Weaving together the threads that make up my passion for the written word…as an author, editor, and follower of The Word.
Help us get to know you better! What do you write, and how do you describe yourself as an author?
I write fantasy, steampunk and science fiction, a continuum, if you will, of speculative fiction. What if, and then what if, and again, if that happened? My current WIP is set in an alternate North American history where in the 1850s, the 12 colonies have loosely connected as British America 75 years after a failed revolution. Slavery has been abolished, at least in name, by the Empire led by Queen Charlotte, daughter of the Regent and eventual King William. World building is great fun, as is the research into the true events of this timeline. My first novel is a romp through a number of stock fairy tales where my protagonist, Maven, down and out in middle age, gets a chance to redeem her life as a fairy godmother. She has her own ideas about who should get a wish, and how a wish should be granted, which does not please the Fairy Godmother Superior. The fate of Faery may hang in the balance if they do not find common ground.
On occasion I even delve into mainstream or Southern fiction, that being my life story, the mine all writers use to find our golden nuggets. I always remember to change the names, the dates, and the sequence of events, even when they really did happen. I describe myself as an author with no qualifiers. I hope soon to be a prolific author, as a number of stories are clamoring for me to finish the WIP, 20 Hours to Charles Town (due for release in late summer 2015), so that I can get back to them and get them out on the web. Despite working two jobs, I am learning how to write every day, at least two pages, and how to stay calm when the work is going slowly.
Of all the characters you’ve created, which one do you wish you could hang out with in real life and why?
Azaha is a dragon of great age and sagacity who has a mild interest in the affairs of mere humans, especially since her errant son is married to one, Princess Vivienne. Maven, the protagonist of my first novel, encounters her several times, and gets her help on at least one occasion. First, it would be fun to see her hoard, and the illusions she casts over it, although through Maven’s eye, I have seen glimpse of it both ways. I’d like to chat with her over tea at the Twilight Lounge, and perhaps see if she and Belle, the proprietress, might discuss what it is real and what is not, both of them having traveled more than one of the multiverses. While a dragon’s life seems very long to us ephemeral humans, I imagine that it does not seem so to them. I’d like to know her thoughts on that.
What innermost passion drives your writing, and what do you hope your readers feel or experience when they read your work?
I write the stories I enjoy reading, stories about people who face that happens after the first blush of sex and love’s last kiss. My innocence is long gone, though I am working to regain it in a wise way. Where are the stories about people who are facing the far side of the cusp of middle age—there are few stories for people over forty these days, but many Boomers and even the Silent Generation survive—and read.
First, I hope my readers laugh at my characters’ dilemmas, and then at themselves as they recognize themselves. Then I hope readers will feel a sense that they matter, that their hopes and dreams are still alive and worth working toward, even if they have lost a bit of fairy dust in the meantime. My deepest hope is that someone will read my work and be inspired to do now whatever it is that person dreams of doing. No matter how many times one has been told that the dream is impractical, not possible to make a living at, or whatever other dissuasions have been heaped up on the heart’s desire, to strike out on the path and do it anyway, not waiting 40 years to start.
A dead cellphone calls with a job offer and a promise of dragons. Imagine if Terry Pratchett sat down with Kathy Bates to make up fractured fairy tales for Edward Everett Horton to read aloud: you’d get Maven Fairy Godmother: Through The Veil. Down and out, Maven Morrigan is ready to give up what’s left of her self-esteem for a cup of coffee when her last chance to redeem her life comes as a job offer to be a fairy godmother. But Faery is shrinking, the other fairy godmothers have disappeared, and nothing she does turns out right. How can she put together the happily ever after each of her clients wants with her boss standing in her way?
Maven Fairy Godmother: Through The Veil is fast, fun read that shows that none of us is ever old enough to know better as we try to wish for we think what will make us happy.
“Be careful what you ask for,” Maven said, “You just might get it.”
The girl stared at Maven for a moment. She held up her fingers and started counting. “I just want to have (one) the fabulous, romantic evening with (two) the beautiful clothes and (three) the lovely music and (four) the elegant food I didn’t have to cook.” Wistful hope shone on her face even behind the calculations of exactly what kinds of fun girls just want to have. She stuck out her thumb and added, “I was very careful.”
“You asked for it.” Maven wondered how a fairy godmother cast her spell. She hoped the wand would work, but in a dream, what could go wrong? “I will provide the clothes and the coach and the whole kit, cat and caboodle. If you like what you see, then go for the prince and make yourself happy. If not, then come back home and decide what you want. You have until midnight before it all goes away. At the twelfth bong: busted.”
“I’m ready.” The girl closed her eyes, held her breath, and stood very still.
How to grant a wish? The Bump suggested bopping the girl over the head, preferably with a broom handle. Maven swished the wand, but nothing happened. There was a song in the movie, but she couldn’t remember how it went. “Boopbetty Boopbetty Do!”
The girl opened her eyes again. “What? Do you need something for the magic…mice? A pumpkin?”
“Bring them on.” The girl ought to wash her face, too. But if Maven had magic for horses and coaches, a bath should be no sweat. Maven never cast a spell before, but she’d written affirmations, meditations and invocations. She’d soaked her head and sunk her bankbook in all flavors of Manifest your Mojo workshops trying to make some sense of her life. Maybe they’d work if she did them for someone else.
Charlotte Henley Babb began writing as soon as she could hold a piece of chalk and scribble her name. Growing up in the red mud and sweet tea Carolinas, she was a voracious reader with widely diverse interests ranging from the classic folk and fairy tales to sci-fi writers like Terry Pratchett and Robert Heinlein. She brings to any project a number of experiences, including work as a web designer, high school teacher, college instructor, technical writer, gasket inspector, cloth store associate, girl Friday, and telephone psychic.
Her first novel, Maven Fairy Godmother: Through the Veil, won the 2014 Sharp Writ Book Award for Sci-fi/Fantasy and an honorable mention in the 2014 National Federation of Press Women Communications Contest for adult novels. Her second novel, a steampunk story of espionage and political intrigue set in an alternate 19th century U.S., is scheduled for release in late summer 2015.
Maven Fairy Godmother: Through the Veil
These stories are also available separately:
Facebook author page: http://facebook.com/charlotte.henley.babb
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