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Macmillan, YA/teen books

Reimagined Fairy Tales – YA article

Hi all,

Here’s an article I received today from the Macmillan Kids e-newsletter. Thought you all might find it interesting. It’s about reimagining/retelling fairy tales for the YA audience.

Enjoy! – Rebecca

The Swan Maiden AurelieToads and Diamonds

Author Heather Tomlinson Discusses
Fairy Tales for a New Generation

Spoiler alert: Cinderella goes to the ball! Beauty saves the Beast!

Old news, right? And yet, like mushrooms in a fairy ring, fairy tale-influenced novels for teens are popping up all over. What compels authors and readers to revisit stories they already know?

A shared familiarity allows writers to play with their readers’ expectations. You remember what happened to Rapunzel? Well, what if the author changes the setting, reverses key details, or combines characters from different tales? Voila! Like magic, old stories are new again.

With such a treasure trove of material to draw from, how’s an author to choose? The stories that interest me have elements that annoy or perplex. Questions, I’ve learned, are the surest clue that a tale could turn into a novel. The story that inspired my first book, The Swan Maiden, is usually told from the male protagonist’s point of view. I wondered what the girl in question might say about her own journey. Forthcoming Toads and Diamonds sprang from a pet peeve: Why is the oldest sister in fairy tales always the bad one? Furthermore, why don’t stepsisters ever get along? What if a fairy’s mismatched gifts turned out to be equally important? How and where would such a scenario be plausible? To answer my own questions, I had to write the book.

How does it end? Now, that would be telling.

New to the genre? Here’s a trio of fairy tale-inspired novels to enjoy:

Briar Rose by Jane Yolen
Toads and Diamonds by Heather Tomlinson
The Wager by Donna Jo Napoli

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