By Ali Coyle
I am excited to have a short story in Volume Blue of Dark Cheer Cryptids Emerging, IP's new two-volume anthology.
Why write about cryptids?
Why not! Mythical creatures fascinate me, especially shapeshifters. I never quite felt comfortable in my skin as a human until I learned the words 'agender' and 'nonbinary' to describe part of my identity.
As a child (and teen and adult), brought up with strict certainties about gender, in my imagination I was a shapeshifter who could choose to be male or female or both or neither, human or animal or alien, whatever made sense to me at the time. I felt affinity with selkies and cat sidhe and werewolves and kelpies and all the mythical creatures who could change shape.
Dancing in the Shallows
My story is about a family of Kelpies and humans coexisting, feeling the pull of both the sea and the shore. My adventurous young protagonist has to decide which world fits him best, and it is not an easy choice to make.
Kelpies are part of Scottish folklore. I’m Scottish and I wanted to write something that evoked part of my life. I remember going on trips 'up the coast' with my family, where we would stop to admire the wildness of the landscape or to collect seashells and count the waves. My dad would point to the froth of the breaking waves and ask if I could see white horses. I had a literal mind, then.
The seaside has always been a magical place for me. I can’t think of a better place to be than a wind-whipped, shingle beach with salt in the air and waves crashing on the shore. Writing my story “Dancing in the Shallows” let me inhabit that magical place for a while.
I can hardly wait to read them all when the volumes are published in December.Ali Coyle is a science educator by day, a fiction writer by night, and has been an unapologetic daydreamer since birth. Whilst studying physics at university, Ali chose to interpret the 'scientists can't write' stereotype as a personal challenge and has been writing down their daydreams ever since. Ali has an extensive back-catalogue of fanfiction and currently writes as 'Rudbeckia' on AO3. Ali can also be found at @alicoylewrites and @rudbeckiaSun on twitter, and at https://alicoylewrites.wordpress.com. They are very fond of folk tales, mild horror, romance, and cats.