Friday, October 21, 2011

Guest Post: The Appeal of Fairy Tale Reboots (Red by Kait Nolan)

Kait Nolan is stuck in an office all day, sometimes juggling all three of her jobs at once with the skill of a trained bear—sometimes with a similar temperament. After hours, she uses her powers for good, creating escapist fiction. The work of this Mississippi native is packed with action, romance, and the kinds of imaginative paranormal creatures you’d want to sweep you off your feet…or eat your boss. When she’s not working or writing, she’s in her kitchen, heading up a revolution to Retake Homemade from her cooking blog, Pots and Plots.

You can catch up with her at her blog, Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads.

Her debut YA paranormal, Red, is currently available from Smashwords, Amazon, Amazon UK, Amazon DE, Barnes and Noble, the iBookstore, and All Romance EBooks.

Why The Appeal of the Fairy Tale Reboot?

It’s no secret that fairy tale reboots are popular. A troll through any bookstore or movie listing is proof of that. I can’t count the number of Cinderella stories or retellings of Arthurian legends I’ve seen or read in the last decade. Some are more straight-forward than others (e.g. Ella Enchanted), while others take a less conventional approach (e.g. Disney’s Tangled). Regardless of the method of adaptation, these sorts of stories seem to be almost universally popular.

Why is that? Well they’re popular for the same reasons that fairy tales themselves are popular—because they tap into universal truths about life and human nature. These are the stories we all grew up with, the ones we know and love, but with a whole knew (often grown up) spin. Readers (and movie-goers) find that appealing.

My debut YA paranormal romance, Red, is such an adaptation. Red Riding Hood is not, as you might expect, one of my favorite fairy tales. I was more a Sleeping Beauty, Beauty and the Beast kind of girl. But I had this kernel of an idea pop into my brain in response to a conversation with my crit partner about a Sleeping Beauty reboot she was thinking about writing: What if Red Riding Hood fell in love with the wolf? It stuck with me and grew roots and became—something not entirely expected. I didn’t stick too close to the original story, which was both challenging and fun.

It’s hard to find a fresh way to present something that everybody’s heard. I didn’t want to be so simplistic as to just say “Oh the wolf is a werewolf.” It had to be more complicated than that or it wasn’t new. Plus, I really didn’t want to write historical—that’s just not my bag. So I moved forward in time and traced the consequences of Red falling for the wolf. And the curse of the female line was born out of a mixture of genetics and superstition.

Red is my first fairy tale adaptation, but it certainly won’t be my last. It’s tremendous fun coming up with your own interpretation of a well known story, thinking up ways to make the characters unconventional or surprising. This is, I feel, one of the essentials of a successful adaptation. There has to be a recognizibility on some level. It’s that core familiarity that acts as an initial hook. But it’s the unconventional, the twists and new interpretations that keeps them reading. To create a truly popular and well-received adaptation, you have to find a new level to the story that will resonate with readers, something that they can take away and apply to their own lives—which is, after all, at the root of why fairy tales still exist in the first place.

Thanks so much for stopping by, Kait! I'm looking forward to reading Red!

For more about this author, please visit:

Every fairy tale has a dark side...

Elodie Rose has a secret. Any day, she’ll become a wolf and succumb to the violence that’s cursed her family for centuries. For seventeen years she’s hidden who and what she is. But now someone knows the truth and is determined to exterminate her family line. Living on borrowed time in the midst of this dangerous game of hide and seek, the last thing Elodie needs to do is fall in love. But Sawyer is determined to protect her, and the brooding, angry boy is more than what he seems. Can they outsmart a madman? And if they survive, will they find a way to beat the curse for good?


Deniz Bevan said...

Having just seen a brilliant local production of Into the Woods, I can certainly attest to that - fairy tales are always popular for their universal truths, and the exciting adventurous way they present them.
Red was a great read!

Lauren M said...

I definitely agree--fairy tale retellings are always enjoyable! Looking forward to discovering the big secret about the wolves in Red! :)

Melissa (My words and pages) said...

Oh this does sound really good. I don't know why but I do like the sounds of remakes of old tales, with the twist authors put on it. Great! Best of luck to you!

LoriStrongin said...

Ooh, this one looks goooood! I'm a huge fan of fairy tale reboots (thank you, Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling) and have published several shorts doing the same. Can't get enough of well-told reboots, which is why I'm definitely looking forward to watching Grimm and Once Upon a Time.


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