I’ve always been drawn to the supernatural. I was an avid fantasy reader in high school, thought I’d found nirvana when I discovered Anne Rice in 1989, and I honestly, truly believe in magic. That’s why when I wrote my first young adult book, The Toadhouse Trilogy: Book One, it was only natural that I’d include fairies. Vampires, werewolves, and mermaids are awesome, don’t get me wrong, but The Toadhouse needed fairies to work.
When I first started researching the book, my knowledge of fairies was minimal. I owned and was captivated by the drawings in Froud and Lee’s deluxe edition of Faeries, and Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream remained one of my favorite plays of all time. But who to turn to for the history of fairies? I’ll tell you who: Katharine Mary Briggs (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katharine_Mary_Briggs). She’s an incredible woman who earned her PhD after WWII and spent most of her life researching fairies. Here are some facts from her book An Encyclopedia of Fairies:
· Fairies are a proud, strong, long-lived race—similar to Tolkein’s representation of elves— that avoid humans when they can.
· In the Lowlands of Scotland, Fairyland was called “Elfame.”
· Ash trees, rowan trees, daisy chains, and iron are protection against fairies.
· Cramps are often the penalty for annoying the fairies.
· Those born on Christmas Day cannot see spirits.
· Those humans who use fairy ointment can penetrate the glamour of a fairy and see them as they really are.
· The Endimion are the diminutive fairies, sometimes called pixies.
There’s so much more. The book really is set up like an encyclopedia, and I got lost in reading it. I used much of it to craft the rules and structure of The Toadhouse world, and I’m excited to learn even more as I begin writing the second book in the trilogy. Please read below for a description of the first book in the trilogy as well as a link to an excerpt. If you have any questions or comments about fairies, please add them. One of the commenters will be randomly chosen to win a Kindle version of the book.
The Toadhouse Trilogy: Book One (http://www.jesslourey.com/toadhouse/ttt.html)
Aine (pronounced "Aw-nee") believes herself to be a regular teenager in 1930s Alabama, but when a blue-eyed monster named Biblos attacks, she discovers that the reclusive woman raising her isn't really her grandmother, that fairies are real, and that she's been living inside a book for the past five years. With her blind brother, Spenser, she flees the pages of the novel she's called home, one terrifying step ahead of Biblos' black magic. Her only chance at survival lies in beating him to the three objects that he desires more than life.
As she undertakes her strange and dangerous odyssey, Aine must choose between a family she doesn't remember and her growing attraction to a mysterious young man named Gilgamesh. Only through treacherous adventures into The Time Machine, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, A Tale of Two Cities, and the epic Indian saga The Ramayana will she learn her true heritage and restore the balance of the worlds... if she can stay alive.
“Lourey's wonderful way with words will whisk readers away to an amazing new world!” --Anthony and Agatha Award winning author Chris Grabenstein
Thank you to VampChix for hosting me!
Jess Lourey is the author of The Toadhouse Trilogy: Book One, the first in a young adult series that celebrates the danger and excitement of reading. She also writes the critically-acclaimed Murder-by-Month Mysteries for adults with a sense of humor. She's been teaching writing and sociology at the college level since 1998. When not gardening, writing, or hanging out with her wonderful kids and dorky dog, you can find her reading, watching SyFy-channel original movies, and dreaming big.