Tuesday, November 17, 2015

No sugarcoating.

A few weeks ago (or maybe it was months ago??), I was talking to my mom about my book. I love sharing my ideas with her and talking about my inspirations and such, but I never really tell her the full idea or plot of my book and I don't usually let her read any chapters until I've completed the entire book. Sometimes though, I get so excited about what I'm doing and writing about, that I like to sit and talk about them with her, and I thought it would be kind of neat to share that with you.

I was sitting at the kitchen table, and had just finished my lunch. Somehow the topic of fairies came up (for which I was proudly rambling on about) and I began telling her about the fairies from my book. As some of you are probably aware, the book is set in 1483 around the historical tragedy of the supposed murder of Edward V and his brother, Richard of Shrewsbury by their Uncle, Richard III. I told my mom that what I really wanted for this story was for it to read like an old fairy tale and have some of that same mysterious and almost darker qualities that the best of stories have. My favorite times in history are the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, not only for the history but also because the stories I love usually take place sometime during the the Middle Ages. If I could, I'd walk inside a Blue Box and visit every decade during these periods! Point is, this particular event that I chose just about marks the spot for the end of the Middle Ages, so it's a perfect time, not to mention that I've always been intrigued with the story of the Princes in the Tower. A tower, a possible murder, a dark mystery. What really happened? It had the making of a great story. I can't even imagine the terrors and horror of the actual event if the rumors weren't just rumors. Those rumors that Richard III has his nephews murdered. There's no solid evidence that he did this, but nearly 200 years later bones were found under a staircase in the Tower - bones thought to be that of the princes.

My mom knows that I've never read a book in the "horror genre" and never will. I do however, enjoy reading something that makes me go, "dude, that's creepy!" as I'm smiling at down at the pages in my hand. When I began writing Beyond The Veil, I had a sort of ghost story in mind. Nothing too drastic, but maybe a couple scenes that made your skin tingle. And then I thought about the Tower of London. I mean, there's something already pretty cool about the title, and then I thought about some of the old stories that revolve around it. I thought that a Haunted Tower would be pretty cool. And then as Hollyhocks was still developing in my mind, I had decided on the perfect historical mystery to tie in with my book; the Princes in the Tower. It's something I was always going back to and reading over and over again in our old set of encyclopedias. England is so filled with history and mystery, I find it's past to be a perfect setting for a fantasy novel.

I've often said that it felt like I was writing an Encyclopedia of Fairies for the longest time instead of a fantasy novel. I know the authors and movie writers can do what they want and write about what they want and make mermaids and other fairies seem very cute friendly creatures. And that's ok...personally, I don't care for that all the time. I told my mom, when I have kids, I'm not sugarcoating anything. I'm going to read the Grimm's Fairy Tales amongst other great stories and guess what? Humpty Dumpty was NOT put back together with "tape and glue" as a certain cartoon would have my niece believing. When Little Red Riding Hood observed what a large mouth "Grandmother" had, the Wolf didn't start laughing like a child at play...he ate her! My mom may have a point when she said that they make the cartoons age appropriate. I think I make a better point though when I said, "don't tell a classic story if you have to change it so much it's no longer that classic story." 

So anyway, I've been trying my best to use some of the original myths surrounding the fairy folk, and I know that means that if Hollyhocks is a Sprite, she would really have no reason to be a part of the human world. Originally I wanted to write about her and only her; no friends or companions. And then I realized something's wrong with that: Hollyhocks is innocent by nature. A quote from my book says, 

"She had never thought about right and wrong before. Everything she had ever known, everything she had ever done was good and right." 

How was a creature as pure as Hollyhocks ever going to find herself in a place as dark as the Tower? How was I going to get her beyond the veil, how was I going to get her to Edward? Here's where I get excited and probably started smiling like a little kid; I told my mom that that's when I decided to add a Pillywiggin and a Pixie which was actually way more fun than I thought it would have been! More fairy research, more characters, more going on all around. According to old stories, both of these fairies had some sort of human interaction. I find it very interesting that dancing and singing and weddings, these are not things the fairies invented, but rather they're things that the fairies observed the humans doing and then only perfected them and made them more elaborate and so beautiful like something from another world. Anyhow,  I needed these other fairies to somehow show Hollyhocks the human world and eventually that would lead her to Edward.

By the way, one very interesting book on fairies I've enjoyed reading as part of my research is Arthur Spiderwick's Field Guide To The Fantastical World Around You by Tony DiTerlizzie and Holly Black.  If you're into that sort of thing, you should check it out! ;)
What do you guys think if in the near future I posted a little bit about the fairies from my book and what I've learned about fairies in general? I'm not going to have a "voting poll" or anything that says "vote yes or no", but if you'd like to see something like that, please let me know in the comments and thanks so much for reading! ;)


  1. I'm in! I want to know more about these fairies of yours as well as more about fairy mythology in general. Fascinating stuff. I've heard of Arthur Spiderwick's Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You, but have never read it. There were a couple of fantasy novels I read in college that I loved, but unfortunately their titles are escaping me. Argh! Anyway, one of them was a little on the darker side and I think you would have liked it. :-)

  2. I'd love to hear more about the fairies! Keep up the good work! :)

  3. I love, love, love, fairies and I would love to hear all about the fairies in your book. I think that would be totally awesome! I really am enjoying your blog, keep em coming!

  4. Tell me more about fairies!!!!!....good article btw!

  5. Looking forward to reading more about the fairies!!

  6. Girl you are really talented already have probably guessed who I am but for some clues " MINTY" oh look you probably know exactly who I am well I would love to read more about your fairies!!! You are great at writing keep posting I love to read bye, you know who:)