The story A Positive was published in Bloodsongs Magazine in 1997. It won the Aurealis Award that year, against another of my stories, The Glass Woman.
I wrote the story with Ellen Datlow in mind, because she was collecting stories for a Revenge anthology. I was inspired by many things, in particular the idea of siblings providing bone marrow and blood to ill brothers or sisters. Ellen didn’t take the story, so I redrafted it and sold it to Bloodsongs.
I researched a lot about blood, and this research helped me develop the story. It’s one of those stories where I knew I couldn’t hold back, that I had to create characters as distasteful, as awful, as possible.
Watching the movie, there are parts which make me flinch! My son thinks I’m not scared of anything because I write horror stories. It’s an assumption a lot of people share.
In reality, I’m easily disturbed. That’s how I can write this stuff! If it didn’t bother me, I don’t think I could pour such emotion into the stories.
I wanted to build strong characters and relationships into A Positive. I reckon this comes through in the movie. When Bearcage Productions were casting, I wrote them a paragraph describing the main players and I hope this helped them both to cast and to direct the actors.
Seeing my story through someone else’s eyes is an amazing experience. And having to question each sentence, each development when we were talking about the script was an interesting process. Certainly holds up a big magnifying mirror to show up the flaws!
The story will be reprinted in the Ticonderoga Publications collection of my stories, Dead Sea Fruit, coming in August.