Ah, fairy tales. Like so much classic literature, fairy tales form the basis for many contemporary stories. In recent years, retellings have even become so popular they’ve become their own subgenre in fiction. And it makes sense. The originals are clean and usually end happily. Good triumphs over evil. The impossible becomes possible. Romance. Magic. Wonder. They’re inspirational and usually teach a lesson.
Best of all, they’re timeless.
So how do we take an old story and craft it into something new and unique without contorting it into just another twisted clone on the bookshelf?
Well, it’s not easy. I’ll tell you that. But with a little creativity and inspiration all around us, the task doesn’t seem so daunting. In fact, authors Andrea Boyd and Mikal Dawn teamed up with three Inspy Romance authors—myself (Jaycee Weaver), Toni Shiloh, and Angela Ruth Strong—to release a brand new anthology of such tales. Last week on October 1, Once Upon a Christmas: Contemporary Retellings of Timeless Tales hit the shelves, and the reviews so far affirm that we seem to have found success in remaking these classic old stories into something new, fun, and relevant to today’s contemporary romance readers. (Yay!)
Rather than blend into the background with straight modernizations or retelling the tale with simple nods or twists, we decided to give each story a Christmas spin. Andrea took Sleeping Beauty and gave her a real-life sleeping disorder with three fierce and funny aunts in a gorgeous old theater for a holiday production of the musical of the same title. Mikal brought Mulan out of China and into the boardroom with a fierce (but flirty) legal battle on her father’s behalf, the wicked Hun insisting on a Christmas victory. For an updated Snow White, Toni sent her sheltered heiress fleeing into a snowstorm and hiding from a wicked stepmother in an orchard owned by a handsome hero and his seven “uncles” over the holidays. Angela twisted the classic favorite Cinderella into a whole new story, giving her lumberjack-like prince the nutty stepfamily as a perfect obstacle standing between Ella and her happy (New Year) ever after. And lastly, it was my joy to take The Little Mermaid out of her Las Vegas aquarium and into the dry southwest, where she discovers the power of her own voice during the romantic holiday season.
We sure hope you’ll give this set of novellas a chance to live up to your fairy tale expectations…and I suppose your Christmas tale expectations, too. If you’ve already read our retellings of these timeless tales, be sure to comment with what you enjoyed most! We love your feedback. If you haven’t yet had the chance, we’d love to know—what’s your favorite fairy tale, retelling, or Christmas trope?