only know of one film where I didn’t look at it and say, “Yeah, that was great, but wouldn’t a story or novel have been even better?” and that was Kundun, Martin Scorsese’s film about Tibet, which is as sweeping and magical as any fantasy epic. I finally found a film where I couldn’t look at it and say “words could do it better.” In that case, film became great art.
I’ll assume that you’re not too terribly fond of the Disney interpretations?
Ow. No. Disney’s done some great things in terms of the art of animation, I’ll give them that, but I certainly don’t like what they do with fairy tales. They turned the The Little Mermaid into a happy romantic tale, instead of the intense and poignant tragedy that it is. They totally screwed around with Beauty and the Beast, and turned into a simplistic story of good versus evil. I don’t like what they do with fairy tales, no. Not at all.
Modern day Victorian whitewashing?
Yeah, I think it is. And it’s a pity, because there are too many people who think that’s what fairy tales are. Most people in modern society, when they see Disney’s The Little Mermaid, they assume that’s what the story is. And now there will be countless picture books for children with the Disney version of the tale, and many people, most people, will never go back to the Hans Christian Andersen tale, and know what it was originally about. I find that tragic,because the old tale is so wise, and the new tale is a piece of fluff. Entertaining, but fluff. I’d rather they create a brand-new story using some of those tropes — the mermaid, the romance. Just don’t call it The Little Mermaid. Don’t ruin an already perfect story.
I grew up with Grimm, and Hans Christian Andersen, and the Andrew Lang “colored” fairy books.
Those were interesting fairy books. Lang was a Victorian folklore enthusiast, working with his wife to edit the collections, and he certainly whitewashed a number of those tales. If you look at his version of Tam Lin, versus the original, you have little Tam Lin and Janet, the playmates in the woods, rather than Janet as an unmarried pregnant woman. Lang did his share of watering down the tales, but he wasn’t as bad as other Victorian editors, by a long shot. And he let a lot of complexity slip through. So I have a real fondness for those “colored” fairy books. Possibly because I grew up with them.
That’s one of the reasons I’ve been so glad that you’ve brought back so many of the classic fairy tales, in general. One of my all-time favorite books is Pamela Dean’s Tam Lin. Something that stays true to the spirit of the tale, if not the actual word. You have the darkness in there, and all the shades of gray.
Pamela’s Tam Lin was part of the “Adult Fairy Tales” series, which encouraged writers to create new versions of fairy and folk tales. These novels use the ingredients of old, familiar tales to tell new stories. When writers want to work with fairy tale material, I ask them to look beyond the Disney versions and beyond the Victorian versions — to go back to the older fairy tales, with all their complexity. Don’t stop with the Lang books, charming as they are. Read Jack Zipes’s collections. Or Angela Carter’s. Read Marina Warner on the history of fairy tales. Read the people who have worked with the older material. Then, when you create your art, use those as your tools, and not Walt Disney imagery.
Do you ever wish you could have worked with Marina Warner?
She lives in the same county I live in, in Devon, England. I’ve met her a couple of times, and she is so ferociously intelligent that she’s one of the few people in publishing today that I’m so intimidated by that I can’t open my mouth when I’m around her. With Jack Zipes, I had the opposite problem — I started babbling like an idiot when I met him. With Marina Warner, I just shut up. I so admire her. I’m sure that if I’d ever had the opportunity to meet Angela Carter when she was still alive, the same thing would have happened.
Wow, it’s hard to believe that someone intimidates you.
Oh, it’s not hard at all! There are people who know more about this material than I do. I’m an artist, I’m not an academic folklorist, and these people are academic folklorists par excellence. They are amazing in what they have done for the field of fairy tales and folklore studies. So much of what I’ve learned comes from people like them, and from Katharine Briggs, and Joseph Campbell and the other great mythologists. I’m an artist interpreting the material, but I have a great respect for the academics who are working with the source material. My hat’s off to them.
