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Author Update: Lynne Sturtevant

Lynne Sturtevant is primarily a nonfiction author of how-to guides. But in her most recent release, The Good Neighbors (September 2020), she takes readers into the fantasy genre with a different look at fairies and their folklore. Find all of Lynne’s books on her website and Amazon author page, and connect with her on her blog and on Facebook. Read more about her work in SWW’s 2020 interview.

What would you like readers to know about the story you tell in The Good Neighbors?
The Good Neighbors is a different kind of contemporary fantasy. It’s a story about what happens when magic bubbles up in a normal place and disrupts the lives of ordinary people. No witches, wizards, vampires or misunderstood teenagers with magical powers. Just an overweight middle-aged woman and some feisty elderly residents in double-wide trailers trying to tamp down an outbreak of dangerous magical beings.

What sparked the idea for the book?
I was reading a lot of Celtic fairy folklore, not fairy tales, but 19th century rural folks’ descriptions of fairy encounters. My tag line for the book — “People used to know the truth about fairies and they were afraid of them.” — grew out of that research. I wondered what kind of situations would arise if a group of these self-absorbed, capricious, obnoxious creatures appeared in our world and refused to leave. Once I started imaging them roaming around the hills of West Virginia, I was off and running.

Who are your main characters, and what will readers like most about them?
My main characters are strong, smart older women. The narrator is Ginger. She’s blue collar, snarky, smokes and drinks too much and has financial problems. She is a home health aide traveling the countryside calling on elderly clients. And that brings us to Violet, a wealthy, erudite lady in her late 70s. Fairies have taken up residence on Violet’s property, but she doesn’t want anyone to know. Ginger discovers her secret when the fairies vandalize her car. There’s Henry, a retired banker who is romantically interested in Violet, as well as an assortment of other eccentric clients scattered through the hills. And, of course, there are the fairies themselves. They are not tiny, glamorous, sparkly creatures with gossamer wings that flit from flower to flower. They’re scrawny, about four-feet-tall, and they have personal hygiene issues. Plus, they really like artificial sweetener.

People love Ginger for her voice, her attitude, and the fact that she tries to apply a normal world problem-solving approach to an otherworldly dilemma: How to neutralize the increasingly violent and aggressive fairies before they create even more mayhem than they already have.

What is the main setting, and how does it impact the story?
The story is set in and around Parkersburg, West Virginia. I needed a place that was decidedly unmagical but within striking distance of an area that was remote, hidden, and possibly enchanted. Those are the sparsely populated hills and the village of Oberon, which is completely imaginary, about an hour south of Parkersburg. The setting reinforces the contrast between the regular world and the magical one, which is the theme underlying the entire story.

Tell us how the book came together.
I wrote the first version of this book about 20 years ago. I had a literary agent at the time who tried to sell it for two years. No takers. My favorite complaints from publishers were the fairies were too folklorish and Ginger was too old. I was disappointed, but I put it away. I never forgot about it, though.

The years went by, as they say, and I ended up in Albuquerque. I had several short nonfiction titles I wanted to self-publish. I took the SWW workshop on publishing last year and learned how to do just that, as we discussed in an earlier interview. I highly recommend that workshop, by the way.

When the nonfiction titles were finished, I took a deep breath and read my fairy novel for the first time in ages. I was surprised how much I still liked it. The good news was I saw flaws that I couldn’t see before. The even better news was I knew how to fix them. So, I did a rewrite, added two subplots and intensified and expanded several scenes. It only took a few weeks. Then I published it.

Is there a scene in The Good Neighbors that you’d love to see play out in a movie?
The fairies live in a mound. Even though the entrances are concealed, and no one is supposed to come inside, Ginger figures out a way to get in. The Fairyland she manages to get herself trapped in is not the magical realm described in classic fairy tales. I don’t want to give too much away, but I’ll mention a few elements: A dented Walmart shopping cart. Filthy shag carpeting. An amateurish sunset painted on black velvet. Lots of mud.

What was your favorite part of putting this project together? 
The bottom line is this story is fun. The characters are funny. The fairies are despicable. Crazy things happen. I loved writing it. I loved rewriting it. Taking the flawed original version, turning it into something better and helping it finally find the light of day was a very satisfying experience.

What writing projects are you working on now?
Several women told me they wanted to hear more from Ginger. They hoped she would have further adventures in the world of the paranormal, the supernatural, and the just plain weird. So, I’m writing a sequel! It will be book two in a series. I started it in November 2020 during NaNoWriMo. Ginger has a new territory. She’s been assigned to a small college town, which just happens to be the most haunted place in West Virginia. Rather than Celtic fairy lore, this time she’s steeped in the food, legends, folkways and magic of Appalachia. She’s also dealing with an increasingly frantic ghost. I plan to publish by the end of September. After that? I have one or two more ideas . . .

Is there anything else you’d like readers to know?
I love helping other writers develop web content and copy, a totally different writing style for many of us. I also design beautiful websites. You can find out more at or visit my author’s site at

KLWagoner150_2KL Wagoner (writing as Cate Macabe) is the author of This New Mountain: a memoir of AJ Jackson, private investigator, repossessor, and grandmother. Kathy posts to a speculative fiction blog at and writes about memoir at

2020 New Releases for SWW Authors #3

Authors William Fisher, Cornelia Gamlem, Larry Kilham, BR Kingsolver, RJ Mirabal, and Lynne Sturtevant represent the diverse membership of SouthWest Writers (SWW) with 2020 releases in the genres of historical fiction, business, biography, and several speculative fiction sub-genres. The releases in this post couldn’t fit into this year’s interview schedule, but look for interviews or updates for most of these authors in 2021.

