This month, I caught up with author Winnie Winkle to talk about the inspiration for her books and chat about her series.
Winnie, tell us a bit about yourself.
First and foremost, I’m a water baby. Which, as a Pisces living on a boat in Florida, helps. I grew up in the US MidWest on and around lakes, but once I moved to Florida thirty some years ago, I knew the sea was my element. In my tiny condo in Daytona Beach Shores, I’m a horizon junkie, in love with the thin line between now and next. On the boat, we’re anchored seven miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico on the St. Marks River. Beautiful but chock full of gators, the upper flybridge is a fine place for dreams. I watch hawks, otters, manatees, and a variety of waterfowl. The river runs quick and deep, and the fishing is superb. Content to observe from my perch, the ecosystem does its thing unmolested.
Wow, that sounds idyllic (apart from the gators!) and the sea is a theme in your book too, so what’s your series about?
The story begins with Boogie Beach: The Record, Book 1. The magical world and the human one intersect on a line located directly under a pier bar and restaurant. The only human aware of this is the bartender. Her name is Cleopatra O’Keefe, and she’s called the Keeper. Human, with no magic, she has a symbiotic book (the Record), a substantial library, and luck as her sidekicks. While tending both the human bar and a magical, unseen one—on the same pier—she unravels campy, snarky problems with a variety of magical races. These include witches, shifters, fae, pixies, Greek immortals, and titans.
The Keeper navigates the infighting and shenanigans they end up embroiled in with hilarious results. Her character arc is fantastic; Patra changes to meet her next fight with a self-deprecating ballsy attitude. Feisty fatalism for the win! I like to thread undercurrents of justice and fairness issues, so it’s snark that makes you think.
I published the fifth novel in this series, Funkin’ Weird: The Record, Book 5 on July 28th. The world builds as characters repeat from previous books, so I recommend reading them in order. I believe there will be seven stories in total.
What is it about that form of magic or character that appealed to you?
My favorite books allowed for suspension of belief; to reach the point of total immersion is a magic all its own. For me, finding the sweet spot where reality and extraordinary mesh and makes sense is where I find authentic characters and situations. Those spots then foster the creativity to get around obstacles and enrich the stakes of the situation.
I love that about fantasy as a genre, so how did you get the inspiration for your story?
One evening, I walked down to a local pier bar in Daytona and held down a stool with a bourbon. I planned to eat, and usually eat at the bar when dining alone. The weather was nuts, and the waves crashed against the pilings, shaking the entire pier. Above my head, a row of beer pitchers hung on hooks. They swung erratically, but as I watched, they aligned in twos and threes until the complete set swung in unison. “That,” I thought to myself, “looks like magic.” Over a salad with grilled fish and a couple more bourbons, I sketched out the world on my phone. After I walked home, I cracked the laptop open and wrote the first chapter of Boogie Beach.
And are there any authors who you love?
I read (past tense, finding time to read is challenging as a full-time author), virtually everything I touched for the first thirty years of life. As a tween to early teen, I read my way through the fiction stacks of my school library and every book my mother brought into the house. A copy of Jacqueline Susann’s “The Valley of the Dolls” in the hands of a 13-year-old is eye-opening stuff. Throughout adulthood, Stephen King, Terry Pratchett, Douglas Adams, Joan Didion, John Updike, Louise Erdrich, Kaye Gibbons, and Janet Evanovich were other influences. I reread the books that grabbed me several times to examine their bones. Currently, I’m loving Laura Drake’s writing and reading “The Road to Me”.
I love so many of those authors! Finally, where can we learn more about you and your book(s)?
Website: https://wwinkle.com/ Please sign up for my newsletter. I run contests and share cool book promos, plus chat about writing craft and oddities. I write in three genres, and we’re an eclectic bunch.My current book list can be found here: https://wwinkle.com/all-books-winnie-winkle/
For The Record series: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0968ZFH9Z
For Boogie Beach: The Record, Book 1: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0968SZY44
I publish wide, so if you read on Apple, Nook or something else, try https://books2read.com/winkle7 for Boogie Beach.
Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/winniewinkle11