Meera and her twin sister Kai are Mades—part human and part not—bred in the Blood Temple cult, which only the teenage Meera will survive. Racked with grief and guilt, she lives in hiding with her mysterious rescuer, Narn—part witch and part not—who has lost a sister too, a connection that follows them to Meera’s enrollment years later in a college Redress Program. There she is recruited by Regulars for a starring role in a notorious reading series and is soon the darling of the lit set, finally whole, finally free of the idea that she should have died so Kai could have lived. Maybe Meera can be re-made after all, her life redressed. But the Regulars are not all they seem and there is a price to pay for belonging to something that you don’t understand. Time is closing in on all Meera holds dear—she stands afraid, not just for but of herself, on the bridge between worlds—fearful of what waits on the other side and of the cost of knowing what she truly is.
When and where do you prefer to write?
Ideally in the mornings either in my office or at a co-share space nearby.
Do you need peace and quiet when you are wrting?
Depends. I don’t like household noise, but café noise is good for my focus. And I like writing, but not editing, to music.
If you had the chance to co-write a book. Whom would it be with?
I’ve collaborated on a book of folklore-inspired flash fiction with the great French-Danish author Sebastien Doubinsky, which is coming out next year, and I’m currently co-writing a novella with the magnificent Angela Slatter, so I’m pretty much in the zone of bliss with both. Other than that, one day I’d like to collaborate on a graphic novel with any number of fantastic illustrators out there, one of whom is my son.
Say someone asks if they can use your name in a book. Would you rather be the ‘good one’ or the ‘bad one’?
You mean the hero or the villain? I’d say, thanks but no thanks. I’d say let me know if there’s a wisecracking ghost or a stripper with a heart of gold, or a cute but disenchanted waitress or a gender non-conforming teenager or a large dog waiting by the gates of a maxim security prison, and my name is all yours. Those are the kinds of stereotypes I can work with. I like the idea of a big ol’ bull mastiff bitch called J.S. Breukelaar waiting for her death row owner, just waiting and waiting . . . I imagine the wardens feed her from time to time, which she likes, come out for a smoke and tickle her being the ears. She likes that too.
Who would you like/have liked to interview?
My grandmother, Ella.
Where can I find you when you are reading?
In the kitchen stirring the spaghetti sauce.
Where can I find you wen you are not writing/reading?
In the kitchen stirring the spaghetti sauce.
What goes through your mind when you hold your new book in your hands for the first time?
This time was different. This time I thought, ‘and this took you how long?’ Better get onto novel number four.
How do you come up with a title for your book?
It comes out of the story. I’ve never had to change a novel title in my life. Oh wait, yes I have. The first title for Aletheia was something quite different and only one person in the world knows what it was and I can only hope that he’s forgotten, except he probably hasn’t because it was memorably bad.
How do you pick a cover for your book?
My wonderful publisher does all of that. We will talk about it, about artists I like, vibes we’re going for, important thematic elements to render visually, although not always literally. I’m in love with the cover for The Bridge. Tricia Reeks of Meerkat Press sought out Luke Spooner, whose sought-after work is dark and lyrical but accessible and who gets the authors he illustrates. He previously illustrated a story I published in the late great Gamut Magazine set in the same world as The Bridge, and he came through again for the novel. I love the way the blue lights of the bridge slant upwards and below in the swirling darkness lurks a mysterious winged figure. No one does wings like Luke Spooner.
Thank you, J.S. Breukelaar and Meerkat Press
About the author
J.S. Breukelaar is the author of Collision: Stories, a 2019 Shirley Jackson Award finalist, and winner of the 2019 Aurealis and Ditmar Awards. Previous novels include Aletheia and American Monster. Her short fiction has appeared in the Dark Magazine, Tiny Nightmares, Black Static, Gamut, Unnerving, Lightspeed, Lamplight, Juked, in Year’s Best Horror and Fantasy 2019 and elsewhere. She currently lives in Sydney, Australia, where she teaches writing and literature, and is at work on a new collection of short stories and a novella.
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