I think this will be a really fun read for those of you who are interested in retellings! I got to interview David Clawson, the author of My Fairy Godmother is a Drag Queen, and it sounds like he has many more retellings in store, but with a LGBTQ spin. Read on for more about his writing and some insight into his inspiration!
My Fairy Godmother is a Drag Queen by David Clawson
Genre: LGBTQ / Humour / Fairy Tale Retelling / Rom-Com
Chris Bellows is just trying to get through high school and survive being the only stepchild in the social-climbing Fontaine family, whose recently diminished fortune hasn’t dimmed their desire to mingle with Upper East Side society. Chris sometimes feels more like a maid than part of the family. But when Chris’s stepsister Kimberly begins dating golden boy J. J. Kennerly, heir to a political dynasty, everything changes. Because Chris and J. J. fall in love . . . with each other.
With the help of a new friend, Coco Chanel Jones, Chris learns to be comfortable in his own skin, let himself fall in love and be loved, and discovers that maybe he was wrong about his step-family all along. All it takes is one fairy godmother dressed as Diana Ross to change the course of his life.
My Fairy Godmother is a Drag Queen is a Cinderella retelling for the modern reader. The novel expertly balances issues like sexuality, family and financial troubles, and self-discovery with more lighthearted moments like how one rogue shoe can launch a secret, whirlwind romance and a chance meeting with a drag queen can spark magic and light in a once dark reality.
Sam/Spines: Let’s start off with a little game to learn more about you: what are two truths and a lie about yourself?
David Clawson: I hate cilantro, I’m a homebody who loves to travel, Federer over Nadal. (Where do I tell the truth?! I’m not much of liar.)
S: How did you get started in writing?
DC: The first time I remember getting excited about telling a story was in a sixth grade Science class. (Ironic?) I don’t remember the exact assignment, but I remember I set my story in Ancient Egypt, and it was so much more fun than any other Science assignment I’d ever been given.
S: Have you always been interested in writing?
DC: I was always a big reader, but when I was younger I probably enjoyed performing more than writing. (Boy, has that changed!) I jotted here and there, but it wasn’t until I took some writing classes in undergrad that I started realizing it might be the better creative fit for me.
S: Congratulations on getting your first novel published! Was there anything you found surprising about this process?
DC: The two biggest surprises for me were the amount of policing that goes on in fear of offending niche groups (1 – comedy needs to take risks, and 2 – it leads to false representations of the world), and no matter how much I think I waste too much on social media, it’s nowhere near enough. I’m pretty bad at it, I guess.
S: Can you tell us a little about your book?
DC: My Fairy Godmother Is A Drag Queen is a gay modern retelling of the Cinderella fairy tale. Because the original story is short, it’s largely a jumping off point (or basically the first act in screenplay parlance), and then I let the characters lead the way.
S: How did you come up with the idea for this story?
DC: This started out as a screenplay many years ago (the subject I studied in grad school), because I’d been working on romantic comedies, and I realized that I didn’t know of any gay romantic iconography, so I wanted to take a crack at it. And since Cinderella seems to be the most iconic rom-com structure, it seemed like the place I should start.
S: Were you always planning on writing a retelling?
DC: For this story, absolutely! See above.
S: Any other stories you’d like to do retellings of?
DC: Yes, I have a middle grade manuscript that is a Halloween retelling of A Christmas Carol, called Boo-Humbug. Also, since I’m trying to create a body of gay-positive romances, jump down to what I’m working on next….
S: Do you have a favourite character in your book or one you connect with most?
DC: Chris, the narrator, is a more reserved and proper version of me who tries harder than I do to impress and accommodate people, but I also relate to his insecurities and romantic aspirations. But the character who intrigues me the most is Buck. In a lot of ways, he’s the character who most knows and accepts himself, and I think most of us struggle with that. Also, I love inappropriate humor, so he definitely speaks that language. A lot of people mention an affinity for Coco/Duane, but he was inspired by a former co-worker and a meeting I had with RuPaul back in the 90s, so in some ways she/he feels more like their creation than my own.
S: What are you working on next?
DC: If Cinderella is the #1 archetype for rom-coms, I figure #2 is Pride & Prejudice, so I’m now working on gay, modern retelling of that, working title Fitz Darcy Is A D!ck.
#JABBR peeps, next book club read? 😉
S: And now for some fun questions: What is your Hogwarts house?
DC: A friend recently threw her daughter a Harry Potter themed birthday party, so I’ve actually just taken a test to determine this! I was evenly split between Gryffindor and Ravenclaw. In all honesty, there was one answer that I knew would be a point towards Gryffindor, but I didn’t want lie just to be closer to Harry. Better to know the truth. And, after all, the sorting hat struggled between putting Harry in Gryffindor or Slytherin, so….
S: Favourite flavour of ice cream?
DC: Depends on my mood. (Or craving?) Chocolate, butter pecan, lemon custard, mint chocolate chip, pomegranate if we’re talking Pinkberry, orange if we’re talking sherbet, I could go on….
S: Dogs or cats?
DC: I grew up with both, but I have to admit to loving the optimism of dogs.
S: And finally, where can we find you?
DC: My website is davidclawsonyep.com, and I’m @davidclawsonyep on Twitter and Instagram.
About the Author: Raised in Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Arizona, David met his first drag queen while living in Washington, D.C.; he’s still waiting to meet his Prince Charming. In the meantime, he lives in Los Angeles, complaining about the traffic, loving the diversity, and teaching Screenwriting at Loyola Marymount University. This is his first novel.
My thanks to the author and Sky Pony Press for this interview!