Christopher sits facing a young woman dressed in a full, russet skirt, a loose blouse while her coppery curls fall in a cloud around her head.
Christopher: It’s good to meet you, Nathalie.
Nathalie: It’s good to be here. (She smiles, leans back in her chair, flexing lean fingers against the arms.) An unrepentent storyteller like myself should visit our scribbler’s Cauldron of Eternal Inspiration.
Nathalie: That’s what Heather says, Heather being one of my little sisters’ friends. I tell talll tales, weave fact and fancy in a way that irresponsible. Grace loves it, though.
Christopher: Grace being your little sister.
Nathalie: Correct. Mama Morisot brought both of us back to Verity, her hometown where it would be safe for us to live and grow up.
Christopher: Your birthplace being unsafe to do either, I take it?
Nathalie: I don’t remember much about it, but I could smell the danger in the air. Have you ever felt it? That tense moment right before violence is about to erupt?
Christopher: Only too often.
Nathalie: My former home felt like that, only too often.
Christopher: You just said you weave fact and fancy together in a way that’s irresponsible. Do you think that’s true?
Nathalie: No, but I don’t take myself or my stories too seriously when I do so. It surprises me when other people do. (She chuckles.) It’s funny. My visual image was inspired by an actor our scribbler found extremely attractive. I’m named after one of the scribbler’s childhood friends. My love of tall tales, however, is something our scribbler’s father indulged in. I’ve passed that love onto Grace. There’s a scene in Wind Me Up, One More Time when Grace tells a tall tale of her own about a Stump of Wisdom. The Stump was inspired by a story the scribbler’s father told her about the Greedy Stump.
Christopher: The Greedy Stump?
Nathalie: Have you heard the story of The Giving Tree? Well, you haven’t heard that of The Greedy Tree. It was taking over half the trees in the world until it was chopped down. After that, the Greedy Tree became a Greedy Stump.
Christopher: Ah. (For all he’s a creature of shadow and imagination, this notion is new to him, too.)
Nathalie: Only the Stump was turned into sawdust, Greedy Sawdust, which became paper, thus spreading the greed over the world.
Christopher: Our scribbler’s father told her this story?
Nathalie: Almost word for word.
Christopher: I’m beginning to see why we and our stories are so strange. Strange ideas date back to our scribbler’s childhood.
Nathalie: Oh, Wind Me Up, One More Time is filled with references to our scribbler’s childhood! Apple brownies, scones, Forget-Me-Not china, gingerbread; a lot of those things played a part in her own childhood. Not to mention we characters are named after her girlhood friends.
Christopher: Including you.
Nathalie: I’m named after the one who gave her the teddy bear journal in which our scribbler wrote her first story. That friend, Nathalie, told her to write down all the tales waiting in her imagination to be told.
Christopher: And that first story became Wind Me Up, One More Time.
Nathalie: Yes, although I’m not the Nathalie in that story. The other Nathalie, Princess Nathalie appears in the story within Wind Me Up, One More Time.
Christopher: That story being Grace and Theodora: Magic and Mishaps, right?
Nathalie: Right. I’ll have the other Nathalie visit you next week…
Christopher: That could be interesting, if confusing.
Nathalie: Yes, won’t it be? (She grins at him.)
Christopher: I wonder if Nimmie Not’s mischief isn’t contagious…
Nathalie: Oh, I don’t need Nimmie Not to be mischievous! My mischief is all my own, thank you very much. (Her grin widens.)
Christopher: Is the other Nathalie mischievous as well?
Nathalie: You’ll find out soon enough…
Intrigued by Nathalie? Want to read more about her? Here are some buy links to the story she shares with Maia (her girlfriend/evil enchantress, OK, not really), Grace, and Theodora Bear…Wind Me Up, One More Time…
Mischief Corner Books/Shenanigans Press: https://www.mischiefcornerbooks.com/wind-me-up-one-more-time.ht