New Release! The Fair Folk by Su Bristow

 The Fair Folk by Su Bristow

Su's second novel, The Fair Folk was published on 23rd January by Europa Editions in the US. We've asked her to tell us a bit about it.

What was your inspiration?

My first novel, Sealskin, is a retelling of one of the selkie myths. For The Fair Folk I went to the multitude of fairy stories that were told all over the British Isles; not the ones you read in the Brothers Grimm or Perrault, but the homespun tales repeated over hundreds of years around fires and at feasts. Wherever country folk lived, it seems, there were fairies making mischief, striking bargains, and - sometimes - doing favours. 

What is The Fair Folk about?

My story begins with a lonely child meeting the fairies in the nearby woods, and it’s set in the 1950s and 60s, at a time when farming in Britain was changing after centuries of tradition, and sightings of fairies were beginning to dwindle. Most children grow up and forget these magical encounters, but Felicity cannot. She has been honoured - or burdened - with a special magical gift, and as she leaves home for university and the wider world, the fairies go with her.
The story is interwoven with older tales that both explain and add deeper layers to the events of the book. Where possible I’ve given the dates and places where they were collected, but popular stories grow and spread and change in the telling, and some were impossible to pin down. And of course, they are still being retold...

How different was the process to writing your first novel?

Sealskin won the Exeter Novel Prize in 2014, and that opened the door to publication for me, although it was another three years  before the book actually came out. The process was different with The Fair Folk; I wasn’t under contract to write another book, but my publishers wanted whatever I came up with next, and Europa Editions offered for it straight away. And the rest is not yet history!