Today I’m hosting an interview with Charlotte Babb, author of the Maven Fairy Godmother series.
1) When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
I was nine. I read Louisa Alcott’s Little Women and fell in love with Jo March. I wrote a story when I was in second grade about a family of cardinals.
But I let a lot of people talk me out of writing as a living—be a teacher they said, you can make a living at that, and it’s a good job, upwardly mobile from the mill workers of my grandmother’s generation, and the office work my mom did. So I was in my forties before I did any serious writing, other than a poem here and there.
2) What inspired you to write Maven Fairy Godmother: Through The Veil?
I was telling someone about teaching in a community college setting. I said something to the effect that I felt like a fairy godmother with a classroom full of frogs and toads who wanted to be princes and princesses…it was about transformation.
As I did the fairy tale research for the background, I realized that there are no stories for older women—we are seen as feeble grandmothers or evil witches or stepmothers. So I wanted to tell that story and show how older women still need to deal with their own needs and desires, and help other women not to make mistakes out of mass consciousness and peer pressure.
3) How many books will there be in the Maven Fairy Godmother series?
I have two more outlined, That Darn Maven and After Midnight, and a fourth which does not yet have a working title. I also want to write one about Silicon Jones, called Seven Deadly Dwarves.
4) How did you come up with the character ‘Maven’? Is she inspired by someone you know, multiple people or just made up?
In the beginning, she looked a lot like me, but I’ve changed as the book has grown, and so has she. I know a number of women who are in her shoes and she has taken on some of their traits. One thing about her that is different from me, that I chose arbitrarily, is that she likes beer, while I don’t.
5) How long does it usually take you to write a book?
It took a decade to write the first one. I’m hoping to have good draft manuscript before the end of this year for the second, and then by next summer for the third.
6) What’s your writing schedule like? How do you find time in your daily life to write?
Daily writing is a challenge. I work full time as a web designer, and I teach online classes, so if there’s no keyboard in front of me, I don’t know where I am. But I write early in the morning before work and on weekends.
7) What did you find most challenging about writing Through The Veil?
I was learning craft along with figuring out the story and sorting out my life, which has some parallels with Maven’s. I never came quite as close to being homeless, but I was widowed and did declare bankrupcty just before I started writing. It was a wake-up call to write now or never.
8) Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Don’t listen to advice from people who don’t write. They don’t know if you can make it or not. They don’t know how to tell you what is wrong with something even if they can tell something is wrong. If you want to write, write. Write a lot. Read a lot. Then write more. You learn by doing. Find some other writers at a level or two above you, and get critique. Then cry, and write more.
9) Are you currently working on something new? And if so, could you tell us more about it?
That Darn Maven is Fiona’s revenge for what Maven does with her at the end of Through the Veil: She turns Maven into a cat. Maven must grant three wishes to get her human form back, but she’s not a Puss in Boots who can talk and walk upright. More difficulties arrive when she realizes that no one has any hope for making a wish, and that something is just not right. Each character is the other person in a fairy tale—the miller is the older brother of the one who was given Puss in Boots—he hates cats. Ward is the son of Jack who climbed the beanstalk and then disappeared with all the money, and Mama Bear is a single mom now. It’s twisted, but I think it is funny and has a different spin.
About Maven Fairy Godmother: Through The Veil
Broke, busted and despairing over the mess her life has turned out to be, middle-aged Maven Morrigan is offered a job as a fairy godmother, a one-time-only last chance to make something of herself and make the world a better place.
Not knowing who to trust: her boss, her slithery familiar, or her own Bump of Direction, she has to find her personal power by relying on herself, her real world failures, and her sense of the absurd, to survive in this imaginary garden with real trolls in it so that her clients get their happily ever after.
When her third-grade teacher allowed her access to the fiction room at the school library, Charlotte discovered Louisa Alcott and Robert Heinlein, an odd marriage of the minds. These two authors have had the most influence on her desire to share her point of view with the world and to explore how the world might be made better.
In the meantime, Charlotte has fallen prey to steampunk and the gears are turning…corset, bustle and magic, oh my! She brings to any project a number of experiences, including work as a technical writer, gasket inspector, cloth store associate, girl Friday, and telephone psychic.
She has studied the folk stories of many cultures and wonders what happened to ours. Where the stories are for people over 20 who have survived marriage, divorce, child-rearing, education, bankruptcy, and widowhood? Here.
Charlotte loves Fractured Fairy Tales and writes them for your enjoyment.