At the end of this post, you’ll find a list of interviewed SWW authors for books published in 2020.

William Fisher’s debut novel, Cruel Road (October 2020), is a mid-eighteenth-century historical drama. John Fraser, Scots-Irish gunsmith and militiaman, faces a difficult dilemma when his new and pregnant wife is taken captive by a local tribal chief. This is the story of real-life John and Jane Fraser, among the first settlers of western Pennsylvania. Their lives are challenged by Indian conflicts, French and English fighting over territory, and survival in the Pennsylvania wilderness. The book is a dramatization of true events. Most characters are actual historical characters. John and Jane Fraser are the author’s direct ancestors. Some characters are fictional, and certain actions and descriptions are conjecture.

Visit Bill’s Amazon author page.

They Did What? Unbelievable Tales from the Workplace (September 2020) is Cornelia Gamlem and Barbara Mitchell’s newest nonfiction release. People have been misbehaving at work since work began. If you’ve ever been curious about workplace misbehavior, this book just might hold some answers. A compilation of stories collected from HR and other business leaders have been woven into a narrative that showcases the challenges HR professionals face daily in dealing with employees. They Did What? is funny, sad, and most definitely unbelievable—except it is all based on actual situations.

Visit Cornelia’s Amazon author page.

In Destiny Strikes Twice: James L. Breese Aviator and Inventor (November 2020), Larry Kilham tells the true story of the flight engineer on the first transatlantic flight in 1919 who went on to develop 130 patents for home and military space heaters. Dismissing a high society Long Island life, Jim moved to New Mexico in 1929 to start fresh in the unencumbered West. There he built his oil burner business with sales in the millions of dollars. The twists and turns through his adventure-packed life reveal lessons for everyone including many insights for aspiring inventors and entrepreneurs.

Visit Larry’s Amazon author page.

BR Kingsolver published three novels in 2020 (read the interview for Knights Magica here). The two most recent releases are in the new Rift Chronicles series. In Magitek (book 1, August 2020), the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Danica James’ grandfather wanted to end war. Instead, he broke the world. Through the Rift came demons, vampires, and monsters. Danica is a cop with the Arcane Division. She’s also a magitek. Her job is to clean up her grandfather’s mess. She’s not making much progress.

In book two, War Song (December 2020), Danica James is still a cop with the Arcane Division who works to protect humanity from monsters — whether they be human or creatures from the Rift. It beats sitting in a factory cubical all day, which is where magiteks usually work. Most of humanity hates the magic users who rule the world, but for a hundred years, the Magi have kept the demons, vampires, and other monsters in check. But now one Magi Family has allied itself with the demons in a bid for world domination. It was ugly before, but now it’s getting worse.

Visit the author’s Amazon author page.

RJ Mirabal’s newest release is the young adult fantasy Dragon Train (December 2020). Jaiden, a 15-year-old farm boy, dreams of a more exciting life in a world where people have enslaved dragons as beasts of burden, guard animals, and soldiers. He has never been more than a few miles beyond his farm and the quiet village of Hilltop. Yet Jaiden desires escape from his grouchy and somewhat abusive father. And then the dragon train makes an unscheduled stop in Hilltop. Skye, the huge Blue Dragon pulling the train, may die of exhaustion unless someone can help. Thus, a boy and dragon embark on an epic adventure in the hopes of fulfilling their longing for freedom, excitement, and happiness.

Visit RJ’s website and his book page.

Fairy Trouble (September 2020), by Lynne Sturtevant, is a contemporary Celtic fairy tale. People used to know the truth about fairies and they were afraid of them. When visiting homemaker Ginger Stewart encounters a troop of fairies in the wild, green hills of West Virginia, she learns magic is real. She also learns our ancestors were right. There are reasons to be afraid. Ginger is astounded when a fairy attacks her while she’s calling on an elderly client, Violet. Violet has spent her life hiding the fairies and protecting them from the outside world. But something has changed. The fairies have become angry and aggressive and she has no idea how to pacify them. As the mayhem escalates, Ginger and Violet negotiate a maze of folklore, ancient symbols, and dark family secrets. Will they find a way to restore equilibrium to the fairies before it’s too late?

Visit Lynne’s Amazon author page.

SWW Author Interviews: 2020 Releases

Connie Flores
Our Fascinating Life: The Totally Accidental Trip 1979
Sue Houser
BR Kingsolver
Knights Magica
Dr. Barbara Koltuska-Haskin
How My Brain Works: A Guide to Understanding It Better and Keeping It Healthy
Manfred Leuthard
Broken Arrow: A Nuke Goes Missing
Shirley Raye Redmond
Courageous World Changers: 50 True Stories of Daring Women of God
J.R. Seeger
A Graveyard for Spies
Lynne Sturtevant
Hometown: Writing a Local History or Travel Guide and The Collaboration Kit
Patricia Walkow
New Mexico Remembers 9/11

KLWagoner150_2KL Wagoner (writing as Cate Macabe) is the author of This New Mountain: a memoir of AJ Jackson, private investigator, repossessor, and grandmother. Kathy posts to a speculative fiction blog at and writes about memoir at

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