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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Interview & Giveaway with Vickie Johnstone, author of The Sea Inside

Vickie Johnstone, author of The Sea Inside, joins us today to chat about the best magical artifacts, what tale she'd never want to wake up in, and to "fix" the ending of a tale that's always bothered her... And while she's here, she's giving you a chance to get your hands on The Sea Inside!

If you could own any item from a fairytale, what would it be? (eg. The Queen’s magic mirror from Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, the magic harp from Jack and the Beanstalk).
I’d have the house made of sweets from Hansel and Gretel! I’d never go hungry, though I suspect I’d have no teeth and a belly the size of Britain. Or the Elves from the Elves and the Shoemaker! They’d do all the housework, wash and iron my clothes, and feed my cat before I got out of bed, but I’d free them so they wouldn’t be my servants, of course. Ah, that makes me sound really lazy. Maybe a fairy godmother instead please!

Play fortune teller: choose any fairy tale and take us into the future, past where the story ends: does all turn out Happily Ever After? Any unexpected occurrences?
I would rewrite the ending of The Little Match Girl because it made me cry when I was little.

The little match girl wandered through the snow-laden streets barefoot, the cold biting her toes. Not a soul had bought her matches all day long and she dared not go home without any money at all. She gazed at the silver twinkling stars as the snowflakes fell, speckling her long, blonde hair and upturned nose. With a shiver, the girl gripped her ragged shawl tightly about her shoulders. It was Christmas, but it did not feel like it.

Striking a match, she stared into the warm flame. If only it were not so cold. If only her family was not so poor. Her heart hung heavy and she let out the deepest sigh, wishing her grandmother was with her. Passing a rich merchant’s house, the girl gazed through the window at the sumptuous richness within and the huge wooden table mounted with glorious food. She could almost taste the goose, the potatoes and each vegetable in turn, some of which she did not recognise. Her mouth watered and hunger pains swept through her stomach.

A tear ran down her cheek and she struck another match, muttering to the night sky, “Grandmother, please take me with you as I cannot bear another second on this Earth.”

As the girl spoke, the door of the house opened, and the merchant and his wife stepped out on to the crisp snow.

“Are you lost, child?” asked the lady with a warm smile.

“No, ma’am, but I cannot go home until I have sold my matches.”

“Have you been out here all day in the snow barefoot?”

The girl nodded and another tear slid down her cheek.

“You must come inside this instant,” said the merchant. “It is too cold out here for you and I can see that you are very hungry indeed. Come in, come in!”


“No buts,” said the merchant, taking the girl gently by the hand and leading her into the warm house.

Once inside they were greeted by the couple’s two children, a young girl and boy, who welcomed the newcomer with huge grins.

“I will send our servant to your parents’ home immediately and invite them here to partake of our Christmas feast,” said the merchant.

The little match girl wiped her eyes and smiled as the world seemed to light up like the brightest match of all.

If you could wake up tomorrow and find yourself in any tale, which would you hope to wake up in and why? Which would you least want to wake up in?
Easy! I never ever want to be in Rumpelstiltskin because he always gave me the creepies and I’ve never been good at needlework, so the thought of all that spinning is a bit grim! I remember he was stick-thin with long legs like a Daddy Long Legs insect in the book I had as a kid and his costume was stripy and his hat spooky. So, nope, I’d like him to be sent to fight the troll please! The one I’d like to be in? Well, I like sleeping, so I could pick Sleeping Beauty, but then that might get boring, so I’m going for The Little Mermaid because it was one of my favourites, although it’s sad. Second best would be Snow White and the Seven Dwarves because it would be so much fun hanging out with the little men and talking to all the animals in the forest!

Why fairy tales? What is it about them that draws us back again and again?
I think it’s because they’re pure escapism and magic. The bad guys versus the good guys, with the good normally winning, although the original versions of the tales were often darker. They’re great for kids, but then they have deeper meanings for adults. And you have talking animals too, which really should be happening in real life – what’s up with that?

