The Goblins of Bellwater is an eerie tale of what happens when supernatural creatures infringe upon the human world. Curses, treachery, and love come together to make up an engaging story that may put you in the mind of classic fairy tales.
Today I get to share with you a guest post from the author herself, Molly Ringle. I asked her what it was like for these two worlds, that of humans and that of goblins, to overlap. What might a terrible mistake, made in another country across the Atlantic, be like for the descendants of the person making that choice? Molly’s insight is invaluable to reading the book and I hope you enjoy her post.
If a goblin appeared and offered you a deal that would get you your heart’s desire in exchange for nothing but some gold, would you take that deal? In my book The Goblins of Bellwater, a young woman did exactly that, over a century ago, and her descendants are still feeling the consequences today.
The story takes place in “our” world, America as we know it (with a little bit in France, where the young woman made that deal), rather than a fantasy world, which actually makes the whole issue more problematic. After all, in the modern day, with the internet and our scientific savviness, who’s going to believe someone who claims to be under a goblin curse?
These are the kind of stories I like to write when I choose to write about the supernatural: our world with magical enhancements, maybe with portals into mysterious places. Not other worlds entirely, just other dimensions of our world that we lowly humans don’t usually get to glimpse. It’s one of the features I like about Harry Potter—Hogwarts and the Ministry of Magic being tucked away unnoticed among the everyday buildings, concealed with enchantments. Neil Gaiman, Holly Black, Maggie Stiefvater, and others have also done this kind of thing brilliantly.
When I decided to stick goblins into modern rural Washington, along the shores of Puget Sound, I had some explanations to come up with. How did they get there? Were they always there? Are there other fae creatures too, different from the goblins? How is it that modern people don’t know about them? Or do they?
I settled on the notion that there’s a parallel fae realm wrapped into the natural world, in which many fae creatures live, some being native species to the region, and others more like invasive species who came from elsewhere. The goblins, I decided, are the latter. The backstory I gave them is that they’re from Europe, where they enchanted the great-grandmother of Kit Sylvain, a young man who now lives in Bellwater, Washington. As the fae do, they offered her a magical deal: if she brought them a certain amount of gold every month (goblins lust after gold), they could keep her sweetheart from marrying another woman. Foolishly, she agreed, and this deal, unbeknownst to her at the time, followed her bloodline, seemingly unbreakable, for the next several generations. The goblins themselves followed her descendants all the way to the West Coast of the U.S., demanding gold from one family member after another.
These days it’s down to Kit to get them their monthly ration of gold, which of course is an expensive proposition for a small-town mechanic. But if he doesn’t pony up, they might get angry and start assaulting his neighbors, if anyone happens to venture into their woods after dark…which is exactly what happens one winter night.
This being the modern day, who’s going to believe the young woman who falls victim to their strange curse? Who could Kit possibly tell about his goblin troubles in the first place? It’s a lonely existence, being under a spell, especially in a time and place where people don’t believe in that kind of thing and will simply think you’ve lost your mind.
What most of us read fantasy for, and what the real world lacks too often, is a sense of wonder. I like to imagine a world where we might yet stumble upon wonders that make our jaws drop open in awe—even if the wonders come with dangers. So my advice, as Kit warns his friends to do, is to just admire the glowing mushroom path and don’t actually follow it. Then you’ll be all right. Probably. But hey, in the woods at night, who knows? Weird stuff lives out there.
Have you ever had an experience with something otherworldly? Would you accept a deal with a Fae? What are some of your favorite fairy tales? Let me know in the comment section. 🙂