C. B. Blanchard is a queer, NB, mentally ill writer living in the UK with their husband and cats. They write fantasy, horror, and dark fantasy and like things that cross the boundaries between genres. They spend a lot of time wandering around woodland and heathland and consider themselves a witch.
After growing up ‘weird’ they decided to embrace who they were (not without struggle and pain) and hope one day to live in a world where the originality and uniqueness of every human life is prized and loved. They bring their own unique thought-processes to their work and life.
They wrote "Flowers From The Bones" in issue 2 of Vulture Bones. Below is an interview about their dreamlike, otherwordly story.
The voice of this piece is hypnotic, like a siren’s call. It’s as much part of the piece as the fae or the characters. I was wondering if the style was always part of the piece, or if it was something you came to over time?
It came with the piece, definitely. Though perhaps it’s more accurate to say I tend to write pieces that work with this kind of narrative voice, almost a spiral—circling round the story and speaking it out. I am inspired by traditional oral narratives and chants, and by the sheer power of words and rhythm. I am always looking for new ways to make language do what I want.
The violence in this is almost cathartic. There’s a giving over of one’s self to destruction, a sense that rebirth and revolutions are brutal, that they can only happen through a tearing apart of the status quo—and that this perpetual state of change is part of nature, and that this is good, like the regrowth of a forest after a forest fire. Both of the human characters in the story lean into the dark unknown stretching out before them. Where is that coming from?
Multiple places. One place is my interest in witchcraft and tarot—in my kind of witchcraft there’s an awareness of the natural cycles of things, destruction through to rebirth and back through the destruction again. On and on in a never-ending journey. Tarot echoes that too, especially in the journey of the major arcana.
Another place is that like a lot of people on the fringes of life (I’m queer, NB, disabled and mentally ill) I’ve suffered deep and intense trauma, repeatedly, and each time I’ve survived and a new part of me has grown even as an old part I didn’t need died. There have been times I’ve had to step forward, not knowing if the path ahead of me was right or good, full of hurt and loss.
And these things come up in my work a lot. Surviving and thriving sometimes means doing the hard and painful thing and I think my bone-deep awareness of that bleeds through to my writing.
Where can people find more of your work? What’s coming next?
I’ve got a website where I list my published works https://authorcbblanchard.wordpress.com/ .
I don’t like to talk about my work publicly until it’s accepted, but there are other pieces out there doing the rounds and I’m working on a novel. I’m currently considering a self-published short story collection too, but it’s definitely in the concept stages.