I actually don't recall the thought process behind most of this story: unlike most of mine, it mainly developed in the writing. I got to a certain point, I made a decision, I kept going ... there are two or three twists in the tale that I really enjoyed creating.
However, I can remember how the whole thing got started, and that was with an exercise from The 3AM Epiphany. The exercise was (I think) to reveal information about a person or history through a piece of clothing. I chose a shoe, and the six hundred words I wrote (later pared down) much later became the opening of this story.
This story made its first stop at Sword & Sorceress last year - I wonder that the editor (if she paid attention to these things) doesn't think I'm obsessed with assassins, given my first submission this year. On the other hand, it's more likely I've been labeled as obsessed with arctic environments: three, count them, three to that market alone. There's probably a little truth to that. On the other hand, I write plenty of non-arctic stories, those just happen to be the ones inclined in the sword and sorcery direction.
As anyone who knows me ... well, knows ... I stink at titles. Ergo I sort of slapped "In These Shoes?" on it as I was writing in reference to a Kirsty MacColl song. Unfortunately, it kept sticking because I couldn't think of anything better. I lost the question mark early on, but title is now final.
This has always been one of my favorites. I have a soft spot in my heart for the action combined with a very (I hope) emotional core.