Reinventing Fairy Tales

Author Gayle C Krause

Author Gayle C Krause

I’d like to welcome Gayle C. Krause author of Ratgirl, Song of the Viper as a guest to my blog. Gail’s story is based on the classic tale The Pied Piper of Hamelin and we’re going to discuss ‘reinventing’ a fairytale.

Thanks for having me as a guest on your blog, Roxanne. Fairy tales are one of my passions and I’m happy to discuss them with your readers today.

Fairy tales are once again leaving the nursery and reaching an older audience. Plots that emphasize the darker aspects of the stories are becoming popular in movies, Hansel and Gretel, Witch Hunters for example. Gayle, when approaching a classic tale and reinventing it for a modern audience what do you look for?

For me, personally, I am drawn to the darker organic fairy tales. By this, I mean the story has sinister, intriguing aspects to it, which can be exploited to write a gritty, heroic rendition.

I think there’s more room to elaborate on the less obvious aspects of the fairy tale, and weave a story today’s teen would be interested in.

What drew you to the Pied Piper story?

The darkness, the rats, and the oppression the villagers suffered at the hands of the corrupt mayor and his corporation, and a strong female character to battle them.

Fairytales have obviously stood the test of time. Like myths, they are passed down from generation to generation. What do you feel allows a fairy tale to appeal to audiences over such a long span of time?

For a story to hold a child’s attention it must be entertaining, and arouse curiosity, but most of all it must stimulate the imagination. Actually, that’s the exact same criteria needed to make a YA novel successful.

Fairy tales were originally told around the hearth at the end of a long day. However, the stories weren’t the tales of magic and mayhem we know today. They were actually gossip of the town or village, told to teach a child lessons on the meaning of life. A brother and sister abandoned in the woods by a father. A young girl tricked by a man, who tries to lure her into a sexual relationship. A loving daughter turned into the servant of her own home, by a jealous stepmother. What better fantasy than to embellish the true facts of life?

Today, fairy tales are still told as a way for children to distinguish between fantasy and reality. By dealing with the universal problems a child must face, fairy tales encourage psychological development and emotions, that hopefully lead to wise decisions on the child’s part.

How close do you think a reinvented fairytale should remain to the original?

There are two points of view on this question, and perhaps the definitions lie in how we describe the story.

One is a retelling. In this version of the fairy tale the plotline is closely followed. It may be expanded into a YA or MG novel and include new information, but essentially it remains the same story as the original.

The other is an adaptation, where the text is given modern tools and expressions and the story is loosely based on the original. Stories with strong female characters, or weak female characters, who can be re-invented as strong, to take charge of their lives, makes manipulating the traditional tales fun and a great creative outlet for the author or screenwriter. Thus, the current influx of reinvented fairy tales for the big screen.

Do you have a favorite retold fairytale?

Yes. My favorite fairy tale as a child was The Twelve Dancing Princesses. Juliet Marillier’s first YA novel, Wildwood Dancing, incorporates the story of The Frog Prince and The Twelve Dancing Princesses with the realm of Otherworld creatures.

And they all lived happily ever after . . . fairytale twists often pick up the original story after the closing scene and question how true ‘happily ever after’ is. Does Ratgirl take us further than the original story?

Ratgirl sets the stage for ‘happily ever after,’ but to actually see the result, I’d have to write the sequel. The story ends with the characters and setting in place, but the time has not yet arrived to see if they in fact do live ‘happily ever after.’

If the idea for a sequel that’s floating around in my head comes to fruition, I’m thinking it won’t be all that happy unless Jax or Andy Stone take a stance against the evil that will follow them to the New Continent.

RatGirlFinalMed

Ratgirl is available as a paperback or Kindle edition. Click on the cover to view it at Amazon.com.

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About roxanne werner

Mild mannered mom by day, free time lost in my imagination. My journey started with Santa. Every year I raced to the Christmas tree and searched until I found the special present, the heavy one, signed 'love Santa'--a book. I would curl up and start reading, often not coming up for air until the story was done. As an adult I still look for the one special present under my tree, signed from Santa. It's the heavy one I open first--a new book, a new world to explore. I grew up in the suburbs of New Jersey but reading let me travel through space and time. I visited the future with H.G. Wells, Middle Earth with J.R.R.Tolkien. I had the best of companions, characters who made me laugh, cry, and catch my breath. My sixth grade teacher opened up another world for me. Each week we were assigned to write a story. I had made up stories in my head before, but never attempted to write them down. It was the best homework I ever had. I couldn't wait to put down my ideas and create characters of my own. I was hooked on writing. Time passed and though I remained an avid reader, writing was put aside. I had a family to raise and a full time job. Now that my son is going to be sixteen, I'm getting ready to retire my 'mom hat.' Two years ago I decided to pursue writing as more than a hobby. I packed up my imagination, a pen, my PC, mustered up my courage, and began a new journey. It's been filled with ups and downs, but I won't ever go back. Like Frodo, I've learned there's a big wide world out there. Once you take one step out of your door, you are swept up and taken for an adventure. It's scary and wonderful. I've made great friends and learned so much. If I'm brave and don't give up, one day a child will pick up a heavy present under their tree and open it to find one of my stories.
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2 Responses to Reinventing Fairy Tales

  1. Thanks for hosting a RATGIRL:Song of the Viper interview, Rox. Hope your readers enjoyed learning a little bit about fairy tales. The teacher in me always returns. 🙂

  2. Deb says:

    Can’t wait to read this and will be getting it for my Kindle. Congrats on the book Gayle and thanks for the interview!

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