Would you rather...
- Open and unleash Pandora's Box or unlock and enter Bluebeard's locked doom room?
Lol, I think I’d like to run away from both, but if forced to by a giant spider with gnashing teeth, I’d choose to go and look in Bluebeard’s room. At least I could then run away. If you opened the box and released all the bad things in the world, you wouldn’t be able to tuck them back in again. I’d have to summon Superman for that!
- Follow a wil-o’-the-wisp or face a troll?
Ah, I think the troll would beat me up pretty badly and be quite stinky, so I’d go for following the wisp. It might take me somewhere interesting and magical, although I guess it would try to naughtily lead me off the right road on to the bad one. I imagine we’d end up somewhere spooky, so I’d have a little concealed weapon about me! If I have to meet the troll though, I’m taking some gold so I can throw it, distract him and leg it! Maybe I could take roller skates?
- Go about in the emperor's "new clothes" (ie nothing) or wear a smelly, crusty donkeyskin for the rest of your life?
Oh no, what a choice! If I really had to, rather than having to wear that stinky skin forever, I’d go for the Emperor’s rather chilly attire and then emigrate, change my name, etc, etc, and hope my family never ever saw the newspaper pictures!

This or That?
- Mermaid or unicorn?
I’d like to be a mermaid for a day and ride on a unicorn. Is that cheating?

- Flying carpet or flying broom?
Carpet. I always wanted to do the Sinbad thing. I think it would be awesome and if you got tired, there’s room to lie down. Hey, you could do yoga while flying and there would be loads of room for other people you met or things you found. I reckon the whole broom thing is overrated and would be really uncomfortable. Imagine you got splinters in your bum?

- Talking animals or talking inanimate objects?
I’ve written books about talking animals, so I think maybe the inanimate objects just for a change  I’d like to see what my laptop thinks of what I’m typing, but I never want a talking mirror – that’s just asking for trouble! I imagine my mug is currently saying, “Hey, Vickie, this tea is damn hot! Ouch!”

To join in the festivities, Vickie has offered up 3 copies of The Sea Inside — 1 paperback, 2 e-book — to 3 lucky Fairy Tale Fortnight readers! This giveaway ends May 10th, 2014. Fill out the Rafflecopter below to enter.
**To enter this giveaway, you have to be registered on the Giveaway Registration Form.  Please make sure you have registered, and please do not leave any personal info (like your email) in the comments.  Thanks, and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Sea Inside by Vickie Johnstone
Get It | Add It
236 pages
Published May 24th 2013 by Vickie Johnstone
Time is all we have; it flows – it cannot stop.

Jayne wakes up in hospital following a terrible accident, which changes her life as she knew it. While struggling to recover, she is visited by a mysterious woman who offers her a gift. To the girl’s astonishment, she finds herself on a journey, on both the physical and mental plane. It brings her to the mystical realm of Entyre, where life is very different and power lies with the creatures of the deep. While the threads of time keep flowing, Jayne must decide what is real, who to trust, and regain her inner strength in order to find herself and her true destiny.

Hi, I live in London and have a thing about fluffy cats. I work as a freelance sub-editor on business magazines and editor/proofreader on books. I love reading, writing, films, the sea, art, animals, nature and travelling.

Click here to go back to the Fairy Tale Fortnight Main Page,
where you can access the schedule or find out more!


  1. A tale that always fasinated me is of course Rapunzel, but I would not want to step in Rapunzel shoes for very long. Once and a while it would be great to be locked in a tower and just be able to relax and read, but before long I would find myself bored of that life. Another fairy tale that I have taken interest in is Rumpelstilskin. It would be great to turn straw to gold, but then again I would not want to do it for my whole life because what is the point of having a lot of gold and nothing to do with it.

  2. Thanks so much for hosting me. I had a lot of fun with these questions and thinking up a different ending to a story that had me in tears as a kid! I loved all the stories by Hans Christian Andersen. I also liked Rapunzel, Rachael. I always fancied having hair like that!! :) Washing it must have been crazy though.

  3. Fairy Tales are full of villains & woe & strife - so I doubt I would like to step into one at all.

  4. Aw, thanks for re-written the Match Girl! That one always made me sad, too.

    1. Thanks, Beth. I always dreaded reading that one cos it was so sad, along with the tale of the little bird on Nelson's Column.... boo hoo

  5. If I could step into any fairy tale I would choose Beauty and the Beast. Beast has so many books in his library I could stay there for eternity and be happy! :)


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