Once upon a time, there was a girl who wasn’t a published author yet, but who dreamed of being one someday. One day, while browsing through her favorite second-hand bookstore, she came across a copy of Ruby Slippers, Golden Tears an anthology of re-told fairy tales edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling. She purchased the book, along with several others, because it was a bookstore, after all, and went home happy. Perhaps she read the book right away, or perhaps she didn’t. It’s not important. What is important is that when she did read it, lightning seared her brain and fired her blood and woke up her bones. “This!” the girl said to no one other than herself. “This is what I want to do. I want to write stories like these ones.”
For you see, when the girl was even farther away from being a published author, when she was very little indeed, she grew up devouring fairy tales from a massive phone book-sized tome collecting several of Andrew Lang’s fairy books of many colors into one. She also grew up devouring fairy tales from a slim volume full of lovely full-color illustrations passed down to her by her mother. She devoured fairy tales from books of every shape and size, and even then, she always suspected that fairy tales were much darker than Disney movies would have them seem.
The threads were there, buried, sometimes in shallow graves, right within the tales. The girl snatched them up and stitched them into the fabric of her being so that one day she could pull them out again and weave them into something new. Reading Ruby Slippers, Golden Tears, the girl felt those old threads tugged, and she was filled with the desire to write stories that gave voices to the supposed villains of fairy tales, stories that put all the blood and sex and terror back where it belonged, stories that peeked into the dark corners and asked what was really going on just beneath the surface of those old tales. She wanted to write stories exhuming those shallowly dug graves, in hopes that one day, someone might read one of those stories and want to put it into a re-told fairy tale anthology of their own.
And one day, someone did.
Once Upon a Time: New Fairy Tales edited by Paula Guran is now available from Prime Books. If you’re the sort of person who likes to win things, you can even enter the Goodreads giveaway for a chance to do just that. Along with my story, The Hush of Feathers, the Clamor of Wings, you’ll also find stories by the likes of Christopher Barzak, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Ekaterina Sedia, Genevieve Valentine, and Erzebet YellowBoy, among others. How awesome is that?
And they all lived happily ever after. Probably.