When I first decided I wanted to write the novel which would become Everything Under the only thing I knew was that I wanted to retell a myth. I’d done retellings before, in my collection Fen, but I wanted the challenge of something longer, something with twists and turns. The myth I settled on was dark and violent, filled with fate and magic and prophecy. It seemed to belong so entirely to its own time. I wonder if, perhaps, in those early days of thoughts about the project I was overcome by a sort of blood lust, an excitement about the destruction which retelling comes with. I was ready with my hammer and my chainsaw. I did not yet have plans for the building I would work on once I had knocked the old one to the ground. I was arrogant. Of course. Every writer needs a degree of arrogance to begin, to think: yes, I can do this. I wonder if retelling takes even more arrogance than that, an unspoken belief that perhaps we can do better. I have lived and fought and loved and battled with this novel for four years. I have carried it around with me, dreamt about it, talked and thought and worried endlessly about it. At times it felt as if that old building was screaming, refusing to let go of even a nail or door handle. At times it was my ineptitude, my own fumbling forward, trying to find the right way to tell this story which is both old and new. In the end the destruction of retelling was also mirrored in my writing process. There are enough deleted drafts and words and sentences and chapters to make up two or three whole, bad, other novels. Working on my next project is not the same. Perhaps I have improved, sharpened my craft. Or perhaps retelling – at least for me – needs a method of fumbling, of knocking down one wall only to rebuild it instantly, of working in the dark and in the dark and in the dark until, finally, there, a scratch of light.