YAPC would like to welcome Pauline C. Harris to the blog today. She is here to share a guest post with us and some information about her book Puppet. If this looks like something you would like to read, please go pick up a copy!
As an author of fairytale retellings I’ve been asked pretty frequently why I choose to write them and what initially sparked my interest. Some people ask out of curiosity and love of the genre. Others ask with a little bit of disdain as if to question why I wouldn’t just write books with my own ideas. It’s funny but I never set out with the intention of writing nothing but fairytale retellings, but it sure seems like that’s all I’ve been doing the last few years. Not that retellings are all I’ve ever written, but I’ve learned pretty quickly that this is something I definitely want to keep doing for a while.
All those questions I get asked, along with the sheer popularity of the fairytale retelling theme, have really forced me to wonder why these types of stories are so interesting. Why are they so successful? Why do people just eat them up and beg for more?
I think it’s more than the fact that retellings are just the current craze or trend. There’s definitely something more to why we’re drawn to these stories and I have a few theories of my own.
There’s already a story that everybody loves. Let’s say you love Cinderella. I’ll bet you’ll gravitate toward a Cinderella retelling expecting to like it. You’ll open up the book and re-experience all the things you love about Cinderella in yet another reimagining of it. I know this is a huge reason why I write retellings (other than the fact that they are so incredibly FUN). I like writing a novel knowing that there’s already an audience out there for it. There are already people who know these characters and care about their situations.
It’s like a spinoff of a favorite TV show or movie. I loved all the Disney princess movies growing up. I couldn’t get enough of them. Sleeping Beauty and The Little Mermaid were played over and over and over again. Then came along the fairytale retelling boom and it was like all those stories were back again only in newer, fresher, and more interesting perspectives. It’s a comforting, familiar story, yet so utterly different and inventive.
We’re all suckers for a good twist. Let’s face it. We all love reading a book and just waiting for the twist at the end. The “ah-ha” moment. The scene that blows our minds. Fairytale retellings are exactly that, only the twist is the entire book. You read through, searching for parallels, and you get a little burst of joy and self-satisfaction every time you uncover one. As readers we live for those “solve the mystery” moments, and with fairytale retellings they come at you with almost every chapter.
It’s amazing how quickly fairytale retellings have become a large part of my life. It’s seems like all I ever do is read or write some version of one. When I wrote my first retelling I remember thinking to myself that it would be the only one I’d write. I had a complete blast but I felt guilty knowing that I’d created something using the springboard of someone else’s original fairytale. I felt like I had cheated in some way. And I think it’s the same opinion that many take when they look at authors who write these retellings. It took me a while to realize that that belief couldn’t be farther from the truth. We’re all writing stories and we’re all building on the stories that came before us. I’ve heard said by many different people that there really is only a handful of stories out there. There’s nothing that is ever completely new. All we do is build off of each other. And that is exactly the embodiment of fairytale retellings. They take the best from the past and mesh it with new ideas and fun adventures to create something that people can enjoy.
So I want to ask you, what stories do you love? What are your favorite fairytales and their retellings? And what none-retelling stories do you see that parallel the ones that came before it?
Penelope never dreamed she’d become a superhuman experiment masquerading as a puppet.
She never dreamed everything would be taken from her; even her ability to lie.
Nor did she ever dream that she would become something so unreal.
Penelope lives in a world of advanced technology. Marionettes have advanced in the form of robots; lifelike creations remote controlled to perform super human tasks.
When Penelope makes a deal with Jed, a marionette-obsessed scientist, she doesn’t fully realize what she’s getting herself into. In order for Jed to take her away from the orphanage she lives in, she must first agree to undergo his experiments and tests, ultimately creating something no one ever dreamed possible; the first living marionette.
As Jed shows off his scientific creation to the world, concerns arise surrounding Penelope’s abilities and what she’s capable of doing. Ordered to somehow lessen her abilities, Jed makes a desperate attempt to change Penelope to make her more human, more vulnerable. After Penelope lies to the officials about her past, Jed makes sure it’s the last one she’ll ever utter. The truth is now the only thing she is capable of telling.
As Penelope struggles with her past, her disturbingly new present, and her uncertain future, she is thrust into a magically twisted world of mayhem in search of the one thing she wants, but knows she can never have. The chance to be just a girl again. To be normal. To be real.
Puppet is a gender bender retelling of Pinocchio.
About the Author: Pauline C. Harris writes YA sci-fi books and published her first novel at the age of fourteen. Currently, Pauline is working toward a degree in English Writing and spends too much time in Netflix.
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