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Last year, Lucy was lucky enough to read an author review copy of Paige L Christie’s debut novel, Draigon Weather. She immediately fell in love with the story and what Paige was trying to achieve. We have previously had Paige on the blog answering our ‘five questions‘ but we wanted to talk to her more extensively about how she used historical instances of oppression of women to inspire her fantasy novels.
We spoke to Paige about what makes her stories different, given she is covering one of fantasy’s favourite subjects: Dragons (though borrowing the Gaelic spelling). Her trope-flipping includes the age-old tales of sacrificing virgins to monsters, but in her story, ‘They’re not sacrificing the pure [women], they’re sacrificing the troublemakers.’ Folktales, where much of her inspiration derives from, have always been used to affirm the dominant social narratives of whatever society created them. In her work, Paige uses this idea to examine just how powerful the cultural myths can be in oppressing groups.
‘Folklore is something we are still creating and something we do every day.’
One of the most powerful means of rebellion against an oppressive society is education. Those women ‘chosen’ to be sacrificed to the dragons are all intelligent and enquiring with a hunger for learning which is a hugely refreshing take on a familiar idea. All too often violence is shown to be the only answer. Paige talks about how education, for her, has always been about freedom and why it was important for her to explore this idea in her writing.
Along with education, another central tenet of Paige’s work is storytelling. Women support each other by passing on stories orally, much as fairytales were originally shared. Oral storytelling is something we should embrace and she encourages people to listen to more audiobooks as a result. After all, ‘there was storytelling long before there was writing!’
‘Women make the whole world go… and to deny that is a form of insanity!’
Apologies for a few background noise incursions – Paige very kindly recorded this episode while still at the office to accommodate the time difference!
Paige L. Christie was raised in Maine, and lives in the NC mountains, writing speculative fiction, walking her dog, and being ignored by her herd of 3-legged cats. Always a nerd, obsessive about hobbies like photography, Ghawazee Dance, and listening to the characters in her head, Paige can be found slightly left of center. As a believer in the power of words, Paige tries to tell stories that are both entertaining and thoughtful. Especially of interest, are tales that speak to women, and open a space where adventure and fantasy are not all about happy endings. Find her online at https://paigelchristie.com/
Texts and authors mentioned in this episode include:
- Robin McKinley
- The Alphabet Versus the Goddess: The Conflict Between Word and Image by Leonard Shlain
- The Original Series: Star Trek
- John Wick
- Salem’s Lot by Stephen King
- Max Brand (pen name of Frederick Schiller Faust)
- The Lonesome Gods by Louis L’Amour