I can’t remember the first speculative fiction I read; Narnia, Middle Earth, Oz, and Wonderland were all places I frequently visited in my childhood. I seemed to like stories best when a normal person fell into an extraordinary place populated with extraordinary people and found they were extraordinary in their own right. This holds true for my writing — it’s true in Rings of Anubis, and true with my new release, Watermark.
Watermark is a story of the unseelie, of young Pip, a kelpie thrust into the human world for following her dark heart. But, there’s something more at hand, of course, and along her journey Pip encounters faces (and hearts) familiar to her. Otherworld, the land of fairies, is falling to ashes, and she may be able to save it — if she allows the human world to be consumed.
I knew I wanted to write about fairies, but not the sweet and sugary kind; I wanted my fairies to be darker, more in-line with things you’d find in Legend and the original Grimm stories. There would be light moments, of course — I have goblin pirates, after all! — but at its heart, Watermark is a story of not-so-nice-creatures doing awesome things.
My favorite fairies are complicated creatures; no one is black and white, but shades of gray that compel us into deeper stories that aren’t so easy.
Maleficent makes the list, because who didn’t want her to burn the world down as a dragon? The world didn’t need perfect princesses and white knights; it needed crows, bad-ass horns, and fire-spewing dragons. (I have not yet seen the Angelia Jolie version, but that’s in my stack!)
If Darkness, from Legend, can be considered a fairy, he’s on the list, too. Technically, he’s the devil, a fallen angel, but angels and fairies are kin if you ask me. Peter Pan and Tam Lin don’t make the list, but Tinker Bell certainly does. Marie Brennan’s urban fantasy fairy series, The Onyx Court, is full of fairy stories turned on their heads (a fairy court beneath the English court? Sweet!), and I always loved Titiana and Oberon (the latter of which plays a tiny part in the history of Rings of Anubis — hopefully I can tell that story some day!). I also still really like Willow. There are Brownies in that film, remember!
Can the King of Goblins be considered a fairy? David Bowie’s iconic role in Labyrinth remains a staunch favorite — and not just for those pants. Those eyes! That hair! And he’s got a way with crystal balls, doesn’t he? Dance, magic, dance!
Who are your favorite fairies? Dark, light, both, leave a comment on this post with your favorites, and you’ll be entered in a drawing to win a copy (epub or mobi) of WATERMARK. We’ll close the drawing midnight EST October fourth. October…a great month for dark fairies…
Watermark goodies to start Watermark Week off properly:
- Lawrence M. Schoen hosts me on his blog feature, Eating Authors
- Read the first chapter of Watermark here!
- Find an exclusive excerpt over dis way, thanks to Anna C. Bowling
And where can you find Watermark? All the usual places, too: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and…oh yeah, THIS POST. Comment! Fairies! Win!)
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I’ve always liked pookas, from Harvey when I was small right on through Emma Bull’s pooka character in War for the Oaks (and the other fairies in that book, too!)
I’m also fond of Tinker Bell as she appears in the movies based around her — how could I not love an enthusiastic engineering geeky fairy?
I always loved the iele (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iele). Although they mostly are not considered evil I personally like more their dark side. And there are some very dark parts associated with the iele indeed. After all, I would not like to be caught in their dance.
Did you say dark fairies, kelpies and goblin pirates? I am already bought. 🙂
I’m not sure of the intended plot of Dvorak’s Water Goblin, but every time I hear the piece, it conjures a different fabulous story for me.
My favourite fairy is Puck. Starting out as an ordinary house spirit, he has been personalised by writers from Shakespeare to Kipling and Gaiman.
England and the UK need his spirit of misrule now!
You’ve mentioned a few of my great loves — Maleficent, since I was tiny, and the Goblin King. (My parents knew they had a strange one when I wanted to be Maleficent when I grew up.) Queen Mab in the Dresden Files is lovely and terrible. Ravus in Holly Black’s Valiant. Naganya in Catherynne Valente’s Deathless. But I think my favorite bad fairy, when she is a fairy at all, is Baba Yaga. I love the chicken-legged hut, the danger, the way she twists and changes in every story — that she can be monster and kind grandmother and protector all in one.
The best evil fairies are the ones who are also dangerously mad–the unpredictable villains, the casually insane, the sometimes-good-by-accident. So, the gentleman with the thistle-down hair from Jonathan Strange, obviously.