PW: The central theme in “Here Be Dragons” is masculinity’s relationship to the notion of the male breadwinner, the guy who brings home the bacon to his family. How did you come to the idea of exploring this theme in a medieval setting?
CT: I chose the setting because the story deals with some pretty touchy subjects; attempted drowning of a young child, a father pushing his kid around, etc. When it comes to kids, those things can be pretty hard to write (and even harder to read), and it can often turn some readers off. Taking it out of reality just slightly, putting it in a faux-Germanic 1400’s-ish time period allowed me to sugarcoat those scenes a little bit. It’s a trick I learned from reading a lot of George Saunders; wrap the serious in a little funny (and a slightly out-of-step world from our own) and it helps mainline the seriousness past our gut reactions that might, in a normal setting, read as a little raw, or melodramatic, or over-the-top. Once you do that, then the seriousness is inside the reader, you’ve snuck it past their defenses on the coat tails of humor and weirdness, and it sits there, waiting to dissipate slowly, like a slow-release vitamin, or NyQuil.