Welcome Guest Blogger, Danyelle Leafty:-)
Hi Susan! I want to thank you for hosting me today. It’s great to be here. :)
All stories are inspired by something, and inspiration can be a funny thing. Sometimes it strikes like lightning, and sometimes it flows in an inexorable current like warm molasses. Soft and gooey, leaving no survivors. And sometimes it comes as a beady-eyed look boring into your brain, an imaginary person with such a forceful personality that your consciousness hastily makes room for her.
That was how I met Nerissa, the fairy godmother in THE FAIRY GODMOTHER DILEMMA.
I was working on a story about a girl that got turned into a goose on accident (her brother was very sorry), when Nerissa appeared, arms crossed, wand clenched in her hand.
“You know what the problem with DIDs is?” she demanded. “They never look back, or say thank you. I’ve fluttered my wings to the bone, darting from one DID to the next, and I can count on one hand how many have stopped to say thank you. One hand.” She held it up for emphasis.
Luckily for me, my subconscious took pity on me, and explained that DID was fairy godmother-speak for Damsel in Distress. But from the look on Nerissa’s face, there were a number of damsels who were about to be in distress.
“Can being a fairy godmother really be all that bad?” I wondered. (Yes, I have been known to wonder out loud inside my head. O:))
“Oh, yes,” she assured me. “I do all the work, and get none of the credit. No one appreciates me!”
It was here that her story really took root. I think we’ve all experienced this feeling before. When we feel overworked, underpaid, and unappreciated. We know, deep down, that the things we’ve been doing are worth it. But sometimes life gets hard and we need the extra reassurance that we matter. This was a story that needed to be told.
I just had no idea, at first, that she would handle her problem by trying to embrace the art of wicked fairy godmothering. (This all happens in the third book of the series, so no worries. She’s 100% good in book one.) If people weren’t going to appreciate you, why not go all out and pick a profession that people don’t appreciate anyway.
Nerissa never does anything by halves.
But what intrigued even more than the story of a rogue fairy godmother was the idea that despite her worst intentions, every turns out well. It didn’t matter how hard she tried to derail Happily Ever Afters, they still came thundering through—complete with sunsets, white steeds, and lovebirds too starry-eyed to notice the fuming evil fairy.
Because no matter how she fought it, Nerissa couldn’t change her fundamental nature. By virtue of being herself, she inspired people to find the strength and courage to fight against the odds. To overcome all obstacles. To fight for, and attain, their Happily Ever After.
How infuriating that would be, to try so hard to be a force of destruction only to foster the growth of wide meadows and butterflies bunny rabbits. That she was glowering at me only served make me even more determined to capture her story. No story worth its salt allows its characters to be comfortable. A good story arises out of conflict, and from the look of her, this fairy godmother was a tangled knot of conflict.
I set her story aside for a time, because I wanted to finish the one I was working on. And then another story caught my eye, so I wrote that one too. Only after about two years did I realize that the story of the girl turned goose, wasn’t about the girl at all. Not really. No. That story was about Nerissa, and what happened to the one girl she failed. The one girl that didn’t earn her happily ever after. And the story after that wasn’t about the goose girl’s brother. Nope, it was about Nerissa’s penance, because she eventually realized that a life of crime only irritated her even more.
So what I was left with was a number of holes to fill in to complete Nerissa’s character arc.
I realized that I would have to write a story *before* Nerissa went bad, and before the DID she’d failed wreaked the havoc she brought about in the second book. Then I’d need to tell the story of Nerissa’s foray into the wicked fairy godmothering world. After that, I needed to tell the story of redemption for her DID and for herself.
THE FAIRY GODMOTHER DILEMMA is the first in the series in answer to a fairy godmother with a diamond-bright gaze and no-nonsense attitude. I hope I do her story justice, because she knows where I live . . .
Danyelle Leafty writes MG and YA fantasy. In her spare time, she collects dragons, talking frogs, and fairy godmothers. She can be found discussing the art of turning one's characters into various animals, painting with words, and the best ways to avoid getting eaten by dragons on her blog. Her serial novel THE FAIRY GODMOTHER DILEMMA can be found here. You can contact her here.
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"Keep reading and dreaming"