Thursday, April 25, 2013

The World of 'Fairy Godmothers, Inc.'

         Usually, when I think of fairy godmothers, it’s in the realm of fantasy and fairy tales. Jenniffer Wardell’s Fairy Godmothers, Inc. takes fairy godmothering to a whole new level: the world of Business. In Wardell’s book, anyone can rent the services of a fairy godmother… once they are willing to pay the price.


  
In a world where fairy tale situations are as much a fact of life as death and taxes, everyone knows hiring Fairy Godmothers, Inc. is the best way to assure that your beautiful daughter or enchanted frog of a grandson will get the happily-ever-after he or she deserves. Sure, sometimes a little love potion is required to make sure those quotas stay up, but what Prince Charming doesn’t know won’t hurt him.

Kate, an experienced Fairy Godmother, who’s enough of a romantic to frustrate her rigidly rule-bound boss, has just received a specialtyassignment from one of the company’s board of directors. Cinderella—Rellie for short—was placed with an appropriately wicked stepfamily years before, and now needs the dress, ball, and handsome prince to complete her happily-ever-after. The fact that Rellie isn’t sure this is her dream come true—balls are fun, but princes tend to be less interesting than fluffy bunnies—isn’t something management considers a problem.

Complicating things a bit is Jon, the youngest son of the royal family, who meets Kate, and is smitten, but isn’t quite ready yet to reveal his true identity. After all, it’s his older brother Rupert who’s supposed to marry Rellie, which means pretending to be a lowly civil servant will give him the chance to spend more time with Kate. (As long as he can get the ball arranged, and stop Rupert from getting himself into trouble over his “self-actualization” business, he should have the perfect opportunity to explain everything and get started on making a little magic with the Fairy Godmother of his dreams.)

But, of course, things never ever happen as planned.


And now, here is Jenniffer, who has kindly agreed to shed some insight into the world she has created.  



For the sake of narrative convenience, popular imagination tends to shove all the old fairy tales together into the same world. Snow White and Sleeping Beauty might not have been neighbors – wicked queens are more possessive about their territory than cats – but they probably would have heard about each other if either lady ever bothered to listen to gossip.

        Which means that there’s a world out there somewhere where there’s a lot of princesses running around getting cursed, True Love’s Kiss is as reliable a cure as penicillin, and witchcraft is a viable career alternative. When things are that reliable, they stop being strange or magical and start being just another thing that happens. Here, politicians lie. There, old women hang out in the woods for no reason. In Fairytale Land, it’s just another fact of life.

        If things get reliable enough, people start planning for them. If you hear about enough girls marrying princes by hanging out in castles pretending to be scullery maids, parents are going to start dressing up their daughters on the off chance that their kid will be one of the lucky ones. Think of “American Idol” hopefuls, but here the judges are looking for artfully smeared dirt and stealth flirting. It’s more complicated than Match.com, but too many people get results for anyone to argue.

        And what do you do to give your daughter (or son) an edge in this kind of romance market? Hire a Fairy Godmother. There’s always room for experts in any world, particularly if they know how to manipulate things behind the scenes to make other people look good.

        Of course, there would be plenty of other job titles up for grabs. Your average fairy tale is chock full of witches and sorceress, both good and evil, enough that there are probably more job openings than there are crazed magic users. Inevitably, the people doing the hiring would have to accept people that weren’t quite so good, or quite so evil.

Designations would simply become part of the job title, leading to a world of “good” witches who are terribly crabby and “evil” witches who make wonderful chocolate chip cookies. Town councils would start including funding for the mysterious old woman in their nearby stretch of woods as part of the line items in their annual budget. Selling curses would evolve into a legitimate business, and someone would eventually invent anti-curse insurance.

        People would start testing their traditional cultural and societal boundaries, just like they do here. Dwarves, already known as engineers and inventors, would start forming rock bands and getting into interior design. Elves and pixies would be free to head underground and grab some pickaxes, or head to the big city and take up professional wrestling.

Someone would figure out how to make magic mirrors portable, then proceed to make a ton of money until rival companies started flooding the market with knockoff mirrors. Then the original mirrors would get snotty and write withering articles about how the new mirrors were soulless and a sign that society was going downhill.

And somewhere in the middle of it all, a Fairy Godmother named Kate would have to come up with her own definition of “happily ever after.”




Fairy Godmother’s, Inc. is available wherever books are sold.


You can find Jenniffer Wardell online here:





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