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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Fairy Tales with Melanie Dickerson


 by Guest Author Melanie Dickerson

Fairy tale retellings seem to have suddenly become quite a trend in publishing, especially in the YA genre. When I first got the idea to write a story loosely based on Sleeping Beauty, I didn’t even know such a genre existed. Today, when I did a search on Amazon.com for fairy tale retellings, I got 861 results, and it looked like most of those were Young Adult novels.

When I was writing my first two published novels, The Healer’s Apprentice, based on Sleeping Beauty, and The Merchant’s Daughter, a Beauty and the Beast story, there were none that I knew of in Christian fiction. I wasn’t even sure I should say my book was based on Sleeping Beauty. But telling agents and editors that it was a Medieval wasn’t any more popular than saying it was a fairy tale retelling, so I might as well go for broke. It took me three years to find a Christian publisher for my first book, and another year before they agreed to publish the second one. But now? The idea of a fairy tale retelling is not so outlandish.

In two new TV shows, Grimm and Once Upon a Time, someone took the well-known fairy tales and put a new spin on them. And now there are two new live-action movies based on the “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” tale, set to come out next year, with a third Snow White movie coming out soon after, from such movie-making powerhouses as Universal, Relativity, and Disney. And I just heard that Disney is planning a live action (as opposed to animated) movie version of Beauty and the Beast.

Once Upon a Time on ABC
What is it that makes us love these fairy tales, makes them stick with us, and makes us want to keep retelling them? I think there are truths in them that we can relate to. Am I right in saying that we have all run into an occasional person whom we could cast as the wicked stepmother/queen/sorceress? We have all encountered betrayal of some kind, been naïve and let a wolf in grandma clothing deceive us, and fallen in “love” at first sight. As girls, many of us dream of marrying a prince, of castles and happily ever afters.

Beauty and the Beast has always been my favorite fairy tale. I love its themes of inner beauty overcoming the shallowness of external beauty, of character being more important than wealth, and love overcoming evil. And those are some of the themes that surfaced in my version of the story.

In The Merchant’s Daughter, Annabel and Lord le Wyse have had some devastating, painful things happen in their pasts. I believe this story will help readers to discover, along with Annabel and Lord le Wyse, how to overcome their fears, how to forgive and learn to love and laugh and be joyful again. I love the gradual way my two characters learn to trust each other, to trust God, and to fall in love. Isn’t that what the Beauty and the Beast story is all about? Okay, I guess I did add the “learning to trust God” aspect.
 
I think as long as people write stories, they will be writing versions of the fairy tales. There is nothing new under the sun. No truly original stories. But for every individual writer there is an original way to tell those old stories.

What's your favorite fairy tale? Why do you love it?
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 Melanie Dickerson is an award-winning author who earned her bachelor’s degree in special education from The University of Alabama. She has taught in Georgia, Tennessee, Germany and the Eastern European country of Ukraine. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Romance Writers of America (RWA), she now spends her time writing and taking care of her husband and two daughters near Huntsville, Alabama.

Visit Melanie at: http://melaniedickerson.com
Buy The Merchant's Daughter: click here

And come back for Dina's review of The Merchant's Daughter on Saturday, January 7th. (a sneak preview--it's awesome.)

20 comments:

  1. I LOVE fairy tales.

    I think Sleeping Beauty is my favorite. I love the Disney version, especially Prince Phillip.

    I have both of your books, too. They look wonderful.

    Now if I just had time to read . . .

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  2. I'm hoping to get to The Merchant's Daughter very soon.

    Believe it or not I have to think about this for awhile. My first thought was the three little pigs.

    Congratulations on all the success and love for your books. You have not only created a niche but driven interest in Y A and your name has become synonymous with great fiction.

    Really.

    Sending hugs. I'm so happy for you.

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  3. Just finished the book. It's really great. I actually read it in two days, which is pretty rare for me. Loved what Melanie did with the classic tale.

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  4. Melanie, I love both books. I've been spreading the word to everyone I know. I also think, like well-loved fairy tales, your books will be keepers to most everyone who reads them. I know I plan on reading them over and over - and ordering them for my niece for her Kindle.

    Congratulations, Melanie!

    My favorite fairy tale is The Little Mermaid - Hans Christian Andersen style.

    I love Once Upon a Time!

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  5. DeAnna, Disney's Sleeping Beauty was my favorite Disney movie as a kid! I loved it. And I hope you will like my books! Especially since you are a fellow Medieval writer. :-) And I know what you mean about not having time to read!!!