I know you’re currently working on a new novel, The Moon Wife. What else do you have your the plate?
Well, I just had a children’s book published, called A Midsummer Night’s Faery Tale, with art by Wendy Froud which is incredibly gorgeous. It’s “doll art,” and very unusual. We’ve been commissioned to do two more in that series by the publisher, Simon and Schuster. I’m going to have to jump onto that right away, as soon as I get back home, because they want the next book to come out next spring and we haven’t even started it yet. Also, I’m working on a very long series of paintings based on desert folklore. And editing the next Years’ Best. There’s one more adult fairy tale anthology, called Black Heart, Ivory Bones, due out this spring. Also a children’s version of that, called A Wolf At The Door, coming out in July. I’m writing the occasional Folkroots column for Realms of Fantasy magazine. Also, I have a children’s book called The Raven Queen, which I wrote in collaboration with Ellen Steiber, which just came out. I tend to work on about ten different things at once. I’m not a very linear person.
Has there been any thought given to a collection of your artwork in a book?
I’d like to do that at some point, yes. I haven’t done it yet, because I’ve been building up a body of work. I want to have a more substantial body of work before I put it in a book. In the meantime, if anyone is interested they can see my paintings on the Endicott Studio web site. Or at WisCon in May, or at Omega Institute’s “Faery Conference” in September.
I’m looking forward to the book.
Wendy Froud, who I worked with on A Midsummer Night’s Faery Tale, is a writer as well as a doll artist. I just noticed on her Web site (www.fairies.net), on the discussion board, that someone wrote in and said, “Will we ever see a book where the roles are reversed, where Wendy writes and Terri does the art?” and I thought, “Hey, that’s a cool idea, why not?”
I’m sure whatever you two did would be popular.
I love working with the Frouds. They’re very inspiring people.
I noticed. I grew up with their work. Labyrinth, The Dark Crystal, their work with the Hensons.
I think that Brian is the modern equivalent of Arthur Rackham; he’s the great fairy painter of our day. It’s a privilege to work with him. Wendy’s every bit as talented as he is, even though her name isn’t as well known. She was a sculptor for a lot of the figures in The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth. She was the major sculptor for Yoda, in Star Wars. If you look at our book, you’ll see that her figures look familiar, and people don’t know why. It’s because if you’ve ever seen Yoda, or the Gelfings or any of those creatures, you’ve seen Wendy’s work. Her spirit was in all those things.
To finish up, is there anything specific you’d like to pass on to the Green Man Review readers?
I’d like to encourage people to please keep reading — and most importantly, to please keep trying new writers. The only way we can bring fresh new material into the field is if people go out and buy it. Too often, I hear people complain, “Why can’t I get a first novel published, why aren’t there more new writers coming into the field?” And I ask them, “When was the last time you picked up a book by a writer whose name you didn’t know?” and they get an embarrassed look on their face. So, for the sake of our field, and fantasy literature, make sure that at least once a month, if not more often, you go out there and buy a book by an author you’ve never heard of before. Green Man Review gives you a chance to check out reviews and see who’s doing what.
That’s what I love most about Green Man Review. The exposure to new things, both books and music.
So go out there and support those kids, support the next generation.
Keep the field alive.
For further information on Terri Windling, including an extremely thorough bibliography, and the interview I used as source material for my own preparations, and, indeed, for a great many other things related to folklore, fantasy, art, and myth, I can’t recommend the Endicott Studio Web site highly enough.
For fans of Terri’s work, and for fans of Charles Vess, Brian and Wendy Froud, Charles de Lint, Thomas Canty, Ellen Kushner, Midori Snyder, Neil Gaiman, and more, this site is an invaluable resource, containing interviews, biographies, articles, recommendations, essays, and links galore. In addition, you can probably find more information on many of the people mentioned in this interview. The Endicott Studio has been selected as a GMR Site of Excellence for these reasons.