Papercut is a short story I wrote for the upcoming romantic fantasy anthology from Dragon Soul Press, entitled First Love. The story concerns a lonely teenage boy living with his ultra-strict Jehovah’s Witness mother. One night a mysterious girl made entirely of paper appears in his dreams, taking him on a mysterious and magical journey that I won’t spoil here.
So what inspired this story?
Oppressive religious backgrounds are a mainstay with me. I have explored them in a number of novels in various genres, including romantic drama (Love vs Honour), supernatural thriller/horror (The Thistlewood Curse), and most emphatically in sci-fi dystopian memoir Children of the Folded Valley, my most successful novel to date. With Papercut, I peer inside the world of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and some of their more extreme ideas (not celebrating birthdays and Christmas, for instance). Some of my own past also provides reference points, though I stress that I don’t hail from a Jehovah’s Witness background.
As for the fantastical dreamscapes that appear in the story, they have been inspired by everything from A-ha’s seminal video to their 1985 smash hit Take on Me, to one particularly iconic sequence in Jason and the Argonauts.