Interview: “Faery Unexpected” by Deb Logan

The most important week of Claire’s life has arrived—the first day of high school, followed closely by her uber-important fifteenth birthday—and where are her parents? Sunning in the south of France, that’s where! As if dereliction of duty wasn’t enough, they left Claire in the care of her more-than-slightly-dotty grandmother, a woman who believes in fairies and dragons. Gag.

What’s an aspiring teen diva to do when her grandmother insists she wear a toy dragon perched on her shoulder on the first day of school? Ditch the annoying lizard, that’s what. But it seems Gran has unholy powers: the dragon is immovable unless a teacher takes note and orders Claire to remove it. Claire’s dream of making a splash in high school didn’t include being the butt of a standing joke. Can life get any more devastating?

You bet it can! Just wait until Claire discovers the birthday present that will change her life…forever!

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Families are great, but there are times when they stink. I mean, I love my mom and dad, but wouldn’t you think they’d at least have asked me if I wanted to spend a month on the French Riviera with them? Honestly! I could’ve made arrangements to go, even studied while sunning in the south of France. The first few weeks of high school aren’t that important. But the parents refused to listen to reason. Instead, they arranged for Gran — Mom’s decidedly weird mother who never went anywhere without her even weirder toy dragon—to stay with me while Mom and Dad defected to Europe to laze in the sun. I figured by the time I survived the first week, I’d have earned a vacation of my own.

What a rip. I’d been searching for a solution to my high school dilemma, and they’d handed me the answer and then snatched it away, all in the space of a two-minute conversation. Man! My first day at Jefferson High was racing down on me and I still didn’t have a concrete plan for leaving the middle school nerd behind. I didn’t need to be the most popular girl at school, but I definitely wanted to improve my social standing.

In middle school I’d been a dork, and Danielle, the cheerleader-from-hell, teased me mercilessly about my good grades, happy family, and that stupid book report on fairies I’d done in seventh grade. Hello, I’d done my Shakespearean research, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, anyone? But that didn’t matter. She called me ‘Fairy Clairey’ for the rest of middle school. Even got her friends in on it. Made me sound like a complete idiot.

For a whole, shining minute I’d had my answer—before my parents ripped it away by uninviting me on their little European jaunt, but if I closed my eyes I could still picture the beautiful vision: me swaggering through the front doors of Jefferson High three weeks into the first term; my usually pallid skin crisp from a month of sun and sea; my unruly mop of short, curly black hair fashionably styled in the latest Paris do; my outfit straight off a tres chic fashion runway. Danielle would have a cow, and I’d be the reigning queen of the class. I might even have a chance at getting a boyfriend.

But no. Instead I got stuck with crazy Gran and her bizarre stories of dragons and centaurs and the magical adventures of her childhood. Gag!

So here I sat on a beautiful late-August day at Portland International Airport with my parents, waiting for Gran to show up. I stared out the window, watching her jet unload. I leaned my forehead against the glass and listened to my parents’ quiet conversation.

“Relax, Emily,” said Dad, a tall square man sporting thick glasses and a warm smile. “She can’t get lost. Everyone from the concourse channels past this waiting area. We won’t miss her.”

I glanced at my parents, but kept my forehead against the cool glass. Mom was dressed in creased gray wool slacks, ice blue blouse and a gray cardigan embroidered with small birds and vining leaves. She smiled and tucked a strand of dark brown hair behind her ear. “I know, but it’s hard not to worry. I just can’t get over feeling like I should’ve gone to get her. She’s so helpless without Daddy. He did everything for her when he was alive. She never even had to fill the car with gas.”

“Yes, he was old-school to the core,” Dad agreed. “But I think he underestimated your mother. Don’t make the same mistake, Em. Deirdre is tougher than you give her credit for.”

A flash of golden light out of the corner of my eye made me glance back at Gran’s jet. For a moment, I swear I saw something hovering over the plane. More than simple heat haze rising from the tarmac, something shimmered in the air above the airplane, like a window into another world. I blinked, and it disappeared. But the green-blue after image burned behind my eyelids…a castle in the sky.

—from Faery Unexpected by Deb Logan

The Interview

What inspired you to write Faery Unexpected?

My very first published short story, Deirdre’s Dragon, was a children’s story about a little girl who inherits a dragon from her grandmother. It’s only about 800 words, but the idea stuck with me and I knew there was a lot more story to tell. Faery Unexpected and later, Faery Collectible, grew out of Deirdre’s Dragon. I wrote them to answer the questions I had about Deirdre and her dragon: Why do the women in Deirdre’s family need a dragon guardian? and Why that dragon? Who is Roddy, really?

Why do you love writing about dragons?

I adore dragons. Not the mean, snarly, I’d-like-to-eat-you kind of dragons, but the intelligent, loyal, compassionate kind that Anne McCaffrey wrote about in her Dragonriders of Pern series.

My alter-ego, Debbie Mumford, has written a series of four novels and a prequel novella that follows the lives and loves of a family of dragon shifters, so I’ve written a lot of words about dragons… and the people who love them.

In Faery Unexpected, Roddy is a dragon who is cursed to wear the shape of a toy when there’s anyone around other than the young woman he’s assigned to protect. How mortifying for such a majestic creature! But Roddy is also a dragon with a long history of secrets, many of which his young charge discovers during the course of the novel.

What do you enjoy about weaving elements from mythology, legends, and folklore in your own writing?

I’ve been reading fairy tales and myths since I was a child. I love their sense of wonder and magic, as well as the cautionary lessons they teach. With all of those legends so deeply ingrained in my psyche, I’m never surprised when one of them surfaces in my writing.

Science does a great job of explaining the world, even the universe, but there are still niches where science doesn’t have the answers… and magic plays in those spaces! I’ve always appreciated Arthur C. Clarke’s third law: Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

Myths and fairy tales are filled with magic. Does that mean that fairies and other creatures of legend are simply more technologically advanced than we are? Are they really aliens? Have they been watching us for centuries, waiting for us to evolve sufficiently to be able to deal with them intelligently? Those thoughts certainly give me a lot of room to play!

What are you working on now, and what’s fun about what you’re writing?

Right now I’m working on White Buffalo, my third Prentiss Twins novel. Along with Thunderbird and Coyote, White Buffalo is a contemporary fantasy adventure for middle-grade readers… with a Native American theme.

Here’s the premise:
The Prentiss Twins, Justin and Janine, are powerful Native American shamans … and they’re barely even teenagers!

When their grandfather mentions that a pregnant buffalo cow has disappeared from the National Bison Range in their home state of Montana, they immediately suspect that Unktehi, the Spirit of Chaos, is up to mischief again.

But is the warrior demigod to blame for this unexpected buffalo-napping?

Janine and Justin, along with their spirit animals Thunderbird and Coyote, investigate the mysterious disappearance and discover more than they bargained for when the cow’s baby turns out to be a legendary White Buffalo.

White Buffalo is especially fun because it’s a special request from my grandkids. They’ve read Thunderbird and Coyote several times and have been pestering me about “what happens next?” I’m thrilled to be able to tell them a new story!

About Deb

Deb Logan specializes in tales for the young—and the young at heart! Author of the popular Dani Erickson series, Deb loves the unknown, whether it’s the lure of space or earthbound mythology. She writes about demon hunters, thunderbirds, and everyday life on a space station for children, teens, and anyone who enjoys young adult fiction. Her work has been published in multiple volumes of Fiction River, as well as in the 2017 Young Explorer’s Adventure Guide, Feyland Tales, and other popular anthologies.

Find Deb

Website ~ Facebook ~ Goodreads ~ BookBub

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