All right, it’s interview time here at Delusions of Sanity, and today’s guest is Mae Baum, who is promoting her story “Bluebeard’s Wives.” Mae’s story appears in the upcoming anthology A Bit of Magic. The anthology is a re-telling of classic fairy tales, and having had the opportunity to read several of the stories, I’d like to start off by saying that I highly recommend the book. Highly.
Here’s a tantalizing snippet from Mae’s wonderfully macabre story.
I’m not going to say that we nerds can be lured into unsavory situations by the tantalizing offer of a magnificent library, I’m just saying that I’m one werewolf who likes always to be armed when I accept tantalizing offers to look at the libraries of strange men. Just sayin’.
Mae has crafted a riveting story, and I’m very happy that she’s been willing to come and talk with me about the story and about her writing in general. Before we get into the interview, here’s a short bio on our esteemed guest:
Mae grew up among the snow and birch trees of upstate New York, but now makes her home in the urban jungle of Atlanta with her husband, daughter, and two cats. Always to be found with her nose in a book, she enjoyed exploring fantastical worlds and now loves making up her own.
Now, let’s get this interview started.
Delusions of Sanity: Hi, Mae. Welcome to my haphazard blog. I’m pleased that you could take some time to drop by. I’m really curious about your story since I’ve long been fascinated by the tale of Bluebeard, and I’m wondering what inspired your retelling, if you wouldn’t mind sharing with us why you chose this tale.
Mae Baum: I chose it because it’s a lesser known story and has always fascinated me. The story of Bluebeard has always bothered me, because why would this guy keep marrying women only to kill them? So I decided to set my Bluebeard in a modern Urban Fantasy setting and see if I could come up with a different reason for the murders.
Delusions of Sanity: I won’t spoil anything for the readers, but I have to say that I liked the reason you came up with–gruesome and chilling. As you were writing your story, did you find there to be anything particularly difficult about the story or the process?
Mae Baum: In the original tale, the women are greedy – wanting to marry him for his money – and fairly helpless – waiting and praying for rescue. I wanted to give the heroine more spunk but she still has to fall for his lines. It was a challenging balance.
Delusions of Sanity: That is a challenge, but I think you succeeded because your heroine definitely has personality and agency. I really liked her. In regards to other aspects of the story, did you find yourself sticking close to the original telling, or did you veer off as you wrote?
Mae Baum: I did actually stick closer to the fairy tale then I thought I would. It is in a modern setting so that automatically changes it somewhat and the motives of the characters are different, but I think it still feels like Bluebeard.
Delusions of Sanity: Yes, I’d say it still feels like Bluebeard even though you’ve infused it with the Urban Fantasy elements; it’s a nice balance that you’ve achieved. Now, A Bit of Magic is the fifth book in a series of short story anthologies. Have you had stories appear in JL Anthologies before?
Mae Baum: Yes, my short story, “Ice Bonds” was included in the superhero anthology, Between Heroes and Villains. In some ways, adapting a fairy tale is easier because the bones of the story are already known and the plot points are laid out. On the other hand, I had to deal with the misconceptions of the old story.
Delusions of Sanity: Yes, that’s right–I remember reading “Ice Bonds” and thought it was very good. May I ask how long you’ve been writing?
Mae Baum: Yes, I’ve been writing since I was very young, but I’ve gotten more serious about it in the last few years.
Delusions of Sanity: Now, when you write, do you find that you prefer happy endings to your stories? And does your preference impact how you write each individual story?
Mae Baum: I do in general prefer happy endings, but I don’t think it affected how I wrote this particular story–I can’t guarantee a happy ending to it.
Delusions of Sanity: And I won’t risk spoiling anything by prying further since I really want people to enjoy your story. Switching tracks a little, do you have other stories or books on which you’re currently working?
Mae Baum: I’m currently hard at work at my Imogene Payne new adult urban fantasy series.
Delusions of Sanity: I don’t want to rush you, or anything, but I’m looking forward to when you get that series completed because I’ve really liked what I’ve had the opportunity to read thus far. It’s lots of fun. How would you describe the Imogene Payne series to a potential reader?
Mae Baum: The series is about a magic-less witch of renowned parents who seeks to prove herself in the human world as an artist, only to find herself enthralled by vampires, pursued by suitors, and losing control of her own destiny.
Delusions of Sanity: As I said, that sounds fun (and what I’ve read has been fun, so there’s that). Speaking of fun, time for a couple of random questions, if you don’t mind.
Mae Baum: Sure, go for it.
Delusions of Sanity: Other than writing, do you have any hobbies you enjoy? I guess in contrast to hobbies you don’t enjoy–that was a dumb way for me to phrase the question, but you get it.
Mae Baum: Other than writing and reading, I like to play games, both video and physical, and watch movies. I play a mean game of Skip-Bo! And my favorite movie of the moment is Thor: Ragnarok.
Delusions of Sanity: And here’s a silly question. If you could have coffee or tea with any character from your work, who would it be and what would you want to discuss?
Mae Baum: I think Colette would be fun to have coffee or tea with. She seems to have an interesting life history and I wonder how she ended up with Louis.
Delusions of Sanity: Yes, I’d like to hear her story, too. All right, it looks like our time here is up. I am grateful that you could drop by and indulge my questions. It’s been a pleasure talking, and I’m looking forward to seeing your story in A Bit of Magic when it comes out later this year.
My thanks to all of my readers for dropping by to read the interview. If you want to get in touch with Mae, you can find her at Maebaum.com, on Twitter as @MaeBaumWriter, or hanging out on her Facebook page.