Author Jeffrey Cook and his co-author/Editor Katherine Perkins are research nerds. Having been inspired to find out more by the books and comics they read as kids, they now love writing the kind of books that send people running to Google to look up the history, or mythology, or whatever. Please welcome them both to No Wasted Ink.
Jeffrey Cook lives in Maple Valley, WA with his wife and three large dogs. Katherine Perkins lives in Ontario, OH with her husband and one cat. Jeff was born in Boulder, CO, but basically spent the first half of his life all over North America. Katherine was born in Lafayette, LA, the cuisine of which she will defend on any field of honor, and saved most of her moving around for after graduate school. When not reading, researching, or writing, Jeff enjoys role-playing games and watching football, and Kate wonders if she left the stove on. Kate’s been Jeff’s book editor/website manager/etc. for years until she logically had to start being credited as a co-writer.
When and why did you begin writing?
In terms of storytelling, we both got something of an early start, particularly Jeff. When he was very small, he spent long rides in the car doing back-and-forth storytelling with his dad. By the time he was six, his mother says, he was declaring his intention to be an author.
Kate was pegged as a future writer by teachers in school, but had concentrated more on being a historian before she ended up a freelance editor, ad then working with Jeff.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Jeff’s been a writer for some time, having gotten poetry and professional journalism published many years ago, but considered himself an author in 2014, when he first sold a copy of Dawn of Steam: First Light to someone he didn’t know personally. The Fair Folk Chronicles are actually the first published books with Katherine’s name on the cover.
Can you share a little about your current book with us?
Foul is Fair is the first book of a Young Adult contemporary Fantasy series, the Fair Folk Chronicles. It draws a lot on mythology and folklore, especially Celtic and Hawaiian, but is set in modern-day Seattle, where a 16-year-old girl finds out her father is the Unseelie King (“What, like, ’80s David Bowie?”) and needs her help. Fortunately, she also has along a menehune BFF, a satyress rock star, and a disabled pixie with a service crow.
What inspired you to write this book?
Jeff woke up from one of his dreams again. They’ve been a jumping off point for a lot of books, by now. “Her name is Megan O’Reilly, and her ADHD is partly caused by her being half faerie.” Then it was time for us both to delve into research.
Do you have a specific writing style?
We tend to adjust style quite a bit to fit the content of what we’re writing, but admittedly, our reading a lot of comic books in younger days often shows through, with action and witty banter.
How did you come up with the title of this book?
Jeff, in focusing in on the Celtic mythology aspects of the book, really wanted to tie the whole series in with the idea of the “Fair Folk.” So each book in the series took a different use of the word ‘Fair’ to tie them all together, starting out with a Shakespeare reference. Appropriate enough, since there’s certainly a number of Shakespeare references throughout the books.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Various ideas are explored about assumption and perception and other things, but mostly we want to tell a good story.
Are experiences in this book based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
No, with the exception of the Fremont Solstice Festival in Seattle. Jeff really enjoys including places he’s been in books, but we don’t use real people.
What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?
- Mary Shelly, for the depth and richness of her work and for how ahead of her time she was.
- C.S. Lewis, because you never forget your first.
- Louis L’Amour, for his use of mythology and background, albeit not how he handles endings.
- Leslie Feinberg, author of Stone Butch Blues, solely for an incredibly valuable lesson. “What’s the most important thing you can be? Someone you can live with.”
- Terry Pratchett, for the combination of nonsense and common sense.
Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?
We knew we wanted pictures of the Four Lost Treasures of Ireland for the series. We had some concept art done by artist Christopher Kovacs that Katherine was very keen on, starting with the sword for Foul is Fair. The covers themselves were done by Clarissa Yeo, a professional artist who came well recommended,
Do you have any advice for other writers?
I, Jeff, got really lucky when Kate agreed to start editing for me. It’s been priceless having that additional voice, and the additional perspective has done a lot to make all of my books better. Where you can, find those other perspectives — in editing, beta reading, and general support — and listen to them. You’ll be better off for it.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
We hope you enjoy the story, and that you’ll leave a review.
Maple Valley, WA
Foul is Fair
Cover Artist: Clarissa Yeo