Author interview: A.R. Cook
An interview with A.R. Cook, author of The Lady in the Moon and Her Lantern
A.R. Cook is originally from Riverside, IL but currently lives in Gainesville, GA. She is primarily a fantasy adventure writer—her debut novel The Scholar, the Sphinx and the Shades of Nyx was released from Knox Robinson Publishing earlier this year—and she’s also dabbled in science fiction, mystery, and play writing. She tells us her poetry stinks, but we don’t believe her…
TB: Welcome, and thanks for joining us. We’re so happy to have your beautiful story in Willow, Weep No More—we think it has all the ingredients (readers will groan about that later) for a great fairytale. How did you find out about the anthology, and what made you decide to submit?
A.R.: A fellow author had posted about the Willow, Weep No More submission announcement on Facebook (see, it can be good for something other than chain-letter posts). I adore fairytales to no end. I grew up with them, and much of my imagination was shaped from them. I had a story brewing in my mind that otherwise would have probably never seen the light of day if not for Tenebris Books’ call for submissions, so I felt this was its chance to be read.
TB: We’re so glad to have prompted you to get writing! You say the story was already brewing, but where did the original inspiration come from?
A.R.: I had written a short play a few years ago based on the Major Arcana of the Tarot deck, in which one of the scenes was about a magician who coaxes the moon down from the sky with the intention of making her into soup. The play was pretty disjointed, but that one scene I really liked so I rewrote it as a short story. Also, the relationship of the mother and daughter in the story is much like that of my mother and I—she is a guiding light in my life, and I would face about anything for her sake.
TB: That’s interesting, and quite fitting, since we specifically wanted the characters in the book to explore the roles of mother, father, daughter and son, as well as romantic and adventurous roles. I’m going to give the cat a little peep out the top of the bag here and tell you that the illustration for your story depicts this mother-daughter relationship in a very touching moment. How do you feel about having an artist illustrate something inspired by your story?
A.R.: I am so excited to see an illustration to go with the story! It’s fun to see how another artist interprets what you wrote, or what they fill in that wasn’t specified in the text. Since I didn’t give highly detailed descriptions of my characters, I’m anxious to see what they will actually look like.
TB: You say you grew up with fairytales; tell us, what’s your favourite classic fairytale, and what was it that kept them in your mind beyond childhood?
A.R.: How can I possibly choose only one! I used to have several big, thick books of fairy tales when I was a kid, and I remember my mother would read to me before bed. Hans Christian Andersen’s tales has always resonated with me, particularly The Snow Queen and The Nightingale. I enjoyed Aesop’s Fables and Greek mythology stories as well. There used to be a television show in the late 1980s from the Jim Henson Company called The Storyteller that re-enacted various fairytales and folklore. Fearnot was probably my favourite episode from that series.
TB: Ohhh I loved The Storyteller too! A Story Short was always my favourite. Those stories were loosely based on traditional tales, but were elaborated on for a television audience. It seems this is happening a lot these days, with the sudden interest sparked by movies and TV shows. How do you define a fairytale?
A.R.: A fairy tale shows us that there is still magic in the world, whether it is the supernatural that we might catch glimpses of every now and then, or the magic in humanity. Fairy tales tend to embody the best values of humankind in their heroes—courage, intelligence, kindness, and determination—and hopefully that magic passes along to the reader and inspires them to be the same.
TB: What are you working on at the moment?
A.R.: I am writing the sequel to my first Scholar and Sphinx book. The second is titled The Scholar, the Sphinx and the Fang of Fenrir. Where the first book focused on Greek, Japanese, and Native American mythology, the second takes a look at Norse, African, and Russian mythology.
TB: Sounds great! Where can our readers find out more about you, your books, and your other work?
I invite you to visit my blog at: http://scholarandsphinx.blogspot.com, or my Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/TheScholarTheSphinxAndTheShadesOfNyx
My stories have been published in Toasted Cheese Literary Journal: http://tclj.toasted-cheese.com
There are also some of my short stories and poems (yes, the ones that stink) at: http://imaginalchemist.blogspot.com
Thanks so much for taking the time to answer our questions and tell us about your work. We wish you all the best with your series, and hope you’ll keep us informed about your writing career going forward.