Bad Fairy

About Bad Fairy: This is the Briar Rose/Sleeping Beauty story told from the point of view of an unlikely protagonist: The bad fairy herself.

Here's a modified blurb from one of my query letters:

What happened before Sleeping Beauty slept?

Delia Morningstar is a precocious and inquisitive half-fairy girl whose great talent and drive mark her for a promising future. But she has some peculiar interests: What is she learning when she dabbles in forbidden "dark" magick, and why does she have such an interest in the afterlife?

Shunned by popular society, she struggles to make her own living, but when one of her attempts to help her kingdom is misunderstood, she is held responsible for a curse on baby Aurora, her kingdom's beloved princess. Now forced into hiding, Delia must live in disguise as a typical fairy and continue to work toward a surprising goal: Saving the princess from death. While tweaking destiny from behind her mask, Delia discovers many unexpected aspects of both herself and her enemies. Though she ultimately succeeds in her original goal, she finds that dealing with who she's become is a battle she's only beginning.

History: The first Bad Fairy novel was completed in 2003, and it took me about five weeks to write. It was based on a short story of the same name, which I wrote in 2000. The novel version expanded and changed so that the short story and the novel ended up having little in common. When I attempted to pursue publication on this novel, I got a lot of great responses from agents (80% of those I queried requested the partial, and two wanted to see the full manuscript), but after a good prospect escalated through the submission process ("yes" on the query letter, "yes" on the partial, request for exclusive consideration and marketing questions from one agent), only to be shot down over its length, I decided to re-conceptualize this one as a trilogy.

The original was over 250,000 words, but it was still just ONE story. Recreating it as a trilogy wasn't just a matter of breaking it up. I had to fully redevelop and reimagine the events so that along with the overarching story I would have a satisfying tale contained in each volume--something with a beginning, middle, and end, with a conflict and resolution. The first volume, relating the story of my protagonist's childhood and education, was completed in 2011 and re-edited at the suggestion of a literary agent so it would be a more marketable length of 115,000 words. The agent who made this suggestion eventually ended up offering me representation, and I accepted. It is now on submission to publishers and hopefully you'll see it in bookstores soon.

Interesting elements of the book: Delia is a somewhat cerebral character who takes herself very seriously and is quite dramatic. The book literally begins with her birth--she narrates it for you--and takes you through her years of magickal education. Delia is precocious, so she's much younger than the other students in her class and she has a lot of social issues, so those are explored along with her exploration of the subject matter. She uses magick differently than other fairies, and she's interested in aspects of it that many of them find repulsive. She has a close relationship with her mother, but even she doesn't understand Delia very well. Delia does eventually forge some friendships, though there's a definite distance between her and the other members of her team, so the story gets to examine their experience of trying to love a misunderstood person and what happens when they can't. Racial prejudice gets discussed a bit as Delia is not a full-blooded fairy and faces some snubbing from people who think those with human blood shouldn't be in magick school.

Delia's idealism as she tries to define her own path is both inspiring and kind of disappointing, because it gets her in trouble. Many readers have loved the elementals chapters, which explore the fairies' relationship with the four elements. And, of course, readers have liked trying to find familiar elements from the Sleeping Beauty stories they've heard; in this book, the most obvious carry-over is that Delia meets (and makes enemies with) three "good" fairies. . . .

Key words and subgenres for this book: FANTASY: Fairy tale retelling, medieval period fantasy, Sleeping Beauty, fairies, magic, magick, dark fantasy, reincarnation, elemental magic, identity issues, quirky narrators, epistolary, autobiography (character).

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Acknowledgments: The credits for folks who have contributed editing and advice
See a concept sketch
Character Sketches
Fan Art
Bad Fairy Tarot: Art and explanations from a Tarot deck I made for a friend with a Bad Fairy theme.