You may recall the Fill In the Blank guest post we had from author Maureen McGowan during Fairy Tale Fortnight. Well, Maureen is back and answering the serious/silly mix of questions we asked during FTF! Be sure to stick around to the end for a giveaway of one of Maureen's "Twisted Tales"!
~Hi, Maureen; thanks for stopping by (again!). Can you tell us a little bit about the series and what inspired you to turn the typical damsel in distress heroines into ninjas and vampire slayers?
My main objective was to create adventurous, fast-paced versions of the traditional tales, with heroines who were capable of saving themselves. As for the inspiration for the actual stories, the title for Sleeping Beauty: Vampire Slayer came to me in a lightning flash that I can’t really explain. Once it hit, I instantly loved the idea of adding elements of paranormal and adventure stories into fairy tales. The ideas developed from there.
~Why fairy tales? What is it that calls to you, personally, as a writer, and why do you think readers connect to them the way they do?
To be perfectly honest, the editor for these books came to me with the idea of doing choose-your-own-adventure fairy tales. I’m not certain I would have gravitated to fairy tales otherwise, mostly because I do find the heroines in the traditional stories too passive. But as soon as I started thinking about it, I realized that there was no reason I couldn’t change what I didn’t like about the traditional stories. That’s what got me excited.
I think readers are connecting because the core stories for traditional fairy tales are a part of our common culture. Most readers can see elements or winks to the familiar stories, but with heroines, I hope, they can cheer for. While the Twisted Tales are far from “issue books”, I did try to incorporate positive and relatable themes in each of the stories. Both stories have the tried and true fairy tale themes of true love and good triumphing over evil, but Cinderella: Ninja Warrior is also about seeing the true person inside, and believing in yourself. Sleeping Beauty: Vampire Slayer is also about prejudice, what it’s like to be a child of divorce and learning not to blame yourself for other people’s problems. I believe those are themes that readers of almost any age can relate to.
~What’s your favorite scene you’ve ever written?
I really enjoyed writing the magic competition scenes in Cinderella: Ninja Warrior. I gave my imagination free reign and those scenes practically wrote themselves. It’s like magic when the action in the scene unfolds as quickly as my fingers can type. Pure magic.
Quickfire, Silly and Random stuff:
~Rapunzel is named after lettuce; what odd thing would you be named after if you were in a fairy tale?
~ Mmm, delicious. Using that name, give us a line from your life as a fairy tale:
Chick pea delivered a decisive side kick into procrastination’s gut. “Take that!”
~Best fairy tale villain and why?
As a kid I was terrified of Disney’s queen in Snow White. Not only was she depicted in a terrifying way, her motivation of wanting to kill anyone who outshines her beauty is pure evil. I’m looking forward to writing my own version of Snow White.
~Favorite tale from childhood? Favorite tale as an adult? Least favorites?
I didn’t love fairy tales as a child. I had an intense fear of witches and fairy tales were a bit too intense for me. (I was a wimp.) Now, I like Sleeping Beauty best, because it has such a positive theme that relates even in modern times.
In terms of the traditional stories, I think Cinderella is a least favorite, because I don’t like the message it sends to young girls. I think that’s why I most wanted to “fix” Cinderella. That said, I did love the story of Cinderella when I was little. Who doesn’t want to be swept away from all her chores and problems by a handsome prince?
~If you could be any fairy tale character, or live through any fairy tale "happening," who/what would it be?
I’m going to answer this based on my own adaptations, rather than the traditional stories. I’d love to participate in the magic competitions in Cinderella: Ninja Warrior. Particularly if I had her skills, courage and agility. Those competitions would be dangerous, exciting and fun. The ultimate extreme sport.
~Would you rather:
-- eat magic beans or golden eggs?
Beans. But both seem suspect as food products. ;)
-- live under a bridge with a troll, or all alone in a high tower?
I’ll take the troll. Who knows, he might be misunderstood.
-- be forced to spin straw into gold for hours on end, or dance every night until your shoes are worn through?
Dance. I love dancing and probably have come close to wearing through shoes in real life.
Thanks so much, Maureen!
You can check out my review of Sleeping Beauty, Vampire Slayer here on The Book Rat later today. And right now you can enter to win your very own copy of Sleeping Beauty: Vampire Slayer!
Sleeping Beauty: Vampire Slayer (Twisted Tales)
In this thrilling story full of adventure and romance, Sleeping Beauty is more than just a lonely princess waiting for her prince—she's a brave, tenacious girl who never backs down from a challenge. With vampire-slaying talents that she practices in secret, Sleeping Beauty puts her courage to the test in the dark of night, fighting evil as she searches for a way to break the spell that has cut her off from her family. In a special twist, readers have the opportunity to make key decisions for Sleeping Beauty and decide where she goes next—but no matter the choice; the result is a story unlike any fairy tale you've ever read!
Sleeping Beauty: Vampire Slayer is an entirely new type of fairy tale–one that will keep today's kids guessing and offer them hours of magical fun.
Leave some love for Maureen, and tell us why you want to read the book.
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Ends May 31st