Solomon's Friend is actually my own very personal story of raising a son with Asperger's. All of Kadie's doubts about herself as a mother are mine; all of Solly's unique views of the world around him are my son's (although not everything Solly does or says in the story are true to life). Hobby, the cantankerous, brash old hob that narrates much of the story, came from an often-ignored voice of my own-- a well of common sense and courage that sparkles every now and again on a quiet, moonlit night, reminding me that I am making some of the right connections with my child, that I am loving him every moment of every day, and that there is still a bit of magic left in the world, especially in the curious and cautious mind of my child. And maybe even in me.
That depends on how you define fairy or fae. There is a great variety of fairy-types across cultures, and many of those overlap easily with creatures that we might classify as something else altogether. I have a hard time deciphering the difference between fae and elves, myself, so if you consider the human-sized elfin spirits as creatures of fae, then yes, I've written of them, and even named them fae in my novella, Opal, and in the sequel to come. What intrigues me most about any type of fae is the idea that they can see and interact with elements of nature that we blatantly miss out on. Is it truly they that are strange, or are we humans even more bizarre in the way we have segregated ourselves so completely from the natural world we were born a part of? I like taking on a viewpoint that makes the world of nature more meaningful, more magical, than what we humans deem it to be.
Can you tell us a bit about the specific type of fairy creature in your story?
The narrator of my story is a hob, which is a type of Brownie, or household spirit. There are many species of household spirits, some more menacing than others (like the hobgoblin or the boggart). According to myth, these household spirits are often quite involved in domestic upkeep, and prefer to go unseen and unacknowledged except for an occasional gift left out of a bit of food or milk. But if you try to seek them out and give them payment for their work, especially in the form of clothing, they take great offense and will disappear from the home forever.
They are also offended by laziness. My own hob takes great delight in licking dust from every surface and finding a multitude of crumbs in couch crevices and underneath car seats. I'd say he's a bit more tolerant of accumulated filth than most house spirits, but his rules about gifts of clothing still stand.
Is that your favorite type of fae?
I couldn't tell you what my favorite kind of fae would be. There are so many, and so many that blend into one another, that choosing one would be like picking out a single color of the sunset as my favorite. But I will say that I find the ones with ghost-like qualities the most intriguing. I think it's pretty cool that many fairy creatures are thought to be spirits of those who have died, lingering between worlds.
Outside of your own writing, who is your favorite fairy character? (ie: Tinkerbell, Puck, etc.)
Tom Thumb, if he can be counted as such, is my favorite fairy character. Who doesn't love a little sprite-sized superhero who defeats giants and never waivers in his bravery? He rivals Peter Pan with his forever youth, and he's even got an in with King Arthur and owes his very existence to Merlin-- doesn't get much cooler than that!
Do you believe in fairies?
In some ways, it's hard not to. I'm a woman of science, eternally fascinated by biology and the natural world, and any scientist knows that every fact you uncover leads to a hundred more questions. I can't imagine a time when we know everything there is to know about the natural world, let alone other dimensions or other universes. Could there be another life form a dimension away that has tapped into our world and made an invisible presence we haven't yet discovered, but that people have noticed now and again from odd appearances throughout the centuries? Could there be a species of insect left undiscovered in a remote patch of rainforest with unheard of intelligence, or some other striking resemblance to mankind? I'm not one to say anything's impossible.
Check out Kristina Wojtaszek's story, "Solomon's Friend," in the anthology FAE, available now.
Her fairy tale retellings, short fiction and poetry including OPAL published by World Weaver Press, have also appeared in Far Off Places and Sucker Literary Magazine. Follow her @KristinaWojtasz or on her blog, Twice Upon a Time.