Hello guys, long time no chat. Today Maureen McGowan is visiting Black and Blue Ink as a part of her blog tour promoting her two new books Sleeping Beauty: Vampire Slayer, and Cinderella: Ninja Warrior. She is here talking about her writing career and these two new books that are probably a little different from the books you guys have read before... You can read a review of Cinderella: Ninja Warrior here, and Sleeping Beauty: Vampire Slayer here. Here's the interview!
A: Fairy tale adaptations actually chose me, but I LOVED the idea. A freelance editor came to me with the chance to write a proposal for the series. The only requirement was that the books include a choose-your-own-adventure element.
As soon as I started to brainstorm ways to make the classic stories more action packed and relevant to modern readers, I was hooked.
Q: Were Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty among your favorite fairy tales as a child?
A: When I was a child, I found fairy tales with witches very scary, so I mostly remember Sleeping Beauty being terrifying. Clearly I was a big ‘fraidy cat. And although I think everyone relates to the Cinderella story in some ways, (the idea of feeling oppressed as a child, and the chance to be dressed in magic clothes and swept away from your problems), I don’t remember loving the Cinderella story, either. Even as a kid I didn’t understand why she didn’t fight back or leave her stepmother. And I didn’t like the idea that the prince only fell in love with her because she was pretty and had a nice dress on—then needed a shoe to recognize her the next day.
In Cinderella: Ninja Warrior and Sleeping Beauty: Vampire Slayer, I set out to “fix” some of those problems. And I’ve clearly gotten over my witch phobia because I made my villains even meaner and scarier.
A: As I mentioned above, the idea was actually brought to me, and to be honest, I’m not sure I would have chosen to do it, otherwise. But once I started to plan the books, I liked the idea.
As a writer, and in life, we’re faced with decisions every day. And they aren’t necessarily right or wrong, just different. It was fun to think about how the same character’s story would unfold differently based on her choices.
A: I haven’t read many, to be honest. I did look at a few after I was asked to write the Twisted Tales series, and although I thought they were fun, I didn’t like the “wrong choice—you die!”, or “you dummy, why did you agree to date him!” dead ends included in the books I sampled. I figured if my main character was smart, that she could get out of any trouble her decisions got her in to.
A: Mainly, I wanted to make the heroines stronger and the stories more exciting. I wanted heroines who could fight for themselves. I love the romance elements in fairy tales, but I didn’t want the books to be about the princes saving the girls. I wanted the girls to save themselves—and fall in love with their princes.
A: The only elements I wanted to keep were the happily-ever-after endings. I think fairy tales promise happy endings to the reader and I wanted to deliver on that promise. So, while both Cinderella: Ninja Warrior and Sleeping Beauty: Vampire Slayer have other themes, both also contain the themes of good triumphing over evil and the magic of finding true love.
A: I need to set goals for myself. And keeping track of my word count keeps me going. Also my fabulous critique partners. I’m not sure I’d get anything done without their support.
A: I like making things up for a living. Creating characters and stories out of nothing, some days feels like pure magic.
A: I have so many I could barely list them, but current writers in the YA realm whom I love are Carrie Ryan in the dark and twisty department and Eileen Cook in the light and hilarious department.
A: While I think both of the stories include heroines who are better role models for modern girls than those of the traditional fairy tales, by no means are these “message” or “issue” books. If you pick up Cinderella: Ninja Warrior, or Sleeping Beauty: Vampire Slayer, most of all you’ll have a fast, fun read.