Tag Archives: fairies

Author Interview: Jeffrey Cook & Katherine Perkins

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-cookkatherine-perkinsJeffrey 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.

foulisfairJeffrey Cook
Maple Valley, WA

Katherine Perkins
Ontario, Ohio

FACEBOOK
TWITTER

Foul is Fair

Cover Artist: Clarissa Yeo

AMAZON

Author Interview: February Grace

When I asked February to describe herself, she said, “I’m a writer, artist, and poet who lives in Southeastern Michigan. I sing on key, play by ear, and am more than mildly obsessed with colors, clocks, and meteor showers.” All the ingredients you need to write a quirky and fun fantasy novel. She is also a fellow Nanowrimo author. It is with great pleasure that I introduce you all to February Grace here on No Wasted Ink.

Author February GraceHello! I’m February Grace. I’m married, I’m owned by one small white and gray kitty cat, and aside from writing I enjoy music (listening and singing along) collecting miniatures for my little pink doll house, painting, and making collages. I live with multiple disabilities, including visual impairment. I was lucky to get any of my sight back at all after going blind at the age of 37 due to a rare genetic condition. Six surgeries later, I am very grateful to be able to see anything at all.

When and why did you begin writing?

I was making up stories before I could hold a pen, but I really started writing in the fourth grade. A great teacher gave me an extra credit assignment: I was given permission to use the projectors at the library and I watched short clips of fairy tales. Then, I was told to rewrite the endings. I was hooked on writing after that and have been writing in one form or another ever since.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I think I thought I might be a writer back in 2008 when I was in the midst of working with a small, amazing group of friends, writing serial fiction online. I think I did some of my best writing back in those days—and the energy I got from working with them really made me feel like a writer. I think I first believed I was a writer when my first pieces were published in a literary magazine in March of 2012. When I held the magazine in my hands and saw my words in print, it was life-changing for me.

Can you share a little about your current book with us?

It’s a modern, romantic look behind the scenes at the lives of Fairy Godparents. It’s told through the eyes of Till Nesbitt, who has no idea that she is becoming a Fairy Godmother until she is reacquainted with her Great Aunt Tilda. Turns out Till was not only named after the woman, but shares something much more magical than a name with her: a recessive gene that is turning her, as she reaches her mid-twenties, into a Fairy Godmother.

Till’s education commences in the arts of the trade, with the help of an amazing mentor named Gus. Their relationship becomes complicated, and they have to decide whether or not they are going to risk the consequences of breaking the most important law in the Fairy Code by being together.

What inspired you to write this book?

I was wracking my brain for ideas for my next NaNoWriMo novel (yes, that is how this book started life, as a NaNo novel!) and I was actually half asleep when the thought crossed my mind that I wondered how Fairy Godmothers got certified. Then I wondered about their male counterparts. That was all it took—I was off and running.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I have to let the characters lead. When the writing is going well for me it’s not like I am making anything up, but just like I’m taking down dictation from someone telling me about events that really happened. I get to know my characters, more than create them. They tell the story to me— and I follow where they lead.

How did you come up with the title of this book?

The title OF STARDUSTcomes from a key scene in the novel: from dialog spoken by Gus, the main male character.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

This book is meant to entertain above all else, but I guess if there is a message it is twofold: one being that there are those in this life who sacrifice a lot to help make others’ lives better (even if they aren’t really Fairy Godparents) and two, that love is the most important thing there is. There is no greater ‘magic’ than the power of love.

Are experiences in this book based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Well, I can certainly relate to Till’s work schedule from past experience working in retail (including in a book store at one point) and I know what it is like to sacrifice a lot to make someone else’s dreams come true. But then, I think most parents do.

What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?

I would have to say Douglas Adams, because he was such an incredible writer and a fascinating person as well. He wasn’t shy about speaking his views on things, and he had such an amazing wit. He left this world much, much too soon.

If you had to choose, is there a writer would you consider a mentor? Why?

Perhaps not a mentor outright but I credit the small group I worked with between 2007 and 2011 with making me a much better writer, just by writing with me. It was a truly magical time for me as a writer, a time I know will never come again. As I said before, I really believe I did some of my best writing during those days.

Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?

Ida Jansson, who has a company called Amygdala Design, worked with my publisher Booktrope on this cover. I absolutely love it, she did an incredible job and it was a great collaboration because I was fortunate enough to be able to pick the art we started with myself. Then she completely transformed it, and the cover turned out better than I ever dreamed of. I am in love with this cover. I was lucky enough to have worked with her in the past, so when we needed an artist for this book I was quick to suggest her work to my publisher. It is always a wonderful experience working with Ida!

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Write more, that’s all. Just keep writing more. Write things that scare you, that surprise you, that make you cry and laugh out loud. Let your characters hold the reigns for a while, and see where it takes you. You never know what you could end up finding inside of yourself.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Yes—I want to say thank you! Thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone who has read, enjoyed, reviewed, mentioned, tweeted, or otherwise supported my first novel GODSPEED and now this one. I wish I could give you all a huge hug. I am thankful for the time that you spend with my characters, and when you send me notes telling me that you’ve become invested in them emotionally—that is the best thing ever. Thank you so much.

Of Stardust Book CoverFebruary Grace
Southeastern Michigan

FACEBOOK
TWITTER
GOODREADS

Publisher: Booktrope
Cover Artist: Ida Jansson

AMAZON
BARNES & NOBLE