In her book, “A Golden Fairy Story,” Katie Clark writes of magic and mysticism in the fictional white willow school and the misunderstood fairy, Elif, who will heal past feuds by thinking outside the box. Clark will have a book release party Saturday, Jan. 28, at My Favorite Books.
Fairy dust filled fables
I do [clap] I do [clap] I do believe in fairies. [clap, clap, clap!]One must take no chances when discussing fairies, and you, dear reader, are not too good to bring a fairy back from the brink, so repeat with me: I do [clap] I do [clap] I do believe in fairies. [clap, clap, clap!]
Myth, lore and Disney paint a picture of fairies as tiny, mischievous, yet protective creatures who can save a forest rain and look cute in an updo and mini skirt.
Writer, artist, and educator Katie Clark elaborates upon this narrative in her new book, “A Golden Fairy Story.”
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Clark shares a literary world that captures the magical innocence found in fairies through her main character, Elif, a lonely outcast fairy whose “not-so-girl-fairy-ways” are misunderstood by her people. With the help of her insect guides, Elif embarks on a journey to discover herself while fighting to restore peace among the fairy tribes by using her differences to an advantage.
“Well, this book reflects what a typical fourth grader would find themselves in,” says Clark. Elif is not girly enough. She did not possess the skills that legna had [the opposing fairy tribe] possessed. She thought outside the box and completed the challenge. So, I showed the reader that even though you don’t possess the necessary skills, you can think outside the box and move forward.
A daughter’s inspiration
Worlds of wizards wielding wands and fairies flinging pixie dust have filled the nurseries of princes and peasants. This time of stories is a magical moment between children and parents when values are shared and dreams are encouraged. Katie Clark found her characters in these magic moments and based the lead on her oldest child. Eventually, she put pen to paper.
My girls are 16 and 20. I first started this book when they were much younger. I saw in my mind’s eyes a fairy frolicking around the room. And I captured her in stories that I told the girls.” Clark wrote a chapter and kept it locked away for two years.
Clark was writing with the help of the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) program, which supports writers in developing a novel in one month. “I wrote most of the story in one month. I would start writing, and I would set a timer to keep writing. Stop and take a break, write, stop, take a break,” says Clark. “I would lose myself in the world. I’d be walking around, thinking about what would come next. And literally, the characters reveal themselves to me. It was a really interesting journey.”
Clark is no stranger to the creative nor literary process, having been a photographer, educator, and author. She first authored a book of poetry, “Acceptance of Seasons,” geared toward mental health. Her photography, which hangs in hospitals, hotels, and banks across town, straddles the lines of fantasy in its whimsical eye and almost mystic point of view.
Clark’s ability to capture the shadows intertwined in the light is mirrored in her writing. She is always amazed at how the final product is not always what one expected in both forms. The most satisfying part is the coming together of all the pieces to build the “wow” at the end.
Doing it all
Clark asks, “What am I going to do this year? How am I going to top what I’ve done?
She owns FOTO Studio Photography in Railroad Square, hopes to take more pictures this year and develop as an author. The plan is to build her fairy saga into a series that follows the lead character as she matures and evolves, as her children have done.
If you like cake and fairy wings, then Katie Clark’s book release party is a place for you. “My Favorite Books” aims to please with cake and free fairy wings with the purchase of a book. So, grab your ears, leggings and glittered flower crown and leap into the stacks to discover Clark’s magical world where fairies are.
If you go
What: “A Golden Fairy Story” Book Release Party
When: 1-3 pm Saturday, Jan. 28
Where: My Favorite Books, 1410 Market Street, Suite C-2
Contact: 850-668-7498; visit mfbooks.us
Dr. Christy Rodriguez de Conte is the feature writer for the Council on Culture & Arts (COCA). COCA is the capital area’s umbrella agency for arts and culture (tallahasseearts.org).