In my mind the word Fairy conjures up a more ‘disney’ like image of small winged human type creatures that fly. It’s all a lovely, cosy image and I wanted to distance my readers from this image by using a different spelling. I wanted my Faeries to have a slightly different image, in my mind they were overly beautiful human sized people who could perform magic, good and bad. A more historical Faerie from ancient times and cultures was what I wanted and it fitted in better with the inclusion of the Arthurian legend within the books.
In some folklore, Faeries were dead or demonic creatures or simply the spirits of the dead. They lived underground, or in another world. This Otherworld is closely associated with Avalon, the island where King Arthur was reported to have gone after being mortally wounded, taken by four faeries until he is needed once more. The Silver Bough was said to allow mortals to pass through into this Otherworld. Faeries were often known to be shape shifters too, skilled in magic that related to the elements (Earth, Water, Wind, Fire) and if they did fly, it was usually on the backs of birds.
There’s more to Fairies than tiny humanoid sized beings with insect-like wings and trails of magic dust.
(Illustration by the brilliant artist Brian Froud)