The campaign for Fairy Tales Punk’d may be over, but I’ve got one more interview with one of our imaginative writers, Amber Michelle Cook. If you missed out on the campaign, never fear! The collection will be available for purchase in December 2020. Now, let’s have a chat with Amber.
What is the title of your story in Fairy Tales Punk’d? Tell us a little about it!
“A Saturnine, A Martial, and a Mercurial Lunatic,” inspired by the Tears for Fears album, Saturnine, Martial, Lunatic, all words derived from the names of planets/Earth’s Moon, based on how we used to think of them before modern science crushed them down into empty, barren planetary bodies ☺.
A trio of adventure-seekers steal their braggart uncle’s ethership to beat him to the hunt of dangerous beasts that lurk on one of Jupiter’s many small moons. Including jabberwocks, and the tremendous Bandersnatch.
One is dour (but not soured), the other revels in rivalry, and the third manifests gender as they feel like it. Bickering boon companions in a rush to be the first to face beasties with the ‘borrowed’ vorpal blades.
Did you start with an existing story and punk it, or create something from scratch? Did you discover any cool resources along the way?
What if Lewis Carroll’s (freakin’ beloved!) nonsense poem, ‘The Jabberwocky’ from Alice in Wonderland, was the nursery rhyme version of a ‘real’ adventure story?
I love Dodgson’s works. I’ve written two as-of-yet unpublished novels: 1) Sleepwaking, a modern adaptation of Through the Looking Glass as an excuse for readers of any age to return to Wonderland, especially those looking to overcome shyness and self-doubt. And 2) Alex in Banaland, where the absurdities of corporate work culture meets Alice in Wonderland in a trip down the elevator shaft into the headquarters of UNICORP, a life service management megacorp.
After that I couldn’t help myself, I was looking for more Dodgson to play with, and the idea of his delightful literary nonsense coming together with space steam punk lit me on fire.
Have you always been interested in fairy tales, or was this your first time working in the mythpunk genre?
Always. We’re raised on them, one way or another. There’s a fab-tastic quote by Albert Einstein: If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales! They are bits of universal wisdom wrapped in a chocolatey coating of smash ‘n’ grab entertainment, and help you navigate the world before you’ve had the chance to amass experience of your own. The ones that have stuck around, decade after decade, century after century, speak to us about the terrible reoccurring realities of the world, and ignite sparks of hope that sometimes, at least, things turn out okay.
I’ve written a novel called the Fairy Tale Abductees, about 2 very dissatisfied thirtysomethings who keep finding themselves in modern versions of fairy tales—forced together like leading ladies and men in classic Hollywood motion pictures, and can’t escape until they’ve played their version out—before being ejected back into their mundane lives. Ah, the love-hate we have for these roles, the attraction to them, and the repulsion to get away from them. But no matter what, they’re always in our heads [grin].
Have you dabbled in any of the punk sub-genres before?
Def.! I’m in the Writerpunk anthologies, This, and Nothing More, and What We Unlearned. These cool collections of Lit punk – stories by classic lit authors adapted to some form of ‘steampunk’ punk – are fun and a half. The first is a space punk (or as I call it, a Space 1899) retelling of Edgar Allen Poe’s ‘The Angel of the Odd’ called ‘Oddball.’ If you’ve never read the original, and you like Poe and/or quirk and the absurd, it and mine are both out there for you. And the other is a Space 1899 version of Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey called ‘Of Folly & Fallibility,’ set on Venus as it was imagined in the Victorian era, as part of the expended British Empire, when they discovered space travel in the ether.
I absolutely can not wait to write more space steampunk inspired by lit. A friend and I started a website called the Spec Lit Society, for people who love literature and speculative fiction, and like chocolate and peanut butter, know they are so delicious when mixed together. It didn’t get a million hits, but we still think it’s a great idea and will try again in the near future.
What is your absolute favorite genre to write and why?
I can tell that I was meant to write Literary nonsense. I didn’t even know that was a genre until I started to try and pitch Sleepwaking, and found it on Wikipedia. Literary nonsense? I was charmed, and thrilled. Really?! That’s, like, so me, to the tee. It includes Carroll as well as Douglas Adams, Norton Juster, Mervyn Peake (four of my favorite-est authors), Edward Lear, plus Suess & Silverstein, of course. (A musical example would be David Byrne/Talking Heads.)
I exaggerate if I say I cannot write without humor and wordplay, but it’s still true. And while I greatly admire poetry, nonsense poems are my joy.
Where can people find out more about you and your previous writings?
You can see what’s out there already on the Amazon author page, six short stories in cool anthologies and two self-published short-form novellas (in the urban fairy genre): http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00B5QTBW6
My Wubbulous Writing website has excerps and some of my graphic art (Chromatic Daffodil Shadows): http://ambermichellecook.weebly.com
The most active one at present is the Fb author page and if you’d like it, I’d like that: https://www.facebook.com/ambermichellecookwriter