by Anna Sugden
I'm delighted to welcome back a huge Lair favourite, Eloisa James!
I'm sure many of you, like me, have been following her fabulous snippets about life in Paris, as she and her family spent the past year living over there. Wonderfully evocative, each piece was like being there and experiencing it along with her (without having to actually go there - joke - sort of *g*).
You'll be pleased to know that while in Paris, Eloisa was also hard at work to bring us another book. She's here today to talk about her newly released Kiss at Midnight and fairy tales.
So, without further ado, I'll hand you over to Eloisa:
Thanks, Anna. It's always fun to visit the Banditas!
I grew up on a steady diet of fairy tales. My parents read them aloud to us, and then sprinkled Arthur Lang’s Blue, Green, Brown Fairy Books around the house. But much more importantly, fairy tales truly interested my father, Robert Bly. Years later, when I was in graduate school, he wrote a long analysis of one such story, called Iron John. When I was a child, he was just breaking in the fairy tale analysis, as it were. I have a distinct memory of being challenged to give a psychological explanation of the tale of Jack and the Beanstalk.
My current novel, A Kiss at Midnight, seems a natural development from my childhood; it’s my own version of Cinderella. After all, having parents who prompted me to analyze fairy stories means that I found myself wondering what on earth that prince was thinking to choose his wife at a ball? Would I accept a man who could recognize me only by the size of foot? (Answer: Absolutely not!) And just how evil was that evil stepmother?
I had a wonderful time writing A Kiss at Midnight. My heroine Kate is a feisty, funny version of Cinderella: not a victimized scullery girl, but a young woman placed in an awful situation, and making the best of it. My fairy godmother, though she doesn’t wave a wand, is just the kind of godmother we all wish we had. And the Prince…well, Gabriel turned out to have many reasons for that ball, and falling in love with Kate was not one of them. I tried to take my father’s lessons to heart: rather than creating a saccharine sweet version of the original story, I thought about the choices my characters faced. I think I succeeded; Publishers’ Weekly called A Kiss at Midnight “a candy floss comic romp around a core of heartache.”
So what’s the one element of Cinderella that you think absolutely HAS to be in a rewriting to make it worth reading? Another way of asking the same question: what’s your favorite element of the Disney movie or any other version? And—channeling my father here—why is that one element so important? The great thing about literary analysis is that there are no wrong answers, so go for it!
Eloisa has very generously offered FIVE prizes of a signed copy of Pleasure for Pleasure to five lucky commenters!!