Carol Goodman aka Juliet Dark author of The Water Witch
I began the Fairwick series—a trilogy about a half-witch, half-fey folklore professor who controls the door to Faerie—while house hunting in upstate New York. I’d already found the honeysuckle thicket which surrounds my heroine’s house on an estate near my home on Long Island. But I knew Cailleach McFay’s house—and my future home—would be in upstate New York. And I hoped we’d both be living in beautiful old Victorians.
My husband and I spent many a weekend exploring the villages and rolling green hills of the Western Catskills—an area far enough from the city that we thought we might be able to find an old house we could afford. We saw some beautiful houses. There was the Queen Anne Victorian with gabled eaves and a plaster frieze of grapes and acanthus leaves in the dining room—only when we descended to the basement we noticed that the furnace was perched on cement blocks and there were water marks 3 feet up the walls. Further research revealed the house was in a flood plan. Then there was the Greek Revival farmhouse with half a dozen dead crows in the attic and a radon reading through the roof. We looked at foreclosures where the bank had neglected to winter proof the house and all the pipes had burst. One house that held our attention for months was a pretty Victorian perched on a hilltop on the edge of a college campus. The only problem was that hill. Barely drivable on a dry day, it would be unassailable come winter. At night I had nightmares of us skidding to our deaths on that hill. Or I dreamt of houses that floated away in rising creeks. Or farmhouses stranded by blizzards. Finding our dream house was giving me nightmares. Was it any wonder that I turned my thoughts to a house that would give its occupant a different kind of dream? A house that was possessed by an incubus seemed infinitely preferable to one infested with termites.
Honeysuckle House was cobbled together of bits and pieces—the gabled eaves, the classical plaster frieze, the tower bedroom, the built-in bookcases, the mountain views—of all the houses we looked at. But it had one ingredient none of those houses had—a magical handyman named Brock who turns out to be a Norse divinity. That’s what you’d need, I had decided after looking at dozens of old houses, a good handyman. I was learning how hard one was to find.
Because while I was house hunting I was trying to get my house on Long Island ready to sell and it, as if sensing its imminent abandonment, had decided to fall apart. The skylight in the bedroom started leaking, the basement flooded, and termites invaded the garage. Since my husband—a brilliant poet who reads every draft I write and can fix my faulty grammar and syntax the way Brock can fix roofs—and I are not “handy” I hired professionals who showed up late, or didn’t show up at all, who miswired electrical fixtures and nearly burnt the house down. As my days turned into an endless round of trips to the Village Hall to track down building permits from thirty years ago and waiting for workmen to show up, I wondered what would happen to my heroine Callie if she lost her magical handyman. And if she did have to do without him for a while what would happen to her dream house? More importantly, what would happen to her dreams?
So I sent my heroine on a quest to find out what could fix what was broken in her life while I fixed up one house and moved to another. A beautiful old Victorian? My dream house? No. The house I’m living in now is a modest 1960s Colonial a little closer to civilization, with a dry basement, and only a modicum of home repair needs. It’s not my dream house, but it lets me sleep at night.
After casting out a dark spirit, Callie McFay, a professor of gothic literature, has at last restored a semblance of calm to her rambling Victorian house. But in the nearby thicket of the honeysuckle forest, and in the currents of the rushing Undine stream, more trouble is stirring. . . .
The enchanted town of Fairwick’s dazzling mix of mythical creatures has come under siege from the Grove: a sinister group of witches determined to banish the fey back to their ancestral land. With factions turning on one another, all are cruelly forced to take sides. Callie’s grandmother, a prominent Grove member, demands her granddaughter’s compliance, but half-witch/half-fey Callie can hardly betray her friends and colleagues at the college. To stave off disaster, Callie enlists Duncan Laird, an alluring seductive academic who cultivates her vast magical potential, but to what end? Deeply conflicted, Callie struggles to save her beloved Fairwick, dangerously pushing her extraordinary powers to the limit—risking all, even the needs of her own passionate heart.