I love fairytale tropes. I love the stories that take well-known fairytales like Beauty and the Beast and turn them into something new but the same, and I love the stories that reference the oddest, most out-of-the-way fairytales I haven’t heard before. So I suppose it was only natural that when I began writing, I would eventually begin to write a series of them myself. There’s just something so enjoyable about taking a well-known trope and expanding it, building on it, until it’s become its own story with its own aims and ideas. It’s fun to turn that trope on its head, or to deepen its characters, and make it all my own. Funnily enough, that’s not how I began to write the book that was easiest of all my books to write. I’d already written a reworking of Little Red Riding-Hood and was partway through re-writing my spin on Sleeping Beauty, and I was thinking about other fairytales that I wanted to play with. The Little Mermaid was high on the list (now lightly sketched out), but it occurred to me that my favourite fairytale (aka Beauty and the Beast), was the one fairytale I wouldn’t really want to rewrite. I’d no sooner thought that, than my brain said: ‘Yes, but if I did, this is how I’d do it.’ When I began to write the book, it was the quickest, most enjoyable book I’ve ever written.
There’s a heck of a lot of rewritten fairytales floating around out there. Some are good, some are bad, and some are downright ugly. I don’t know if mine will sell well at all, but I just got the cover for the first in the sequence, and I can’t stop sneaking looks at it whenever I think I’ve gone long enough without looking at it. Once I’m done with my first ebook release, I’ll probably even share it here.
But for now: if you like a really good fractured fairytale read, don’t walk past these ones-
The Perilous Gard by Elisabeth Marie Pope
Fire and Hemlock by the amazing Diana Wynne Jones
The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale
and last but certainly not least, Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine. (Skip the movie. Just read the book. Really.)
Edit: Can’t believe I forgot Goldenmayne by Kate Stradling!