Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Fairytale and Fantasy in My Three Worlds

As the three short stories—The Girl Who Watched for Elves, The Girl Who Dreamed of Red Shoes, and The Girl Who Couldn't Sing—that serve as the prelude to my new Once Upon a Time Today collection, are being released, I wanted to share my three worlds: The one for The Daughter of Light, the one for the three short stories, and the one for the Once Upon a Time Today collection. Each is distinct, and purposeful, to their particular stories.

The Daughter of Light Trilogy
The Daughter of Light cosmology is the most complex of my worlds, and includes the mortal and enchanted Worlds. The mortal world is real, it's ours, and it spans hundreds of years. The enchanted world is hard-core fantasy. All made up. However, I used the borders of time and space, between the two worlds, to shift time. While things in the series are always "present day" in the enchanted world, any creature from Faerie can travel to any time in the mortal world—as long as that time has already been lived and/or is currently inhabited by mortals, i.e. creatures from Faerie cannot travel into our world's unknown future. The hitch is: creatures from Faerie cannot travel back in time. Once they've traveled to a particular point in history, in the mortal world, they can't ever travel back to a prior period in human history. So time between the mortal world and enchanted world is fluid—to a degree.

I wrote it that way because The Tale of Melusine (which the entire series spins off of) is a 14th century French fairy tale, but I didn't want Melia's forays into the Mortal World to be strictly historical. I wanted her to be able to visit more contemporary times. So while Melia and her sisters visit their father in Ireland in the 1300s, and her older sister, Melusine, marries and lives with a French nobleman of that time in Half Faerie, Melia also travels to the early 1900s to find Gabriela in Texas, and to find Lola in California in 1998 in Half Mortal, and will, finally, enter our present time, in the last book in the series, War & Grace. Then, there's that nefarious character obsessed with bringing the twenty-first century to Faerie in Half Faerie

I'm a huge fan of The Lord of the Rings. To give us verisimilitude, Tolkien wrote his Middle Earth historically. It's a time period that existed, but it's in the distant past. I also wanted to create a sense of verisimilitude in The Daughter of Light, but I decided to create my enchanted world parallel to ours, existing in tandem with Planet Earth.

In creating my enchanted world, and the faeries and creatures that live there, I did a lot of research about faeries. I didn't like a lot of the traditional faerie lore. It didn't suit the faeries that I wanted to write about, so I decided that most faerie lore, as chronicled by mortals, would be recognized as fictitious, by the creatures that inhabited my enchanted world.

For example, in the mortal world, Melia's older sister is the famous sister—the legendary Melusine—but in the enchanted world, Melia—and her younger sister—Plantine steal the show—and for very different reasons. Plantine, because she triggers an apocalyptic event, and Melia, well, Daughter of Light is her story… so, sorry, no spoilers!

The Girl Who Believed in Fairy Tales
The three short stories in The Girl Who Believed in Fairy Tales that comprise the prelude to my Once Upon a Time Today collection are set in our world. You will find places in them that actually exist! Austin and Houston, Texas; San Diego and Escondido, California. However, they are written as fairy tales, so you'll also find overriding elements of symbolism and archetypes, in the references to the tarot (The Girl Who Watched for Elves), astrology (The Girl Who Couldn't Sing), and other fairy tales (The Girl Who Dreamed of Red Shoes).

The Once Upon a Time Today Collection
Finally, in the this collection, the world is also our world, but it's a timeless one. Therefore, in that collection all locations will be created ones, i.e., you won't find Hollywood, but you might find Glitter City (Beautiful Beautiful). These stories will be retellings of fairy tales drawn from the oeuvre of Hans Christian Anderson and Brothers Grimm. There will be no real world references. In Half Mortal, Jade belts out an Alanis Morissette song, but there will be no such name dropping in the Once Upon a Time Today collection. Although, you will find smartphones and the internet.

I created these three worlds in different ways for a reason. In Daughter of Light, I wanted to blend imagination and reality, to the highest degree possible. In the three short stories, I wanted to spin reality into a fairy tale. In the novellas, in the Once Upon a Time Today collection, I wanted to create the timelessness of the classic fairy tale, but with a contemporary sensibility.

The Numinous Moment
All in all, I'm always seeking that space between human and divine, ego and Self, conscious and unconscious, imagination and reality. In my own life, the moments I've lived in those spaces, have been the most numinous. (Numinous meaning spiritual—sorry, I had to use that word, because I just love it, and because it has the sense of shimmering and light those moments possess!)

Those are the moments, the opportunities, and the possibilities, that I strive to create in all my work.
Thus, my three worlds, and the sense of magic and enchantment in each.

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