During my time in England, I was given many opportunities to meet and speak with writers from all across the country. On one such occasion, the campus was actually holding a sort of “writers fair” event and it allowed students to participate in workshops with writers and professors. It was an amazing experience and allowed me to make contacts with new and emerging writers halfway across the world that I wouldn’t soon forget.
Claire Dean was one of these amazing writers.
In her collection of short stories, The Museum of Shadows and Reflections, I was whisked away to a childhood place filled with withered memories of bedtime stories being read to me. From the moment I cracked open the first page, I knew that I was falling in love with her style, voice, and ability to weave and, often, re-weave stories from when I was just a small boy into something new that I could enjoy as an adult.
After reading through her collection, it’s not hard to get yourself lost in the little vignettes that she’s created with stories like The Silent Kingdom, Feather Girls, and Stone Sea. She uses her voice to create worlds in which anything seems possible, but at a price that is often overlooked by the protagonist of each tale. It almost reminds me of the Grimm fairy-tales, but as I said, for a modern time. Now, looking back on it, I cannot believe how lucky I was to have met someone with such talent.
I can feel that my writing is soon to be influenced by Dean’s works, twisting and turning the gears inside my head to create my own folklore and, as she did, re-weave a few of the stories that I remember being told as a child.
So, if you’re looking to expand your imagination a little and explore a dark and sometimes unnerving world that she has created, you should order a copy of The Museum of Shadow and Reflections as soon as you can, because my copy will be staying with me.