- Eileen's Fairy Kingdom History. Jenny does know her mother is honest (painfully so) and so would read her mother's version of events in the magical realm. The fact reading these volumes would upset the Queen would be a bonus from both Eileen's and Jenny's viewpoints.
- The Fairy Kingdom Chronicles. The official version. Jenny would compare the two.
- The Fairy Kingdom Highway Code. Jenny, having seen a little of the magical realm, is amazed to know this book exists given flying accidents are notoriously high. She would be curious to know what the code said - and whether any of it is enforced (and if not why not).
- The Fairy Kingdom's Guide to the Universes. Jenny knows what the realm thinks about Earth but she would like to see it in print (and the justification) and also what other worlds the realm has links with. Jenny is open to the idea of other worlds despite fervently wishing the Fairy Kingdom either didn't exist or would at least leave her alone.
- Fairy Kingdom Poetry. Jenny likes a wide range of literature and reads some poetry regularly so would want to see what the magical realm produced.
In Jenny's case, here is a list of books from the Fairy Kingdom she would read (almost all of them with the greatest reluctance but she is aware there are things she ought to know and the books would probably be the best source. Also unlike her mother the books probably won't argue back though Jenny knows enough of magic by the end of The Trouble With Mother to not take anything for granted).
Roherum, the Fairy News Network's lead goblin presenter, is usually the one doing the interviews. Here is a chance for the boot to be on the other foot. And interviews like this can help you understand your characters, show you if you're portrayed them well enough and so on.
What is your finest achievement?
Becoming FNN's lead presenter of course and the only goblin to achieve that honour.
What part of your job do you like the most?
Interacting with the general public. They love me and I quite like them. And it annoys the weatherman who I know has been after my job for years. I love reading the post people send me.... well most if it. I do get some abusive anonymous post though I suspect the weatherman is behind that.
How do you think your interviewing can be improved?
It always pays to research your subject before interviewing them. You can also look up interviews others have had with them and use that to work out what you want to ask.
The interviewee that got away...
In every sense, this is Eileen. I would have loved to have interviewed her when she was still being an active fairy godmother or after her defection to Earth but she was having none of it. Can't think why. It would've been a glorious opportunity to put her version of events to the people but there you go.
If I could interview my characters, some of the questions would be as follows. I have found this to be a great exercise incidentally in working out what really does make my characters tick. Here are some of the questions I would put to fairy squad leader and Eileen disciple, Hanastrew.
What is the single thing you regret most?
That even I have a limit to how much chocolate I can eat! Chocolate is one of humanity’s better inventions… oh… you want a serious answer do you? I WAS serious but if you must… I suppose I wish I could’ve kept Eileen out of trouble. I did try to help her. I warned her more times than I can remember about her attitude (bless her, she always encouraged plain speaking in her trainees) and she took no notice (maybe that was why she encouraged plain speaking in her trainees given she knew what she would do). I also wish, when out on missions especially, I could switch off whatever it is that makes you tired or lose concentration. I think that would be the nearest anyone could get to being invincible. I dread the day when mistakes are made and someone like Eileen or myself gets killed.
What are you most proud of?
I suppose it would be my courage. Even Eileen has complimented me on that and that really is praise. She's killed more dragons and foul fiends than most beings of any species have had hot dinners. I've also developed my magical skills and carry out a lot of research and practice into improving them still further.
What part of your role do you enjoy the most?
Knowing I've saved lives. I know Fresdian, our wildlife expert, always regrests the killing of dragons etc but believe me when I say I do this only because I have to and those beasts sensible enough to stay out of the way of the general populace will not cross my path. They're the ones who will get to live!
How do you organize your day?
A lot depends on whether emergencies have cropped up because obviously they would take priority. Generally I start by catching up with paperwork that's come in overnight, then I go out on patrols in differing areas of the realm before returning to the Palace for a further, final paperwork session for the day. Everything the squad does has to be written down (and justified!) which is a pain and something I can't see that Eileen would ever have tolerated, but it does mean we get to put our side of the story I guess.
I love to ask myself questions every now and then as to what my characters would do or would like and find it a great way of completing their profiles/finding out more about them. (It often confirms what I already know but sometimes I'm surprised and that surprise can fuel further stories, which is a good thing!). This is the latest question to ask myself so I thought I'd start with what my Fairy Queen, Roxannadrell, would read if she had access to our libraries and book shops.
To help bring characters to life, it can be useful to give them hobbies. I don't mention my characters' hobbies in great detail but give enough information to try to show they do have a life (and not just the one necessary for the actual story!).
The Queen is a renowned gardener and takes an interest in photography. L'Evallier and wife, Melanbury, take a huge interest in the fine arts, especially portraiture. Rodish, and later Balkish, like hill walking and will sometimes spend some time with relatives going back to their old traditional jobs of mining. Roherum reads a lot and from across the universes to try to improve his knowledge though the weatherman insists it isn't working as the goblin is still as thick as two short planks. The weatherman got an "accidental on purpose" thump on the back which made him slide across FNN's main studio floor for that insult.
Eileen also likes gardening. Hanastrew is a devotee of chocolate and loves reading up about it when she's not busily eating it. Brankaresh is far too interested in advancing his career by fair means or foul to take any time off to develop any hobbies at all. The Lord Chamberlain likes reading histories, usually of stately homes on planets like Earth, as he picks up ideas for improving standards in the Queen's Palace from these.
Hobbies can also give characters an excuse to meet, something to talk about when other topics are awkward, can endanger them or save them. All in all they should add depth to your characters and as a result to your story too.
I'm Allison Symes and I write novels, short stories as well as some scripts and poems. I love setting my work in my magical world, the Fairy Kingdom, and my favourite character is Eileen, who believes hypocrisy is something that happens to other people without caring that statement is hypocritical in itself! Eileen is huge fun to write for and about.