Featuring Laura Wettersten and her book, My Faire Lady
So, I love Renaissance Faires. In fact, I just went to my local one yesterday. I may or may not have a costume as well, or have little trinkets bought from faires at my work desk. I just might be saving up for some of the more elaborate crafts that I really would like…like a crazy wooden throne with geos and other details that make it look like a fairy throne. All that said, a story about a girl working in the Renaissance Faire is definitely fun! Laura Wettersten’s book, My Faire Lady, is just that! She visits us today with a guest post.
Make sure to check out My Faire Lady!
Published June 3rd 2014 by Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Hardcover or ebook, 352 pages
Rowena Duncan is a thoroughly modern girl with big plans for her summer—until she catches her boyfriend making out with another girl. Heartbroken, she applies to an out-of-town job posting and finds herself somewhere she never expected: the Renaissance Faire.
As a face-painter doubling as a serving wench, Ro is thrown headfirst into a vibrant community of artists and performers. She feels like a fish out of water until Will, a quick-witted whip cracker, takes her under his wing. Then there’s Christian, a blue-eyed stunt jouster who makes Ro weak in the knees. Soon, it’s not just her gown that’s tripping her up.
Trading in the internet and electricity for stars and campfires was supposed to make life simpler, but Ro is finding that love is the ultimate complication. Can she let the past make way for her future?
And now I pass it over to Laura!
People sometimes ask me, “Who is your favorite character in MY FAIRE LADY?” and my answer always surprises them. “King Geoffrey’s Faire,” I say. They raise their eyebrows, or feel the need to explain to the poor, clueless author what a character is, and I just smile. Settings can be characters too, or at least, a setting can behave like a character.
The Renaissance fair in my book is such a setting. It pushes the plot along, provides conflict, and is just as quirky, fun, and witty as a John Green character. It’s because of the fair that Ro finds love and finds herself.
To pull that off, I had to immerse myself in a Renaissance fair, so I visited the Ohio Renaissance Festival before I started to write the book. I took an extraverted friend with me to counteract my shyness, and we spent all day at the fair, watching events, shopping, eating (so much eating), and most importantly, talking to the workers.
We met a surly artisan who would provide a good basis for Ramon, Ro’s grumpy boss. We shopped at a clothing store, where I not only found inspiring clothes for Ro, Christian, and Will, but also met a sweet and wise seamstress who could easily have been Lindy. We sampled (ok, 4 cups can’t really be called “sampling”) mead, turkey legs, sweet pastries and a lot of fried things that probably shouldn’t have been fried. We saw acrobats, a joust, bowed to Queen Elizabeth, explored a tower of torture meant to look like the Tower of London, and even found a graveyard where we jumped into open caskets and took pictures of ourselves acting like zombies. The most enlightening part of the day, however, was when we sat in the facepainting booth and watched a woman named Robbie (who would become the teacup painter in my book) work her magic on kids of all ages. We learned all about her life, including what she does in the “off season”, how she became a “lifer” in this particular fair, and how she studied art for years. What was most fascinating to me was how fast she was. A child would walk in and ask for something so intricate that I was sure it would take an hour, like a butterfly princess. But in five minutes, the child would leave smiling and totally transformed, her entire face full of color, glitter, and jewels. Robbie knew exactly how to work with each child’s features to make the designs beautiful, and how to layer and blend colors to create shadowing and contour. That was what I wanted to get across most with Ro’s facepainting; that with each special creation, each child felt special, too.
Here are a few pictures from that day:
Zombie! Guard your brain!
A hand-carved troll:
A cape perfect for Christian:
The facepainting booth setup (with bonus Robbie arm):
The food staples – Turkey leg and mead: