When Erin Fanning was learning how to knit a few years ago, she happened to read an article about an Italian woman who occupied herself by knitting when she got trapped underneath her bed after an earthquake. “The story tumbled around in my brain, somehow intersecting with my interest in Mexican culture,” she said. The result—the paranormal romance, “Blood Stitches,” published by Lyrical Press. Fanning, a former librarian, is also the author of a mountain biking guidebook, a collection of short stories, several stories in anthologies, articles, and essays. She spends her summers in idyllic northern Michigan where she enjoys kayaking and riding her mountain bike and her winters in rugged central Idaho where she likes to ski. Her environment fuels her creativity.
In this Q&A, Fanning talks about “Blood Stitches” and why she thinks publishing is more about perseverance than raw talent.
Q: In a nutshell, what is "Blood Stitches" about?
A: It’s about a family who can knit magic, creating tapestries capable of apocalyptic disasters, and what happens when the younger sister must destroy the tapestries. It touches on the classic themes of good vs. evil, family relationships, and why some people seem to be attracted to darkness.
Q: Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?
A: I split my time between my home state of Idaho and Michigan, where my husband grew up. Both places are very rural and remote, particularly where we live in northern Michigan, perfect for letting the imagination roam, searching the landscape for fantastical creatures and other story ideas.
Q: Is this your first book? How long was the writing and publishing process?
A: Like most writers, I started putting words onto paper when I was very young and that continued through college when I majored in journalism. I took a short hiatus to work as a librarian, enjoying my first love, reading, and then I got back to writing seriously about 18 years ago. Since then I’ve published a mountain biking guidebook, a collection of short stories, and several stories in anthologies, as well as many articles and essays. But “Blood Stitches” is the longest stand-alone piece of fiction I’ve published.
Q: How did you come up with this story? What inspired you to write it?
A: In 2009, an Italian woman, trapped underneath her bed after an earthquake, kept herself occupied by knitting. I read about her around the same time I was learning how to knit. I imagined firefighters digging through the rubble and finding her wrapped in a knitted afghan.
The story tumbled around in my brain, somehow intersecting with my interest in Mexican culture. From there, I discovered the Mayan twin myth and the battle with the demon Vucub Caquix. Bit and pieces of Mayan mythology adhered themselves to my imagination, morphing into a history of magic and needlework. It wasn’t long afterward that “Blood Stitches” pushed its way through my fingertips.
Q: Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
A: Never give up—the publishing world rewards hard work and dedication. Sometimes I think success in writing has more to do with patience, perseverance, and the ability to revise than raw talent.
Buy the Book
Blood Stitches is available at:
Learn more about Erin Fanning