Thanks so much to Susan Stec for being our guest today. Susan is the author of the Grateful Undead series, the Dark and Deadly Novella series, and is here today to talk about her YA fantasy, The Other F Word. Be sure to leave a comment for a chance to win a free ebook copy of this fun fae story!
Susan, if you could pick any fantasy world to live in, which would it be and why?
I have two choices:
I’d like to be a pixie and live among the fae. I love to laugh, and being a pixie trickster, all full of pesky fun, would be so amusing, especially since most humans would not be able to see me. I might let them hear me giggle, though. Still, it might be fun to let them see me, but you have to believe to see the fae, and then it’s just a wonder-filled second that is, later, usually explained away as something else.
My second choice would be to feel the forest as a shape shifter–probably a wolf—nose to the ground, taking up the hunt and being able to run, all lean, muscled, and agile, with an ability to scent my prey and stealthily follow. Roll on the ground, swim in a pond, and prance along a riverbed with no human inhibitions. Wild animals have a strong passion for the basics in life. I think werewolves take that passion with them into the real world.
What makes the fantasy world in your novel different from the regular world?
The setting is in Wandermere, a humanized fairy world where faelings are allowed to dress, live, and basically adapt any type of behavior from the other side of the portal. The plan was to acclimate two very special faelings to the behaviors of humans, enabling them to better interact in that world. But not everything on the fairy side of the portal is what it appears. The elders of Wandermere soon learn the other children, the ones they’ve deemed unimportant, have created a nightmare that will cause the extinction of their race and the death of the two Marked and Fated to save it.
What inspired this book?
I’ve always loved fairies; had dreams of the small wicked or helpful creatures running wild in our woods, lakes, homes, and gardens. I’d like to think they put the luck in our lucky situations, like being in the right place at the right time; or those karma kickbacks for our not so smart moves. Heck, I bet they’re responsible for missing socks in the dryer or misplaced keys, might even be why our cats get all wonky, jump, hiss and swipe at thin air for no apparent reason. Yep, very well could be fairies that create unexplained surprises or mini nightmares.
One day I was turning the pages of one of my Brian Frond or Judy Allen illustration books, can’t remember which, both are awesome, and I pondered the question, “What if fairies decided to dress and act like humans?”
The visuals made me laugh. Come on! How funny would a one inch fairy with wings, wearing jeans, a tee shirt and tennis shoes, rocking to an mp3 player, or texting on an iPhone be? Especially if they displayed some major attitude. As I began to write, I visualized the kids driving butterflies, centipedes, or other bugs to school, and the most unpopular girl getting stuck with a big ugly dragonfly that was not only directionally challenged, but ate other bug vehicles. From there I thought about a buzz (rave) where the popular kids meet to dance, and I wondered what would happen if someone spiked the honey and fairies began to disappear. That’s when a plot started to form.
What’s your process like when it comes to world-building? Any tips for other fantasy authors?
Research! Research! Research! And add as much as you can about what you know or have experienced.
With this book, I revisited a great deal of folk lore and myth, researched Disney movies, teen books, slang, and fads over the years. I wanted to create dialogue with unique slang and actions that could be peppered with myth, kid’s entertainment and human traits. I also wanted to bring bugs into my world; bug jargon, bug vehicles, and bug insults. I researched insects in Florida because my portal from the fairy world would lead into an area in Florida that I was familiar with. I mentally adapted everything to size, like an ordinary oak tree and what it would be like to live inside the tree, how a hollow would look from the inside out. What it would be like to be small enough to live in and around cypress knees on the edge of the water. How it would feel to drive a dragonfly, sit on a palmetto bush covered in Spanish moss, or skim mosquito larvae from a pond.
Tell us what The Other F Word is about in 25 words or less:
A fairy girl deals with intolerance, forbidden attraction, friendships, betrayal, and her race’s expectations.
Where can readers find out more about you and your books?
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text&field-keywords=susan+stec&x=14&y=23 https://www.facebook.com/GratefulUndead http://thegratefulundead.blogspot.com/2013/04/the-other-f-word.html
This month we’re doing the 7,7,7 challenge on the WOTI blog, would you like to participate?
Here are three sections from The Grateful Undead Series:
pg77, line 7 from Blood Sweat and Demon Tears: “And someone put some duct-tape across her mouth,” Warren ordered.
pg 7 line 7 Gator Baitin’: Christopher actually offed her, and then turned me. That won him a seat on our team of vamp-animal extinguishers.
Page 7 line 7 They’re so Vein: JoAnn’s eyes jumped to the mirror. She screeched and turned around in her seat. “You…you… you have big teeth! What the?
Great snippets, Susan! Thanks so much for being here. And now, tag, JA Garland, you’re next for the 7,7,7 challenge! Readers, don’t forget to leave a comment for a chance to win an e-copy of The Other F Word.