Friday, 21 September 2018

Discussion: What Do We Want From Retellings? Part 1

What Do We Want From Retellings? Part 1

Inspired by Julia Ember's Once Upon a Retelling interview for her latest novel, The Navigator's Touch, I wanted to discuss today what we want from retellings. But firstly, lets talk about why we're drawn to retellings in the first place.

For me, it's the idea of authors taking a story we know, maybe a story we love, and creating something original. It's the familiar with the new. How an author can rework or expand on a known story and give you something full of surprises, twists, and elements that will make you think or look at the story or the characters in a different way. I know where the story is going, but I don't know how it will get there there.

And that's how I think of original stories and retellings; as a journey. The original story goes from A to Z, with landmarks B, C, D, etc. - specific well known elements that make up the story - along the way. The original story takes the straightest route, but the retelling takes a longer, more winding route; still hitting all the landmarks, but taking you a different way.

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Once Upon a Retelling: A Blade So Black by L. L. McKinney (+ Giveaway)

Once Upon a Retelling

Welcome to Once Upon a Retelling! I'm a huge fan of retellings, and I'm really interested in hearing about authors' own love of the original stories, and what inspired them to retell those stories. And so Once Upon a Retelling was born, a feature in which I interview authors about their versions of well-loved tales.

I am so excited to have L.L. McKinney stopping by the blog today as part of the blog tour for her debut novel! She's here to discuss her Alice in Wonderland retelling, A Blade so Black.

L. L. McKinneyCan you tell us a little about A Blade So Black? What kind of a retelling of of Alice in Wonderland is it?

A Blade So Black essentially answers the question “What if Buffy fell down the rabbit hole instead of Alice?” I like to call it a reimagining, though I guess that’s not as official a genre as retelling just yet. It’s more inspired by the original classing than trying to emulate the beats in new ways. What I was hoping to do was take the tale and put a completely different spin on it, such as if it actually existed, how did it come to be? What is its connection to our world? What would it look like and how would it function in the present day. Those kinds of things lead to this story.

Sunday, 16 September 2018

Six for Sunday: Favourite Covers of 2018

Six for Sunday

Six For Sunday is a weekly feature run by Steph of A Little But a Lot. You can read all the Six for Sunday prompts for the rest of 2018 here.

Again, this week's topic doesn't work for me, so - as is allowed - I'm adapting an older topic: Favourite covers of 2018. Obviously there are many more than six, but I've gone with the ones that came to mind first.

The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton

The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton

This cover is just gorgeous! Look at colours, the make up, the flowers, and the orbs! And an actual Black woman on the cover! The actual physical covers shimmers under the light, and you can't see it here, but the image is also slightly blurred (but not quite as much as the UK cover is blurred, which is just too blurred).  What I love about the cover being a little blurred is that it fits with the story. It's almost like a filter; not everything here is real, beauty is manipulated - which also links to the plot of the story, where there's more going on than we originally think. Such a wonderful, beautiful cover!

Saturday, 15 September 2018

Once Upon a Bookcase: The Navigator's Touch by Julia Ember

Once Upon a Retelling

Welcome to Once Upon a Retelling! I'm a huge fan of retellings, and I'm really interested in hearing about authors' own love of the original stories, and what inspired them to retell those stories. And so Once Upon a Retelling was born, a feature in which I interview authors about their versions of well-loved tales.

Today, I'm really pleased to have Julia Ember stop by the blog to talk about her Peter Pan retelling, The Navigator's Touch!

Julia EmberCan you tell us a little about The Navigator’s Touch? What kind of a retelling of Peter Pan is it?

I guess you could call it an “alternative villain origin story!” Following on from the events of The Seafarer’s Kiss, The Navigator’s Touch tells the story of Ragna, a Viking shieldmaiden who has lost her hand to a devious enemy, and is putting together a mercenary crew. At the beginning, Ragna is young and inexperienced, still reeling from the loss her family, but as the story goes on, she really grows into her own as a commander. The duology also draws inspiration from an Anglo-Saxon poem called The Seafarer, which tells the story of a sailor lost at sea. In the first book, I wanted to meld the story of The Little Mermaid together with that elegy to create something new. The second book is also a composite of fairy-tale and poem, this time with Peter Pan. There are original adaptations of the poem in The Navigator’s Touch that I loved working on!

Thursday, 13 September 2018

Once Upon a Retelling: A Spark of White Fire by Sangu Mandanna

Once Upon a Retelling

Welcome to Once Upon a Retelling! I'm a huge fan of retellings, and I'm really interested in hearing about authors' own love of the original stories, and what inspired them to retell those stories. And so Once Upon a Retelling was born, a feature in which I interview authors about their versions of well-loved tales.

Today, I'm really excited to have Sangu Mandanna stopping by the blog to talk to us about her retelling of the Mahabharata, A Spark of White Fire.

Sangu MandannaCan you tell us a little about A Spark of White Fire? What kind of a retelling of the Mahabharata is it?

A Spark of White Fire is the story of Esmae, an orphaned servant who reveals herself to be the lost princess of a kingdom torn by civil war. Esmae wants nothing more than to reunite with her family and take back the crown that was stolen from her brother, but she soon discovers that things may be a little more complicated than that. Her story is very much inspired by the Mahabharata! It’s a reimagining of the original epic, set in space, with a mixture of fantasy and futuristic elements.

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: Hidden Gems

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme run by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic is Hidden Gems.

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton

I absolutely loved this magical realism novel that follows several generations in a family, until we get to Ava Lavender, a girl born with wings! It's completely enchanting, with beautiful writing. It's just absolutely wonderful! I don't think enough people talk about it. My review.

Sunday, 9 September 2018

Once Upon a Retelling: The Monsters We Deserve by Marcus Sedgwick

Once Upon a Retelling

Welcome to Once Upon a Retelling! I'm a huge fan of retellings, and I'm really interested in hearing about authors' own love of the original stories, and what inspired them to retell those stories. And so Once Upon a Retelling was born, a feature in which I interview authors about their versions of well-loved tales.

Today, I'm delighted to have Marcus Sedgwick over on the blog, to talk about his latest novel, The Monsters We Deserve, a story that looks at the writing of a novel, and more specifically, Mary Shelley's writing of Frankenstein.

Marcus SedgwickCan you tell us a little about The Monsters We Deserve?

The Monsters We Deserve is neither a retelling of Frankenstein, nor a retelling of its creation, though in small ways it draws on elements of both. It’s really a book about the true meaning of Shelley’s novel, a meaning that has been largely misunderstood from almost the very beginning of its life. So it’s a story about writers, creation, writers’ ghosts and the ghosts they leave behind. It takes the form of an extended mental letter from an unnamed writer, whose initials are MS, holed up in a remote chalet high in the French Alps, to their editor. I didn’t intend it to be read as a ghost story but I suppose it is in some ways.