I Didn’t Break the Lamp: Interview with Maureen Bowden

Five safety matchboxesMaureen Bowden has published a number of stories with Mad Scientist Journal, as well as appearing in the Utter Fabrication anthology. Now she’s back with a story for I Didn’t Break the Lamp!

DV: Tell us a bit about yourself!

Maureen Bowden: I was born and raised in Liverpool, which I still regard as home, and I live with my musician husband in North Wales. I’ve always written poems and stories for the amusement of family and friends, and I started submitting my work for publication in 2012. A hundred and twelve have been accepted by paying markets and one of my stories was nominated for the 2015 international Pushcart prize. I also write song lyrics, mainly comic political satire. My husband sets them to traditional melodies and he has performed them in folk music clubs throughout England and Wales. I love my family and friends, rock ‘n’ roll, Shakespeare, and cats.

DV: What inspired you to write “Jack in the Matchbox” for I Didn’t Break the Lamp?

MB: I was inspired to write “Jack in the Matchbox” by my love of classical mythology, which is littered with fantastical creatures that humans regard as monsters. I wanted to explore the premise that they are not, but history and current events have no shortage of human monsters.

DV: You have a great gift for writing memorable characters. Are the characters in your stories based on people you know, or do you come up with them by picking and choosing from an assortment of traits?

MB: Many of my characters are loosely based on my observation of real people, who are a rich source of material to be plundered for storytelling. I couldn’t write without them. Thank you, folks.

DV: Jack is a name that is frequently heard in fairy tales and mythology. Is this Jack in reference to that in general, or is there a specific reference to a Jack associated with the White Horse of Uffington that plays a major role in your story?

MB: When I was a child one of my favourite toys was a Jack-in-the-Box. When I lifted the lid Jack would pop up on his wobbly spring. He was the forerunner of the imaginary friend in a matchbox. Although folklore contains a multitude of Jacks, none of them, to the best of my knowledge, has been associated with the White Horse of Uffington, until now.

DV: If you had an imaginary friend growing up, what was their name, and what were they like?

MB: My childhood imaginary friend was Kitty Lulu. She had long hair cascading in curls around her shoulders and she wore a crinoline, like a fairytale princess. When I woke in the night, shivering in the dark, I would keep the ghosts away by telling Kitty Lulu stories and making her laugh. She was my constant companion until my two younger sisters were old enough to take her place.

DV: What’s on the horizon for you?

MB: A book of my stories has published by Alban Lake publishers, titled Whispers of Magic.

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