So, I have been struck by a lightning bolt of inspiration. While working on the werewolf story I have been writing since 1998, I decided to make the sweet little old German lady from the Gingerbread House into the main character of her own novel. I can’t help it. Grandma Gretel is based on a real person I knew as a child. She was a concentration camp survivor from WWII who lived by herself in our little Iowa town. And I loved her. I can’t help but write a story about her in fictional form. So, here is the start of my goofy new project;
Recipes for Gingerbread Children (Rezepte für Lebkuchen-Kinder)
A novel by Michael Beyer
Gretel baked gingerbread the way Mozart composed symphonic masterpieces, or Leonardo DaVinci painted women with mysterious smiles. People loved her gingerbread cookies and were hooked with one single taste. And her recipes were a carefully guarded secret, as was the reason that she lived alone in the little town of Norwall, Iowa, on the eastern edge of Wright County. Gretel was basically a very happy person, a very loving person. But there were good reasons for her secrets to remain secrets, and though the people of her little Iowa town loved her and took care of her, they must never know the truth.
“Gretel, old girl, you make me work hard for my milk,” complained Lumpkin the Brownie as he deposited the special bag of flour on the kitchen table.
“Ya, you are such a kidder, you are,” Grandma Gretel snapped at the little brown-skinned man who had just climbed through her kitchen window and thrown the small bag of magical ingredients on the table. Lumpkin was a local fairy and benign spirit who got away with living in town because he was only three inches tall and could turn invisible at will.
“No kidding, Grandma. Brownies don’t like to do work. We’re just as lazy as human beans. We only do this stuff because we are compelled… or bribed. And your milk and your gingerbread is magical.”
“Ya ya, magical… this I know. But what you can be telling me is… did you have to do any bad things to get the fairy flour?”
“We are not the Unseely Court, Grandma Gretel. We don’t deal in evil or pain. We do it for love.”
“Love of cookies and milk I am thinking.”
The brownie grinned a great, wide, and particularly ugly grin. “Still counts as love, old woman.”