Sometimes, when you meet a random roommate on Craigslist and move in with them, they wind up stealing your food or refusing to take out the trash or throwing all-night ragers in your living room. And other times–if you’re reallllllyyy lucky–they become successful writers and bloggers who go on to found websites and publish books.
Emmie, as you may have guessed, is the latter kind of roommate. United by Craigslist, we bonded over our shared Celtic heritage, our love for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and our aspirations to become writers. Although we no longer cohabitate, Emmie and I have kept in touch for years, and I couldn’t be more pleased to announce that her first book, The Masked Songbird, is being released by Harlequin in July! Set in Scotland on the eve of the Scottish Independence Referendum, the novel tells the story of Gwen Maule, a young woman who develops powers after she accidentally drinks a strange beverage.
Here’s Emmie to tell you a little bit more about herself, and her new book! Make sure to snag a copy of The Masked Songbird on July 1st–you can preorder it HERE!
1. Hello Emmie! Thanks for being here. I’m so excited to get my grubby paws on The Masked Songbird at last! Tell us a bit about the titular superhero, Gwen Maule. What is the quality you most admire in her, and what do you think is her biggest flaw?
Even at her worst, Gwen is nothing if not tenacious. I think that’s probably her best quality and one I try to emulate. She keeps trying even when things go wrong. Even when her life sucks, she keeps getting up in the morning. I think her biggest flaw is thinking she can do it all herself. In spite of her superpowers, she can’t be everywhere at once.
Being a father ain’t easy, and it’s nigh-on impossible to pin down the archetype of a great dad. But, literature has certainly tried.
As a follow-up to my Literary Mothers post, I thought I’d do a corresponding post about literary dads just in time for Father’s Day on Sunday. Literary fathers certainly run the gamut when it comes to character: they can be heroes or villains, role models or examples of how not to be, loving or distant, protective or abusive. But the men on my list all share one thing in common: they love their children, and want what’s best for them in this wild, complicated world.
And so, with no further ado (and in no particular order), here are my top 5 literary dads!
Joe Gargery, Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
Although technically Pip’s brother-in-law, Joe Gargery is the closest thing the boy has to a father. Joe is passive, and often downtrodden by his overbearing wife, but he is also kind and loving and adores Pip as his own. He gives Pip much-needed affection, passes him extra food under the table, and when Mrs. Joe is on a rampage, he tries to protect Pip from her verbal and physical abuse. He loves and supports Pip unconditionally, even when Pip inherits a mysterious fortune, moves to London, and becomes an imperious, pretentious, unbearable ass. Now that’s what I call a good father!
Unless you’ve made yourself a nice, cozy home beneath a rock somewhere, you’ll know that the last few years have witnessed a veritable explosion of TV and film-based adaptations of classic fairy tales. ABC’s Once Upon a Time indiscriminately mashes together every fairy-tale character ever into one small town. Mirror Mirror and Snow White and the Huntsman both attempted to rejuvenate the Snow White story. Beauty and the Beast, on the CW, is a modern retelling of the classic “beauty is only skin deep” narrative. And most recently, Maleficent seeks to rehabilitate the titular villain from Sleeping Beauty.
But for the most part, all of these shows start where the Disney versions left off. Well, I’ve got news for you, folks: Disney’s fairy tale mythology is pretty different than the original versions of most fairy tales. The collected folk stories of the Grimm brothers, Charles Perrault, and Hans Christian Andersen often ended in misery, tragedy, and violence. So, in the spirit of contrarianism, I thought I’d put together a list of all the creep-tastic original versions of fairy tales that I’d rather see adapted to the big screen than yet another Disney-fied mush-fest.
Although no one knows what became of Bluebeard’s previous wives, he somehow entices a young woman to marry him. He gives her the keys to all the rooms in his castle, including one small room which he adamantly forbids her from ever entering for any reason (bad move). Predictably, the moment Mr. Bluebeard goes out of town his young wife heads straight for the forbidden room, only to find it awash in blood and the carcasses of Bluebeard’s former wives hanging from hooks in the ceiling.
The Hollywood adaptation of this classic boy-meets-girl boy-loses-girl romcom will star George Clooney as our wise-cracking anti-hero and Scarlett Johansson as his headstrong wife.
Oh, hello there! I just finished a classic novel featuring a pretty awesome mom character, so even though I’m a few days late for Mother’s Day, I thought I’d put together a list of the literary mothers who, in my opinion, embody great maternal instincts.
As James Joyce once wrote, “Whatever else is unsure in this stinking dunghill of a world a mother’s love is not.” And that is true for all of the women on this list: they love their children. Some of these women are kind and nurturing, some of these women are fierce and protective, and some of them are difficult and dramatic, but they all share one important role: when it comes right down to it, they’d do anything and everything for their children.
Margaret March aka Marmee, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Although Marmee can come across as somewhat saccharine to a mature reader, to a young reader the March girls’ sweet mother embodies everything a mother ought to be. She nurtures and cares for her gaggle of girls while her husband is away fighting in the Civil War, with little money and few resources. She shapes her girls’ educations around her own strong moral code, and unlike some mothers on this list, never encourages them to marry for money. And all this without a frown or unkind word! Patience, thy name is Marmee.
Mrs Lancaster, The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Hazel doesn’t always have the kindest thoughts about her mom; Mrs Lancaster is kind of the definition of a helicopter parent. But can you blame her? Her only daughter is slowly dying of cancer. She has given up nearly everything else in her life to become a stay-at-home mom for Hazel, taking care of all the medical details while also acting as emotional and social support for her ailing daughter. Mrs Lancaster goes out of her way to make celebrations big, to encourage Hazel to make the most of each day, and to be unafraid when facing the short time she has left. Go Mrs L!
Mrs Bennet, Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen
Garrulous, self-absorbed and socially inept, Mrs Bennet wants nothing more than to see all five of her daughters married off to men with at least five thousands pounds a year. She spends a good portion of the book whinging, kvetching, and generally getting on everyone’s nerves, but beneath Austen’s humorous and somewhat insulting characterization is a mother deeply anxious for her children’s futures. If only she could realize that all her plotting is doing more harm than good!
Topaz, I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
Although technically a stepmother to Cassandra, Rose, and Thomas, Topaz is artistic and kind and competent and hard-working and a little bit mad. Her favorite pastime may be communing with nature while wearing nothing but a pair of wellies, but she also goes to bat for the Mortmain girls time and again, counting pennies and sewing crinolines and dyeing old tea-gowns so that they might have a shot at a better future. And all this while putting up with Mr. Mortmain at his most ineffectual and Rose at her most noxious, in a crumbling, dripping ruin of a castle! Phew! Go Topaz!
Molly Weasley, Harry Potter series by J K Rowling
Molly Weasley ought to be sainted: she raised seven children in a rambling, magical house with barely any money and no help from her absent-minded dolt of a husband. And when she meets orphan Harry on Platform 9 3/4, she wastes no time in taking him under her already extended wing. When she discovers Harry won’t receive any gifts at the holidays, Molly knits Harry one of her famous sweaters, and continues to send one every year afterward. But aside from being a generous surrogate mom to Harry, Molly is also a staunch defender of good, a fearsome opponent in battle, and a furious protector of all her children.
Who are your favorite literary moms? Share your thoughts in the comments below!