    Aw, Deb, it's no wonder I like you so much! You are the sweetest. Thanks so much, and I hope you will like The Merchant's Daughter!

    Thanks so much, Dina! And thanks for having me on this blog! You guys are awesome.

    Oh, thank you so much, Suzie! I really appreciate all the word-spreading you can do! And what a great aunt you are! You know, I hadn't thought about doing a Little Mermaid story. I'll have to mull that over. Hmmm...

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  6. Forgot to say, I have been watching Once Upon a Time too, and really enjoying it! And I never watch TV. Haven't watched much TV in twenty years, in fact! I'm mostly a movie person. I get irritated with the episodic nature of TV shows. But Once Upon a Time is pretty interesting. New episode this Sunday!

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  7. Beauty and the Beast is my favorite, too, Melanie. I love just about every version of it, and the Disney movie has gone 3-D and will release very soon.

    I've been watching Once Upon a Time as well as Grimm. Both are fun but very different!

    Looking forward to reading The Merchant's Daughter!

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  8. Based on the earlier recommendation of Inkwell Inspirations, I have ordered The Healer's Apprentice. I'm looking forward to reading both books! Thanks!

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  9. I'm torn between Snow White and Sleeping Beauty. I still remember the old movies!

    Once Upon a Time is one of my new favorite shows. I feel like I'm in a fairy tale when I'm watching it! Good vs. evil, true love conquers all...two reasons why I love fairy tales.

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  10. My favorite is Beauty and the Beast, hands down. I love stories of redemption and change.

    Saw a trailer last week for a full-length, non-animated movie based on Jack and the Beanstalk (Jack the Giant Killer). Now there's a retelling you don't see done often by Hollywood.

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  11. Hi, Susanne! I still remember a great Regency of yours that I judged in a contest once! What ever happened to that? Girl, you need to get your agent to send it out!!! (Email me, or message me on facebook!) LOL!!!

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  12. Thank you, Elaine! I do hope you like them! The last I checked, both books were still only $1.99 on Kindle and Nook! The price was supposed to go back up two days ago! Get it while you can! :-)

    Victoria, good vs. evil and true love winning out are two very good reasons we love fairy tales!!! Totally agree.

    C.J., I love that so much, the idea that two people can fall so in love that appearance doesn't matter at all. And that Jack and the Beanstalk movie sounds interesting. Will have to go look that up!

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  13. There are so many good adaptations of the Cinderella story that it would have to be my fave

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  14. Thanks for the hint that the book is still on sale for Kindle. Got it!!

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  15. You know, I never would have called myself a fairy tale buff, but I've also been lured in by Once Upon a Time, and then as everybody was naming their favorite fairy tales, just thinking about them made me want to pull out all our old Disney VHS tapes. Or maybe Netflix the DVDs.

    Heading over to Amazon now to check out these on Kindle...

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  16. My favourite is Cinderella, and Beauty and the Beast is a close second.

    Both I and my 12 year old daughter loved The Healer's Apprentice. She read it several times over.

    We already have the Merchant's Daughter, and my girl spent the whole of New Year's Day reading it. I can't wait to read it myself.

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  17. I love fractured fairy tales. I think there is something special when someone can take something that is a classic and make people see it in a new way. I'm really enjoying the shows Once Upon A Time and Grimm.

    Angela @The Bookshelf Muse

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  18. Ooh, darn it, I was at work yesterday and didn't get to chime in on this!
    I must say, Beauty and the Beast is a definite favorite, which makes me want to hurry up and read The Merchant's Daughter right away.
    I think our fascination with fairy tales may have something to do with current events. We need to believe in the impossible, in the miraculous, and in the overcoming power of love. Wow, that makes it a terrific time to be an inspy writer, doesn't it?
    Thanks, Melanie (and Dina)!

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  19. i really need to purchase the ebooks of yours, they've been on my to buy list since i first read about them. i'm not sure which fairy tale is my favorite, just not any with a blond haired heroine. (as a brunette, i've always disliked the notion that "blonds have more fun" - since wee childhood) if i must mention one - probably the Little Mermaid because of my love for the ocean (i'm a scuba diver and have wished for gills a few times).

    LOVED the fractured fairy tales.

    i'm having my 2D animation class create 30 second animations of nursery rhymes for the semester project. will like to see how the current generation interprets those...

    enjoyed the post. better head to amazon to see if that special deal is still to be had.

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  20. Had this book since last year, but only got around to finishing it late last month and writing the review last week.

    Click on the blog 'CrossRomance@ to see it.

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