For this week's blog post, we have something really exciting to tell everyone! We were able to get in touch with Natalie Pinter, the award winning author of The Fragile Keepers. There were some questions that we were curious to ask her, and we're happy to share what she had to say with everyone!
The Fragile Keepers is a whimsical tale of magical adventures and creatures of mythology mixed with a dash of darkness. Sounds like the perfect recipe for a great read if you ask me! The story features two main characters Andre & Ben, who end up finding a mysterious mythological being right in their own back yard. After discovering this creature who resembles a girl (but with wings), they quickly realize that they must keep her a secret. How would everyone in their town react to see a small womanly figure with wings?
Shae, the winged creature, who was from a mysterious place, brought gifts with her to this new and unfamiliar land - and she granted those gifts to Andre & Ben. As many of you who read this will know, most special gifts like this come with a price! The story does not stop there; Natalie Pinter captivates her audience by combining relatable life experiences with Otherworldly characters and situations. If you love fantasy thrillers, fairy tales and mythology - this is a book that you won't put down! The Fragile Keepers has won the 2020 Sunny Award from Sunbury Press. You can order a copy directly by clicking this link: Order Now
We were very curious how Natalie decided that writing was part of her journey. When we asked her how she became an author, here is what she had to say:
"I’ve always had a passion for stories and language. English was one of the only subjects to come easily to me. I was making up stories all the time as a child, but I didn’t write. I realized in my early twenties that those daydreams wanted to be lassoed, and so I had to start writing things down. I love to read and I felt like, with practice, I could write books."
Naturally, since our site is dedicated to mythology, we had to ask her why she thinks writing about fantasy or mythical creatures is important.
"Because they are part of our collective psyche and inform our experience of the world. We perceive the world through stories and symbols. Humans need narratives like food for the soul. So think of archetypes as being like nutrients or vitamins. Mythical creatures are archetypes. There is a reason why myths, and mythical creatures, abound in every culture around the world."
When did you come up with the idea of "The Fragile Keepers"? Did this story start with an image, a voice, a concept, or something else?
"I have an abiding affinity for (maybe slight obsession with) faeries and faerie tales. So it made sense for me to write about them. I wanted to know what would REALLY happen if people in our current modern world found a faerie. I wanted to see how freaked out would they be to experience something that upends their reality like that. And I wanted to know why the faerie had come. I felt like I needed an answer those questions. There are a lot of wonderful faerie novels I’ve enjoyed, but I kept looking for one to tell me those specific things. As far as the actual story goes, as far as the answer to those questions, that’s simply what appeared or downloaded into my head when I started writing (and re-writing)."
Which character in your story do you personally relate to the most and why?
"Definitely Andre. I’m much older than she is in the story, but there’s a lot of wistful, younger me in her. I’m also a textbook introvert who is fascinated by faeries and researched them a bunch, so we really do have a lot in common."
We have covered a ton of questions with Natalie ranging from advice for aspiring authors, and we even asked her if she's seen a real fairy before. Natalie is extremely passionate about learning as much as she can about the fae folk, and has been inspired by other various works of art including classic movies and books. "Faeries kept cropping up and enchanting me intermittently as I grew up. When my mother gave me a copy of Brian Froud’s, “Good Faeries/Bad Faeries” for Christmas when I was eighteen, I wanted to crawl inside the pages and immerse myself in the imagery."
What were the most challenging/rewarding parts of writing this book?
"Realizing at one point, when I thought I was done, that I needed to do a pretty big overhaul. It was daunting, but I owed it to myself (and to the characters) to get it right. Also, sharing it with people was mortifying for me at first, but it’s gotten easier over time. It’s tough to put yourself out there creatively, but constructive criticism is incredibly valuable and helps you hone your craft. The most rewarding part is hearing from people about their experience of reading it. And if they enjoyed the story, or if affected them emotionally. It’s wonderful to know your art makes an impact. That makes all the hard work worth it. And it’s easier for me now because I have some emotional distance from the story after being so close to it for so long."
What did you research, if anything, prior to writing this novel?
"Faeries! Evans-Wentz and W.B. Yeats. Fiction and non-fiction. Mythology and new-agey stuff. Everything I could get my hands on. But I didn’t stick super close to any one piece of folklore. I extrapolated a lot and added my own logic and perspective to it. And I’m actually still researching them. I’m reading a book now called: “Faeries, a Dangerous History” by Richard Sugg."
Are any of the characters or circumstances that take place in your story based on real people or situations?
"Not really. Maybe snatches or certain things that happen in a few scenes, but I can’t be too specific because of spoilers."
Will there be any sequels or book series in the future? What other projects do you have planned?
"I’m working on a novel. There are some similar elements and themes to The Fragile Keepers. Some not so similar. I tend to be pretty tight-lipped about my WIPS because I’m afraid of jinxing myself if I talk about it too much. It’s kind of a silly superstition."
Who or what has influenced you most as a writer?
"Oof! So many writers. So many artists and musicians too. I adore Brian Froud’s work. It speaks to my soul. One of my favorite writers is the late Graham Joyce. I adore his work. Neil Gaiman, Charles De Lint, Elizabeth Hand, Kazuo Ishiguro . . . there’s so many writers and artists who have influenced me."
What is your favorite childhood story?
"Ooh! That is hard. I really loved Tuck Everlasting and The Last Unicorn the film. I love the book too, but I didn’t read it until I was grown. Both those stories both made a deep impression on me."
If a film were made of your book, are there any famous actors/actresses you’d cast to play Shae and the other leading roles in your story?
"Hmm. That is tough. I’m not the TV and film buff I used to be, so there’s probably some awesome actors I’m not going to know to think of. For Shae . . . maybe Rooney Mara if she were doused in lots of make/up and special effects."
If you could give a shout out to a fellow author, or choose an author to work with on a book, who would it be?
"I would love to work on a graphic novel with my writer and artist friend, Amanda O’dell."
Have you ever seen a fairy before in real life?!
"Probably not what most people would think of, but I believe I’ve experienced them as interdimensional beings."
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
"Like Stephen King says, read a lot and write a lot. Also, make writing a daily habit. Set realistic goals. You can tailor and adjust your goals as needed when life gets crazy, but time for writing should be built into your life. Don’t wait for inspiration. Treat it like work (work you sometimes love or loathe, maybe, but you’ve got to punch the clock.) The inspiration and epiphanies come as reward for you putting in the time. Also, spend time with your characters. Get to know who they really are. Maybe write their backstories, or random scenes where you watch how they behave, react, think, etc, even if it doesn’t make it into your book."
What do you hope readers will take away from the story?
"First, I hope just they are just entertained and invested in the characters and eager to turn the pages. Secondly, I hope it makes them think a bit differently about the world and how maybe it is stranger, more beautiful, and more filled with possibility than we give it credit for."
We think Natalie's work is great and we love how she was able to illustrate, with her words, the emotions and feelings that a human would experience upon discovering the existence of what many would consider to be "make believe". To order a copy of The Fragile Keepers or check out Natalie on social media, see the links below!