I’m excited to bring Naomi Stone back to GLIAS today. She writes very special stories about amazing people and the underrated superheroes who help them: their Fairy Godmothers. Naomi has an awesome post for us today about her research into the realm of these magical women. You’ll enjoy her smart look at them. Welcome Naomi!
Hi everyone! Most people probably don't think of fairy godmothers as superheroes. They're not buff young people in spandex. Their true natures and motivations are hard to understand, and they generally appear in supportive, rather than starring roles. This last, more than anything, may be why they are underrated. But let's look at the evidence.
Most superhero origin stories wouldn't stand up to real scientific analysis. Radioactive spider bite imparts massive genetic changes rather than a rash? C'mon. Mutations that defy the laws of physics, allowing flesh to stretch far beyond normal capacities, bones to endure unheard of stresses, eyes to emit laser beams without going blind, etc, etc? I don't think so. The rays of our sun are different than Superman's sun of origin and that imbues him with amazing strength rather than a sunburn? This is not science. This is magic.
And what is a fairy godmother's stock in trade? Magic - a superpower by another, more honest name. In fact the fairy godmother in my book WONDER GUY implies that what we see as magic is rooted in an advanced understanding of the nature of the universe, one in which the emotional connections between people exert a far greater power than the physical sciences would recognize. Fairy godmothers have been part of our folklore for hundreds of years, appearing in tales shared by old wives with their grandchildren in peasant cottages throughout Europe as well as in the inventions of French courtiers. Fairy godmothers have stepped in and used their superior powers to help worthy young men and women find happiness in countless tales. They use their powers for good - another sign of the superhero. They act as a balancing influence in a world where the powerful and corrupt too often hold all the cards. They assert the proposition that good hearts and characters have an edge all their own.
The superheroes of comics and movies often use their powers in dramatic ways, the flashier the better. Very often in folklore the fairy godmother makes a single appearance, imparting some magical gift or bit of wisdom and departs again, leaving center stage to the young hero or heroine of a story. They are generous, but it's not like they don't have anything better to do than interfere in others' lives. They are powerful but use their power conservatively: just the right touch in the right time and place to do the trick.
In this regard, WONDER GUY is a bit different from my other Fairy Godmothers' Union stories (Collected in GRANTED WISHES). The FGU makes an exception in his case because a lot of flashy magic is what it takes to accomplish their goals - as well as helping the good-hearted hero, Greg Roberts to win the regard of Gloria, the girl he's loved since he was twelve.
With his fairy godmother's help, Greg becomes a superhero of the buff young spandex-wearing, flashy dramatics kind -- but it's all due to the help of the unsung Fairy Godmothers' Union, who supply the magic.
Are fairy godmothers an iconic archetype representing the understated power of grannies throughout history? Of little old ladies working together and behind-the-scenes to help their offspring and communities thrive? Maybe so. I wouldn't discount the possibility.
READ the recently re-released WONDER GUY and all of Naomi’s Fairy Godmothers’ Union stories. Get all the contact information plus links to a contest and giveaway.
THREE QUESTIONS FOR NAOMI
LIZ: If you met your fairy godmother, what would you wish for?
NAOMI: As I understand them, fairy godmothers aren't like genies, granting x number of wishes to whoever holds the key to their power. 'Godmother' implies both a kind of familial relationship or at least a role of responsibility toward the recipient of her blessings - and an assurance that the use of magical influence is intended to be benevolent. Some genies can be downright wicked, seeking to twist a wish into something far from the wisher's intent. Fairy godmothers are concerned more with the well being of their godchild than with the godchild's consciously conceived, maybe ego-driven wishes. I would not expect my fairy godmother to grant any wish I might think to ask (unless I was having a day of remarkable inner wisdom). I would expect my fairy godmother's wisdom to lead her to discern the deepest wishes of my soul. Like the reader who knows Darcy and Elizabeth belong together, or the child really wants his father back from war more than he wants a new bike.
She knows the wishes formed in my heart, by my 'best self.' Just spit-balling here, but I'd expect those wishes to be closely tied to my sense of connection to others, to my concerns about living a life of balance, contributing to the world in a way that brings benefit to me and to those affected by my actions. That is, my fairy godmother would discern my heart's desires, even desires I might not be aware of. Most hearts desire love, but few people know the right shape love can take to fulfill the best interests of all concerned.
I might wish for Mr. Tall, Dark & Handsome, but find Mr. Medium Height, Middle-aged & Rough-around-the-edges clicks in a way that makes us both happy together and helps us bring our best to the wider circles of our connections. Instead of making a wish to my Fairy Godmother, I'd trust her to give me the help and advice I most need.
LIZ: What first gave you the idea to write about fairy godmothers?
NAOMI: It's hard to say exactly... seems like a number of threads grew together and combined into that inspiration. I've always loved fairy tales. Since learning to read, I read all of them I could find. I read the fantasy stories of E. Nesbitt and Edward Eager, I've read all the Andrew Lang collections of colored Fairy Books (12 colors). Twice. I've read all the 1001 Arabian Nights, Anderson, The Brothers Grim and the collection, 'The Turnip Princess and Other Newly Discovered Fairy Tales' translated from a recent find of previously unknown tales. I've also read widely in the field of modern fantasy including tales by Elizabeth Ann Scarborough and Mercedes Lackey. I am long-steeped in tales of magic and magical beings and these stories have percolated through me and out into the world. In more recent years I wanted a way to take what I've learned from my failures in love and turn the lessons into magical gifts I could give characters in my stories, becoming, as writer, a kind of fairy godmother myself. Then again, I thought that an anthology of fairy godmother stories would be a project that might interest my fellow writers in MFW.
LIZ: How many Fairy Godmother stories have you written?
NAOMI: The anthology never came to pass, but I’ve been inspired to come up with - so far - eight short stories (collected in 'Granted Wishes') and the full-length novel, 'Wonder Guy.' Plus my most recent project, a series of novels revolving around a group of single women friends whose lives are changed by fairy godmother magic. The first of these, THANKSGIVING came out this past November. Where WONDER GUY is light-hearted, even silly fun, the Holiday Enchantment series is different in tone, taking on the issues of women who for one reason or another have come to have little expectation of finding romance in their lives. I look forward to playing fairy godmother to them all.
ABOUT THE BOOK
WONDER GUY is Once Upon a Time meets the Marvel universe: Greg has been in love AB Gloria, the girl next door, since they were kids. It takes the interference of his fairy godmother to get her to see him in a new light as the superhero he was in his heart all along.'
WONDER GUY is available at $0.99 as part of a multi-author promotion/contest (http://magicbookdeals.com/giveaway/pnr-book-fair-and giveaway/) and today (May 14th) is the last day to participate!
LINKS WHERE YOU CAN FIND ALL OF NAOMI’S BOOKS:
Wonder Guy at Amazon:
Wonder Guy at All other online retailers