As the monsters, ghosts, and ghouls crawl out the shadows to drink blood red cocktails and eat bite-size bits of candy this weekend, I’m marking the birthday of my favorite wicked witch, Mab Ipswich.
Two years ago today, I sat in the Piper’s Alley Starbucks, before the inaugural meeting of the NLB, and scribbled out a short story about a wicked young witch. The story was inspired by the spooky, supernatural Halloween spirit in the air, and especially by memories of a particularly mischievous elementary school student I had in Japan named Yuka.
A few days shy of a year ago, that story, “Mab Ipswich: The Wickedest Witch,” was published in the November 2011 issue of the children’s macabre magazine Underneath the Juniper Tree. Since then, three more Mab stories have been published in Juniper Tree, along with a couple on this blog. The published stories have been illustrated by amazing artists from around the globe, and Mab even has merchandise now.
I’ve managed to write 19 Mab stories in these two years. And I’m currently working on a full Mab Ipswich book, a novel-in-stories about Mab’s magical misadventures at school, told from the perspectives of Mab’s teacher, her best friend, the boy who has a crush on her, the school bully, and finally Mab herself. My goal for the book is 19 stories (not including some of the stories I’ve written which aren’t set at school, and may go in future books) and at least 30,000 words. I’m currently at 13 stories, with 3 more in progress, and over 20,000 words. I have the remaining stories sketched out. There’s still a lot writing and revising to do, but for the first time in a long time on a writing project, I feel like I’m close. And I’ll raise a glass of pumpkin ale and a fun-fized Reese’s to that.