Wicked Fairy Tales Author Spotlight – Matthew Nadelhaft
This interview is part of Wicked Fairy Tales Month at ForbiddenFiction.com. With the launch of our first anthology of erotic fairy tales, we decided to give folks more of a glimpse behind the scenes. So, to celebrate, we will have a drawing, author and staff interviews, and other fun bonus materials. For more information on this an the Wicked Fairy Tales anthology, see HERE.
Matthew Nadelhaft is originally from New York but has lived in Edinburgh since the re-election of George W. Bush. He graduated from the Napier University Creative Writing MA Program and is the editor for Edinburgh spoken-word/storytelling group Illicit Ink. His short fiction has been published in An Electric Tragedy, Blood and Lullabies, The Reader’s Digest 100-Word Story Competition, Desire Magazine, Wicked Fairy Tales, DailyLove.net and Zombies Ain’t Funny. More is forthcoming from ForbiddenFiction.net, Weirdyear.com and Drabblecast and he will be performing this year at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. He studied anthropology, worked as a freelance journalist, co-edited the book “America Under Construction: Boundaries and Identities in Popular Culture” and published many articles and papers. He is a reviewer for Tangent and TangentOnline and has designed several board games, including the internet-hit “Oh No, There Goes Tokyo!” and an award-winning adaptation of Stephen King's "The Shining." He is now bald after twenty years without a haircut.
What was your favorite fairy tale as a child and why?
Well, I don't think I have a favourite fairy tale - I don't even have a particular interest in fairy tales. However, I do find folklore fascinating, especially Russian folklore, with it's mischievous spirits, and was deeply impressed with the dark figure of Breton imagination "The Man with Carrot Fingers" as described in Pierre-Jakez Helias's "The Horse of Pride." The appeal of such stories, for me, is in the imagining of dark and mysterious currents operating outside of but on human society. As frightening as The Man with Carrot Fingers is (the "tricks" he plays on travellers include permanently addling their brains), who wouldn't like to believe that life still includes a strand of the fantastic and inexplicable?
Most people think of fairy tales as children's stories. What makes a fairy tale erotic?
As far as what makes a fairy tale erotic, I can answer that - rather flippantly - with two words: Angela Carter. :) But more to the spirit of the question, what Carter recognized in fairy tales is their subversive power and while not many fairy tales are erotic to begin with, her re-imaginings of them into passionate, sexy stories wasn't a great leap, because at their heart they do frequently speak about coming of age - especially for women - of fear and the lure of sinister powers, of repressed and sometimes liberated sexuality and longing.
How did you come up with the idea for your story (or stories) in the Wicked Fairy Tales collection?
"Geppetto Falls Off the Wagon" was born out of two circumstances. One occurred years ago, when a friend of mine told me the joke "What did Snow White say while sitting on Pinocchio's Face? 'Tell a lie! Tell the truth! Tell a Lie..'" The joke sat around in my head until an exercise in the "Creating Narrative" class of the MA in creative writing program I attended. We were instructed to come up with titles and descriptions of twenty brand new story ideas for the next class. We all found, as we brainstormed, that the ideas got sillier as they went along, as we thought we were cleaned out and couldn't possibly come up with one more. And some of those later ideas, for all of us, turned out to be the most interesting ones. At number 19 I scrawled: “Geppetto Falls Off the Wagon:” After getting smashed one night on cheap brandy, the master wood-cutter, in a flurry of mad productivity, creates a roomful of live wooden sex dolls, then dies of splinters." Looking it over later, I thought: "Hey, I'd like to write that one." So I did - but I didn't give it to my teachers to read!
How long have you been reading and writing erotica?
I've had an interest in erotica - who hasn't? - for ages, but it took a literary twist when I decided to write a novel set in a futuristic porn industry (unlike many, I'm perfectly happy using the words pornography and erotica interchangeably, and in fact I usually insist on doing so, because I feel there's an implicit value judgement in the imagining of separate spheres, one of which has literary and cultural value, the other of which doesn't). I did a lot of research for that book, including interviewing and corresponding with several porn stars and directors. While I was writing the novel, I struggled with the question of whether or not the book, itself, needed to be pornographic. Eventually I decided it would be dishonest for it not to be. It was my first experience of the challenge of writing sex scenes as part of a story while imbuing them with an emotional purpose - some of them were meant to titillate, some of them were meant to offend. I enjoyed the process and was happy with the outcome.
Short Story (2400 words)
Genre(s): Fantasy, Humor
The great woodcutter Geppetto, envious of his creation Pinocchio’s wild sex life, builds himself a female companion while on an alcohol-fueled bender. She comes to life hot and willing and Geppetto gets the ultimate sexual experience. (M/F)
Also available in the Wicked Fairy Tales anthology.
And more soon!