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.
Hello! 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.
Cover Artist: Ida Jansson