Tales of Ever After – “Being Seen” Inspiration


The blog tour for Tales of Ever After is over, but I’m doing a little bonus, some of the inspiration behind my short story “Being Seen.” H.L. Burke is one of my favorite authors, so I jumped on the chance to write a fairy tale themed story for her Fellowship of Fantasy’s fourth anthology. My story is a light steampunk romance with some fairy tale elements.

Ilmara was born invisible because of a “curse” placed on her mother for marrying and having a child with a man from a different race. It’s more of a genetic trait than curse, and her children will be visible or so she’s been told. The story implies that Ilmara’s case is rather unusual. My inspiration was from a book called The Fairy Bible. In it there’s an Inuit fairy lover called Nuliarksak, who marries a fairy and bears her invisible children.

There really isn’t anything about this legend outside of the book I cited above, but the idea of an invisible girl inspired me, and I had to write this story. Ilmara goes through an elaborate process of appearing visible to gain a husband. She resents having to appear as something she’s not and hopes her betrothed will still love her when he learns the truth. Of course, nothing goes that smoothly.

One of the characers, Gio was inspired by one of my go-to sites for selecting names, Behind the Name. This is also how I came up with Ilmara’s name, but Gio’s is more interesting. I knew he was going to be a musician and so I looked through a list of names and selected Gioachino because it had a fun double meaning (different spellings). The link references Gioachino Rossini, but my mind immediately jumped to the modern composer, Michael Giacchino, who’s one of my favorite. Read “Being Seen” and see if you can find the Easter egg related to his work.

What is your favorite Easter egg you’ve read in a book?

About Gretchen E K Engel

Chemical engineer by day, spec fiction writer by night

2 comments on “Tales of Ever After – “Being Seen” Inspiration

  1. One of my favorite literary “Easter eggs” was actually in a cell phone novel a friend of mine, CMB Bell, recently self-published: Hollandus Landing. He placed several analogs in the story, but the one that I loved the most was his analog of Ms. Frizzle! I felt so smart for figuring it out, AND the character totally was how Ms. Frizzle would be were she placed in that universe. It was really delightful.

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