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I'm deeply grateful for the fact that I grew up surrounded by magic and fairies.

My mother had pictures of Queen Titania and other magical beings hanging around the house, fairies drawn by wonderful artists like Margaret Tarrant and Sulamith Wülfing. As I child I spent hours gazing at these images. What child wouldn't be enchanted by a serene angel with wings of peach fading to lavender, holding a bouquet of flowers, with rabbits clustered at her feet?

My mother also taught me to love nature and the outdoors, as she did. She was always taking us on hikes and pointing out the local wildflowers, teaching us their names. A favorite early memory of mine that mixed nature and magic was a walk she and other moms led my brownie troop on. We strolled along the bottom of a canyon near our town on a summer afternoon, looking at flowers and scaring ourselves with imagined patches of poison ivy. Eventually we came to a tree covered with lollipops. The brownies gleefully denuded the tree of its treasures. I've always suspected my mom came up with that one.

As a child I devoured all the of Andrew Lang's "colored fairy" books: The Blue Fairy Book, The Violet Fairy Book, and on and on. Later I fell in love with Tolkein's world of elves and dwarves and hobbits and other fascinating creatures. With this background, it isn't surprising that of all the various genres I've written, my favorite is fantasy.

I still love fantasy art, and have pictures of elves and fairies on my walls. They inspire me to write stories set in worlds full of magic, where light triumphs over darkness. I'm fortunate to be able to entice visitors to my magical realms. I'm also fortunate to have beautiful covers, fantasy art created to illustrate my imaginings. The cover of my latest novel, Heart of the Exiled, is my favorite of all my book covers so far. It captures the same magical feeling that held me breathless as a child.

Posted by Pati Nagle

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