Nicole: Welcome to WORD, Catherynne! Fairyland is the most amazing world. Do you have a favorite place, one you would like to visit if you still could?
Catherynne M. Valente: I think I’d like to go to the Autumn Provinces, from the first book. Autumn is my favorite time of year, so there’s a little bit of wish fulfillment—I wish I could live in autumn forever! And eat ALL the pumpkin pies. Plus, I think I might be a fair hand at alchemy. Turning something dull into something shiny…I think I could be good at that.
N: How were writing the Fairyland books different from writing, say, Yume no Hon? Were there different techniques or places you wrote, or was it basically the same?
CMV: It’s funny that you picked Yume, because I originally wrote that as part of the Blue Lake Books 3-Day Novel Competition. (I lost.) So the easy answer is that one took three days to write, and the others took quite a bit longer. Yume’s a very old book now! I’ve come a long way—it’s very loosely plotted, as are all three of my early novels But writing Fairyland is different from writing my adult books—a thing I still do!—in terms of their directness, their vocabulary, and plotting. Fairyland comes straight out and tells you what the themes are and what’s going on under the hood. I use an elevated vocabulary, but not nearly as wild as I get with words with adults. And the Fairyland books are much more tightly plotted and planned—I outline heavily for Fairyland, but I meander a lot more in my adult work. Kids want the good parts up front. They’re frank and honest readers, and the Fairyland novels are the fastest-paced and have the most twists and turns out of all my books.
N: You've got quite the award collection! If you could win any award, real or imaginary, what would you want to win?
CMV: It’s probably predictable to say the Newbery. But I think I’ve known what the Newbery medal was before I’d even heard of book awards in general. I think I would actually pass out if that happened. You can’t even call it a goal, it’s something so far out of my experience as a writer. But if that makes me a dork, I’ll take the name.
Alternatively, the National Fairyland Badge of You Get to Keep Writing Books Forever No Matter What. That would be awesome.
N: You blog! How do you find time between writing?
CMV: This year, the answer has been not very well! I’ve been working on the third Fairyland novel and several other unannounced projects and finding the time has been tough. But in the end, blogging connects me to the world, to people I’ve never met but I count as friends. When I blog I interact, I take part in the great conversation, and that is its own reward. Hopefully just typing that will remind me to get back on the horse! I Tweet a lot, too, and have really come to love the community on Twitter. For every stupid, terrible thing that happens on the Internet, a sublime one also occurs. Call it the 117th Law of Online Thermodynamics.
N: Favorite food? Real or imaginary, of course; those Fairyland dishes look divine!
CMV: Oh my, I’d love to eat the food in Fairyland! The Gagana’s Egg especially, which is filled with eight different liquids of many flavors. You have to eat it with an icepick. In the real world, it’s probably a cross between pumpkin pie, spicy lamb korma, and beef wellington.
N: You have a whole bunch of your poetry and short stories available on your website. What made you decide to share them?
CMV: I want people to be able to read my work—both to try it in short pieces before they go for a whole novel, but also because so many of those stories were either in out of print anthologies or available for free on other sites. After a year or two, why not give people an easy place to find all of it? It costs me nothing to share stories with people. Or else what did I get into this gig for? If a story isn’t read, it dies. I wanted anyone to be able to log on and read one of mine. I write them out of love, and that wants to be shared, too.
N: Would you ever part with your shadow, if necessity required it?
CMV: Yes—I’m impulsive like September! It wouldn’t be good for me, as The Girl Who Fell Beneath reveals. Shadows are where your wildness and weirdness and magic lives. But if I had to, if I were faced with a choice and the other option was hurting someone, then of course I would. I might even like to meet her—who knows what the disobedient and unpredictable part of me would be like!
Should we be looking forward to more Fairyland and September? Any hints on what we may see from her - or from you! - next?
CMV: Yes! Fairyland is a five book series, and the third volume should be coming out around this time next year. I can’t say much, but I will tell you it takes place on Fairyland’s moon! Moon-Yetis may be involved.
Moon-Yetis! And as I mentioned above, the first two books in the Fairyland series are available for grabs here on WORD!
 copy of The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland up for grabs
 copy of The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland up for grabs
 winner in the U.S. or Canada
ends October 10
How To Win:
[mandatory] fill out the form below
[mandatory] follow me on some sort of medium
[+2] for every extra medium