Natale: I must have a really dirty mind, because that just sounds bad, doesn't it? I don't mean it to be, but it is true that you really can't take me anywhere.
Lori: She’s right, Natale should not be allowed in public. You ought to see how she behaves at chapter meetings. It can get downright embarrassing. Seriously, I’d like to introduce everyone here at the diner to my good friend and uber-talented (if slightly unbalanced) writer, Natale Stenzel. I just bought her latest release this weekend and can’t wait to read it. But until then, she’s got a little ‘splainin to do . . .
Natale: So, the setup: My new release, PANDORA'S BOX, is a funny paranormal romance about a puca cursed by an angry Druid daddy and forced to live inside a tiny cornerstone for two thousand years. This is what I tell people when they ask what my book is about. Generally, the first follow-up question to that description is, "What's a puca?"
The puca (which can be spelled a zillion different ways) is a shape-shifter from Welsh and Irish mythology. No, not a werewolf. Something more along the lines of a faery or sprite -- one who often preys on travelers. He can shape-shift into a black stallion with freaky yellow eyes and -- depending on his whim and whether you recently ticked him off in any way -- he can toss you onto his back and take you on a wild ride. From what I understand, you would return from this ride a radically different person in some way. So what exactly happens on this ride and what kind of change would the ride inspire? Beats me. Every description I found left the details to the reader's imagination, which suited me perfectly. It meant I could make everything up myself*g*.
Also interesting, if you've read or seen Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, you might remember the trickster Puck. He's supposed to be the bard's vision of a puca. In some cases, the puca also answers to the name of Robin Goodfellow, which, coincidentally (or not) is also an alias for the devil. Some say the legend of Robin Hood is rooted in the puca myth, as well. Perhaps the most well-known puca -- but way different from my vision of one*g* -- was the six-foot-tall invisible rabbit in the movie Harvey, starring Jimmy Stewart.
My puca, Riordan, is the son of a human woman and Oberon, the King of all Faery. In spite of the "sprite" classification and the puca's traditional preference for the horse form (a bit unsexy, you know?), I decided Riordan's base form would be human in appearance and manner, if a bit larger than life. Okay, so not just a bit*g*. We're talking one sexy, nearly irresistible and utterly incorrigible human form. (I really like Riordan.) He has a bawdy sense of humor and mischievous bent that hide an unexpected streak of gallantry and a will of steel. Hey, two thousand years of imprisonment would have broken a lesser man, you know? To survive his punishment, Riordan learned to deal with his lot and bide his time until he met Mina Avery, the one woman who, according to ancient prophecy, could free him from the Druid's punishment.
So was it the puca who inspired this story? Actually, no. The craziness began when I was surfing around on the internet and came across something about the Stone Circle of Avebury. (Don't ask. I have no idea how I came across this. Extensive procrastination, no doubt.) What intrigued me was that a lot of these huge Sarsen stones that comprised the circle had been busted up and used -- here it is! -- as building materials for cottages and the like. Can you imagine? It would be like having part of Stonehenge in the foundation of your house. Surely there would be some spooky effect. And so the wheels, they started turning . . .
As for the rest -- wistful sigh -- I really, really loved the character Puck. I always thought there must be some Puck-type creature (i.e., the puca) running around and mucking up our lives. It would explain so much*g*. So I thought . . . who better to release from a Sarsen cornerstone than my favorite trickster?
What about you? Where do you get your ideas? And, hey, we're all paranormal fans, so what's your favorite magical creature?
Thanks to the Otherworld Diner staff for having/humoring me today!
Lori: Thanks for stopping by Natale. Hope you enjoyed the pie. Everybody be sure to check out Natale's website at www.natalestenzel.com. She's got the cutest little dancing frog you've ever seen. *G*