Yesterday, I shared a flashfic inspired by the planet Venus.
What strikes me the most about Venus is the contrast between the ideal and the reality. This planet can be seen as a bright object in our sky; it is named for the goddess of love and beauty. But when we investigated the planet, we discovered a hellish place, one that could kill you in several different ways (the pressure, the temperature, and the acidity being three I can name off the top of my head).
From that contrast sprang the main character, indeed the very plot, of She Walks in Beauty.
Beauty–and the dark side of beauty–is a theme that has cropped up at other times in my work. The most prominent other example is “The Most Beautiful Woman in the World”, one of the short stories in my broken fairy tale anthology, Shattered. There’s something about the “fairest of them all” fairy tale trope that calls to me.