The Fairy Tale Life
~ by Sarah Cross
(See: the fairy tales of Charles Perrault.)
And yet, I love fairy tales. I never get tired of fairy tale retellings, or fairy tale art, or less-familiar fairy tale variants, or fairy tale criticism.
Part of the appeal of fairy tales, for me, is that they're "childish things" I don't have to put away. Fairy tales are just as enchanting now as they were when I was poring over my favorite Cinderella picture book, but they're also rich with deeper meaning. These are stories I want to interact with. They're beautiful and strange, so they have a certain innocent appeal, but they're also dark, and often cruel before they're hopeful, which is the part that makes them true to life and keeps me coming back to them again and again.
Many famous fairy tales are only a few pages long--and while that's plenty of room for danger, hardship, craziness, and triumph, it doesn't leave much room for character, or exploring how all that fairy tale craziness would make someone feel. But a novel, novella, or even a short story-length retelling can take that original fairy tale and flesh it out, subvert it, and maybe bring something new to the table.
That's what I wanted to do with KILL ME SOFTLY. Ever since I discovered the darker sides of fairy tales, I've wanted to explore that fairy tale life--what it would really be like to live out a fairy tale. If you grew up extremely sheltered and lied to, how would that affect how you lived your life, and what steps would you take to break out of that? Would those lies protect you--or would they leave you unprepared to deal with the real world?
What if you were a fairy tale villain, compelled to do terrible things? Would you embrace that, or fight it? Who would you blame for your crimes?
And what if you were a fairy tale princess from a disturbing-yet-popular fairy tale? How would you feel about "someday my prince will come" if you knew your prince was destined to be hot for your dead-looking body?
There are a lot of fairy tales represented in KILL ME SOFTLY, a lot of fairy tale lives, and characters who range from innocent to broken. I'm curious what you'll think of them, and whether you'd like to live out any of your favorite fairy tales. I don't think I would ... but then, my favorite fairy tale ends when the main characters die in a fire. So ...
I think I'll stick to writing about them. ;)
Sarah Cross is the author of Kill Me Softly, out this month from Egmont USA. She also curates the awesome Fairy Tale Mood tumblr.
Find her online at http://www.sarahcross.com/
Make sure to stop by my giveaway of Kill Me Softly for your chance to win!
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