If you enjoyed my interview with Frances Evelyn, you will like reading this interview with Ash Fitzsimmons, who also contributed a story to Midwinter Magic and Mayhem:
1. What should the readers of my blog know about you?
Hello! I’m Ash Fitzsimmons, and I write contemporary fantasy. My stories skew toward portal fiction, because hey, who wouldn’t like to open a door or say the right words and find a passage to a magical world? To date, I’ve published two complete series, Stranger Magics and Hall of Thorns. A sequel series to Hall of Thorns, The Wild Hunt, begins in March, while an unrelated trilogy, The Crossing, kicks off in February.
2. What supernatural forces or beings appear in your novels? Why have you chosen these forces/entities?
Oh, goodness. Stranger Magics features faeries (not the Tinkerbell kind), wizards, witches, and a few other magical creatures. A source of conflict in that series is that the fae view humans as…entertaining, shall we say, while those of a more human bent try to minimize the chaos. In Hall of Thorns, a young woman with an average upbringing discovers that she’s partly elven, and that many beings thought to be mythological are hiding out in their own pocket dimension. I enjoy exploring the interplay between immortal, highly magical creatures and mortal, less magical (or perfectly mundane) characters. It’s fun to set up scenarios in which, say, a character who’s centuries old and wields incredible power has to rely on a fairly ordinary human.
3. Do you believe in any supernatural/paranormal beings? Have you had any supernatural experiences?
Putting aside matters of religion, I’m certainly open to the idea of the paranormal. I’ll keep this anecdote vague.
A few years ago, I made an evening trip to a place I’ve visited many times. I’ve never felt odd coming onto the property until that evening. Something in my gut didn’t feel right, to the point that I was driving and muttering a psalm, which I’ve never felt compelled to do. Anyway, I finished my business there without incident and went to my hotel nearby. It had been a long night, and I had no intention of getting up at my usual time, but I was too tired to remember to turn off my alarm.
Well, the alarm went off in the early hours, and I woke and reached over to silence my phone. The room was dark and quiet…but as I was lying there, I was conscious of something at the end of the bed. Something was depressing the mattress near my right foot.
You never know how you’re going to react when confronted with the paranormal. Part of me quietly freaked out, but a much larger part had been up rather late the night before and was in no mood to deal with this. I closed my eyes, rolled over, and tried to ignore it, and I went back to sleep.
There was nothing in the room with me in the morning, and certainly no sign of an intruder, but I’ll say this: I was awake, I felt the weight on the mattress, and I knew that whatever was in there with me wasn’t a living human.
4. What are two of your favorite authors? What works do you recommend?
I’ve been a Stephen King fan since I was in high school, bringing paperbacks home from the library bookstore. (At twenty-five cents a pop, it was the best deal in town!) The Shining remains one of my favorite books, but The Dark Tower is not to be missed.
For anyone who enjoys humor in their fantasy, I can’t recommend Sir Terry Pratchett enough. We lost a great far too soon. The Discworld books are wonderful, with so many memorable characters (The Luggage! Vimes! Granny Weatherwax! Death!). I’d also be remiss in not mentioning his delightful collaboration with Neil Gaiman, Good Omens.
5. If you could be transported to a point in history, when would you choose?
Depends on the circumstances of my arrival and how long I’d have to stay there…
You know, Frances Evelyn deals with this issue nicely in The Changeling Tree series, in which certain characters are repeatedly transported through time with little control over when and where they go. They’re left scrambling to find clothes to fit in and a means to provide for themselves for as long as they’re stuck. But assuming we’re talking a more “charter bus and tour guide” time-travel experience…kind of a toss-up between the major cities of medieval Europe and pre-Columbian South America.
Here is my review of one of Ash’s books, Stranger Magics:
You can get Stranger Magics here!