Everyone say HI to spinner of fairy tale stories extraordinaire, author Jennifer Wardell! Her debut adult romantic comedy launches tomorrow (April 27). This fabulous and funny retelling of Cinderella is the perfect summer read. CLICK HERE for my full review.
Be sure to ENTER THE FAIRY GODMOTHERS INC GIVEAWAY for a $25 Amazon gift card.
I asked Jennifer to dish on some of her secrets of how to write a fairy tale retelling with a fresh voice. So here she is:
Fairy tales, like the Greek and Roman myths that came before them, gave the people who heard them a roadmap to navigate the darkness with. They offered lessons on the things that mattered most to their tellers – the importance of a pure heart, the need to listen to your elders, the punishment suffered by the greedy, and the fact that terrible things sometimes happen that are beyond anyone’s control.
These days, we need different tools to navigate the darkness. A pure heart is a good thing, but if it comes with incredible naivety you’re going to be sending a lot of money to Nigerian con men with terrible spelling. The greedy sometimes don’t get punished, which means that us poor nobodies need to figure out a way to accept that and still get up in the morning. Sometimes you need to listen to your elders, but not if that means keeping alive old prejudices that have no place in the world.
If we’re facing a dragon, it’s more likely to be unemployment than the threat of an early death. We’ve long ago given up on unquestioningly obeying our leaders, but there are more than a few of us out there who desperately need something to believe in. This isn’t the same world where Sleeping Beauty first nodded off.
That doesn’t mean fairy tales are useless. Sure, a fancy dress isn’t going to solve all of our problems, and we’re smart enough these days to know that. But what girl doesn’t like getting a new outfit now and then?
What we need to do is start taking our fairy tales back. In the old days, they changed every time someone told them, imbued with the needs and hopes of each new person, family, town and culture. That shouldn’t stop just because we’ve started writing them down.
Instead of forgetting the old stories, we need to bring them back to life by doing the same thing. Give them new monsters, the kind that fit into a world where mortgage payments are as scary as teeth and claws. Make the characters hope for the same things you do. Need the same things you do. There’s still magic in the world. Just because it’s different than the stuff that turned a handsome prince into a frog doesn’t make it any less real.
We still need a roadmap to navigate the darkness. Fairy tales can do that, but only if we make them ours again.
Thanks, Jennifer! I highly recommend you pick up or download a copy of Jennifer’s witty, romantic tale, available everywhere books are sold.
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