Where Are the Stories about Female Dwarves? Announcing Mabel the Notorious Dwarf

When she isn’t answering your Dear Sherry letters, our resident Writing Coach, Sherry Peters, is taking her own advice to Just Write. Today, we’re happy to share the news of her book release! Mabel the Notorious Dwarf is the latest in the Ballad of Mabel Goldenaxe YA fantasy series. The titles of the books may speak for themselves, but the best way to describe Mabel in the series is that, “she isn’t stout enough, her beard is too thin, and she’s in love with an elf.”

Oh Mabel, we’ve all been there.

The Book:

Mabel the Notorious Dwarf (2017)
Written by: Sherry Peters
Genre: YA Fantasy
Series: The Ballad of Mabel Goldenaxe (Book 3)
Publisher: DwarvenAmazon Press

The Premise:

Will Mabel finally find a way to live her life of infamy on her own terms?

It’s been three years since her tango with the Dwarven and Elven Mafias, and Mabel Goldenaxe has been busy. Her movie career has soared, she has the support of her friends, and has even found love. She’s the dwarf who has it all — or does she?

Mabel’s relationship with art-dealer Brent is on the rocks. The bond with her famous Mam, Frerin, has been more than tense, especially after what happened with Sevrin. Aramis, the now-Elven king, seems to regret his part in Mabel’s troubles and wants to be back in Mabel’s life. And her brother Max, her only connection to home, has stopped writing to her.

In the dramatic conclusion to the Ballad of Mabel Goldenaxe, Mabel must navigate her lingering love for axe-throwing, tumultuous relationships, and sidestep betrayal before it bites her in the battle-axe.

Congratulations on the publication of your third novel! This is so exciting! Super-duper exciting, because I remember when Mabel was born. Would you care to share how you came up with Mabel, the Lovelorn Dwarf?

Mabel started out as a point of view writing exercise. During the Odyssey Writing Workshop, our wonderful instructor, Jeanne Cavelos, had asked something to the effect of: “Why are there no stories about female dwarves?” Around that time, during the critique of a classmate’s story featuring a beautiful elf-girl, someone said, “Why is it always the elf-girl that the men fall in love with?” While I doubt any of my classmates gave these comments much thought, they stuck with me. So when it came time to practice writing in different points of view, I decided to have a little fun. I wrote about a female dwarf who had to go look after Snow White and then spent her evening in the tavern where the most beautiful boy elf came in, and she fell in love with him. I had so much fun with it, that over the next couple of weeks, I couldn’t stop thinking about this female dwarf I had written about. I started to wonder what life might be like for her, in a society where maybe a third of the population, or less, is female. What are the standards of beauty she would have to live up to? What about family? Work? What if she doesn’t meet those standards or expectations? Next thing I knew, I was writing a short story about a female dwarf named Mabel, who wasn’t stout enough, her beard was too scraggly, and she read self-help books to help her attract a mate, even though she was in love with an elf.

Oh, the self-help books make me giggle. Still. TO THIS DAY. Now tell me, what made you decide to turn Mabel the Short Story into Mabel the novel, let alone a trilogy?

I still shake my head at it. I can’t believe something that started out as a writing exercise turned into some short stories, then a novel, and then a trilogy. Simply put, I fell in love with Mabel. I had so much fun writing that point of view exercise, I wanted to write more. And then one short story became two, and I still hadn’t had enough. Writing Mabel’s story made me smile. Playing around with the idea of a not-stout-enough, bearded, female dwarf in love with the prettiest elf allowed me to address questions of body image, familial/societal expectations, and the search for a place of belonging, in a way that didn’t take itself too seriously. The original plan, then, was to write a series of short stories and sell them as a collection. It soon became rather clear that that was not going to work. So after some discussion with my Seton Hill mentor, Anne Harris, it was decided to make it into a novel. I figured it would be a stand-alone novel, but I would pitch it as having “series potential” should any agent or editor show interest. But then I was in a screenwriting class taught by Patrick Picciarelli. He was talking about high concept and log lines, and he threw out “Snow White meets The Godfather.” I pretty much yelled out in class, “OMG! It’s the sequel! Can I use it?” Thankfully, he let me have it. Eventually that became Mabel the Mafioso Dwarf. After that, I knew there had to be at least one more book to wrap everything up, or at least bring the story of Mabel, her family and friends, to some kind of satisfactory ending.

So it sounds like if someone is interested in Mabel and her adventures, they might be better off starting with book one, Mabel the Lovelorn Dwarf?

Yes. The trilogy is very much a continuing story arc. While there are places where some of the back-story is filled in, it is more of a way to refresh the reader’s memory than to make the book stand alone.

Makes sense! Tell me, you label this YA Fantasy: what about this trilogy makes it young adult. While we here at Speculative Chic know that YA is rated E for Everyone, Especially Adults, not everyone knows that!

That’s a difficult question to answer. I hadn’t written Mabel with the intention of making it Young Adult. I had written it for myself when I was most definitely not a teen. I wanted to write a story that addressed the issues that I was experiencing about body image and expectations, and finally being in a place where I could be myself. I figured that if I was still dealing with these issues, maybe others were too. But because those issues, and because Mabel is primarily a tale of self-discovery and coming-of-age, it is designated as YA. Of course, that means I have a broader audience, and YA readers are some of the best out there.

And there you have it! If you want to get to know Mabel even better, feel free to start with the first book of the trilogy, Mabel the Lovelorn Dwarf, so you can tear through the trilogy to get to this latest release, available today from your preferred online bookseller! Or, if you’re loving this already, check out the omnibus of all three books collected as one!

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