Guest Post: Authors of A Dark Spring discuss their inspiration

Guest Post: Authors of A Dark Spring discuss their inspiration

Tangled Tree Publishing just released its first anthology, A Dark Spring.   We asked the authors of the twisted and tangled stories contained therein….what was the inspiration behind your story?


The internet. I was being a nerd and looking up mountains and places for another story I am working on when an image of Mt. Timp came up. A little research of the valley left me going hmm… which in turn led to the chaos that is Tangled Obsessions.


I was working in a cubicle-filled office much like the one in the story. A co-worker was retiring after decades of loyal service, and I wondered if she felt her time served was worth it.


I watch a series on ID Discovery about families who only later discover that one of their own is murderer, rapist, etc. The daughter, granddaughter, and great-granddaughter of criminal attornies, I’ve always been fascinated with both criminal psychology and the seemingly implausible idea that loved ones would be so blind to it. That’s what I wanted to explore in this story.

Laura N. Andrews, A TANGLED ORACLE

Without giving too much away, a certain intrigue of mine caused me to come up with a twist. This twist was actually the start of A Tangled Oracle, and the story stemmed from it. The main character, Oracle, being Greek, was inspired by my yia yia. Although we have no Greek background in our family, we’ve always referred to her as, “yia yia” rather than, “grandma,” or, “nan


I was on assignment for a Jackson Hole, Wyoming-based newspaper when I went out for three days on horseback with a cowboy. I learned to herd cattle, which plants were safe to eat (chokeberries always good and plentiful), and at night I found warmth around a campfire. It’s also when I asked this cowboy, “Why don’t rocks burn?” I honestly didn’t know, and it was the first time he laughed. So, when this story poured out of me, I knew the title would play off that moment on the mountain. “The Burning Rock,” named itself.


We Only Want to Play came to me first as a short story. I was thinking about my own elementary school and how much I enjoyed making up games with my friends during recess. Most of them were silly. Others were intense. But whenever the recess monitor came by to ask what we were playing, every one of us instinctually switched out of the group game. This was an adult, and adults were here to poke holes in our fantasies. As kids, we know this without being told, and without telling each other. Protecting our play world is a territorial instinct. That almost telepathic groupthink fascinated me. What would happen, I wondered, if that instinct turned malignant? I saw kids turning ugly during recess and a young teacher discovering what they were plotting. I knew then that my short story was going to get much longer. I buckled up for the ride and got writing.

R.M. Gilmore, GNARLED

The first thing that came to mind when I saw the theme Tangled was hair. The image of matted, tangled hair dotted with debris, twigs, leaves, popped into my head. One-hundred percent pantsed, Gnarled started with the body and went from there.


I’ve always like haunted house stories, but they often have a tendency toward formulaic plots.  I decided to write a story that had all the set up and anticipation of a haunted house before pulling the rug out from under the reader, pivoting to a monster type of a story.  I also liked the idea of playing with who the monster was in the story as often humanity provides all the necessary behavior to be the monster.


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