Jay R. Wolf – ‘What was the biggest challenge in rewriting such a classic tale?’
I didn’t really find anything challenging with it. I had a clear idea in mind, knew where I wanted to go with it, and went for it. The only thing I honestly find challenging in writing anything is compiling the right words to make the story idea come to life. It also helps that it has werewolves in it, any story with wolves of any kind seem to come to me easier than others!
Christiana Matthews – ‘These tales are rather dark, much like the originals, why are twisted tales so appealing to us as writers and readers?’
For one thing, I think it’s because they are so much closer to the originals, which presented a much grittier world view and therefore a tougher road for the characters to travel. The heroes and heroines had to really work for their happy ever after, if they even got one. But even if they didn’t, they learnt valuable lessons along the way. The sanitised versions popularised in later eras and made even squeakier by Disney are really just pretty fluff, whereas the older and the twisted tales are closer to our lived human experience. And for another thing, they’re just way more fun, to read and to write!
R. L. Davennor – ‘Fractured Folklore’s focus is ‘kickass women’, why do you think retellings like this are so important to write?’
The classic fairy tales were written for a different time. Even today, we aren’t all that far removed from a world in which women were nothing more than assets and property. In a few of the most beloved tales, you could replace its so-called ‘leading lady’ with an inanimate object, and there would be little to no effect on the plot. That, obviously, needs to change. It’s important for retellings like this to exist not only to subvert these old-fashioned notions and keep the classics fresh and relevant, but to show today’s women that they have agency and value, and that they’re worth far more than their beauty or ability to have children alone. There’s the added bonus of making these retellings more inclusive to marginalized groups such as the BIPOC, LGBT+, disabled, and neurodivergent communities, which is exactly what I sought to do in my retelling.
S. M. Mitchell – ‘What role do you think fairy tales play in society?’
Well to paraphrase from one of my favourite non-fiction books, Gossip From The Forest, fairy tales held significant importance in the past as a means of teaching children. European fairy tales often feature dark and dangerous woods where children might get lost or eaten, to teach children the dangers of their landscape. In complete opposition, children who are raised in the desert do not need to fear the dangers of a forest, and so their fairy tales and fables feature different lessons. You may consider that fairy tales are no longer required but as Sara Maitland so eloquently explains, fairy tales and forests have developed a symbiotic relationship where one cannot survive without the other. Fairy tales fill us with a sense of awe when we walk into a forest, a feeling of magic – it encourages us to preserve and protect our woodland. Likewise, if our forests disappeared, so to would our fairy tales. They would fade from our shared subconscious over the centuries until they are forgotten altogether. Fairy tales connect us to our past, they help us stay connected to our childhoods, and they provide us with a little bit of magic in our every day life.
Elora Burrell – ‘What was your favorite fairytale as a child?’
As a child, other than Peter Pan, my favourite fairytales were The Little Mermaid, and Beauty and the Beast. It wasn’t until later that I started to branch out with my love for fairytales and their retellings.
It was my love for these fairytales that made me branch out as an author and fall into fantasy.
Rebecca Clark – ‘What made you decide to rewrite this particular fairy tale?’
I have immersed myself in fairytale retellings before, especially when I took a specific module on it at university. That meant I knew a lot of the tropes of retellings of popular fairytales. I wanted to do something different so I could dig into a story that hadn’t been explored as much.
Rumpelstiltskin turned out to be the perfect fairy tale. It’s not the most retold story but it is still familiar. Like many of these old stories, there was an underlying social commentary particularly to do with gender which is often the case with fairy tales. The girl in the traditional story of Rumpelstiltskin has no autonomy. She gets in the different situations she has to deal with because of the faults of the men around her. I wanted to play with that narrative and reflect on what it could mean for society today.
Lisette Marshall – ‘Is The Bloody Key similar to other stories you write?’
The heroine of The Bleeding Key, Cath, is definitely similar to most other heroines I’ve written: stubborn, clever, and always a fighter even when she finds herself caught in a dangerous position. The rest of the story, however, is somewhat different from my usual work. Most of my stories are explicit romances, whereas the romance in The Bleeding Key is happening only in the background. And my other writings tend to be steamier too! But I loved doing something different from my steamy, murder-y fantasy romance trilogies for this anthology, because I’ve always loved fairy tales and especially Bluebeard’s story. This really was one of those stories that just wrote itself, and I had a lot of fun crafting it.
Epi Wildes – ‘What’s the main theme of your story Cursed in Red?’
If I were to sum it up in one word, I would say freedom. Raleigh finds herself trapped by several entities throughout Cursed in Red, such as familial pressures, societal norms, and economic status. Cursed in Red follows her struggle, when she goes to impossible lengths to reclaim her destiny.
Des Fonoimoana – ‘What was the inspiration for your short?’
Nothing specific was the inspiration for The Huntsman, but rather a combined idea of many concepts, stories, and art I thought would make for a chilling chase, with both a mental and physical aspect. I had to dig deep inside to come up with a scenario that would make me feel like a hunted animal… and I built my character into it.