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|
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?
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.