The third interview in my Once Upon a Rainbow series is with the lovely Kari Trenten aka K.S. Trenten, talking about her story Fairest.
Fairest is an F/F hodgepodge of popular fairy tales Sleeping Beauty and Snow White, with a dash of Cinderella which Kari has given her own twist by making the witches former princesses.
Fairest was originally released last year (2016) by the Prizm Young Adult line of Torquere Press, Inc. Rights were returned to Kari after a failure to fulfil the original contract by Torquere. Kari is delighted it has found a new home with Nine Star Press.
Kari says, "I’ve made a lot of changes to polish up this edition of Fairest,plus I’ve given many of the previous characters, including the narrator names. I’ve done my best to do this without the disturbing the content original fans of Fairest loved."
What will you change into?
All of my life, I’ve been haunted by her dark eyes. At birth, she cursed me to prick my finger on a spindle and sleep for a century. She appears in my dreams, my reflections, shaping my desires. Who is she? My guardian has only revealed a few enigmatic words as to her identity, the fairest of them all.
Follow me into the Forest of Tears where the dwarves dwell, walking where she once walked. Gaze into the depths of the magic mirror which reveals her secrets. For I refuse to be afraid of her, even if I should.
And, here's the interview. I'm in blue and Kari is in italics.
The big theme for this anthology is fairy tales, were you a fan as a child? Do you think that fairy tales have a special place in people’s hearts?
Definitely. There’s something iconic about fairy tales. They remind me of tarot card imagery. One can infuse them with entirely new meaning and vitality with each generation, renewing them. I remember reading some of Tanith Lee’s own interpretations of fairy tales, marveling at the new spin she put on them. Storm Constantine did the same thing. It inspired me, made me want to reinvent them myself.
You describe Fairest as a mixture of what are arguably some of the most popular fairy tales in the world, do you think that made it easier for you to write or harder? Are people more critical when you use components from their favourites?
Definitely, but I’m hoping some readers will be intrigued and interested,as well as critical. The story came to me out of my own criticism as a reader of some fairy tales I found compelling, yet there were elements which bothered me. The magic mirror, the question “Who is the fairest of them all?” became more and more powerful for me over time. There was more to it all than simple vanity. This was one of the driving elements that led me to craft this story. The other was the prince feeling very much like an after thought, when the driving conflict was between the princess and the witch that curses her. This was true in both Snow White and Cinderella. One of my favorite Japanese anime,Revolutionary Girl Utena used the phrase ‘princesses who aren’t saved by a prince become witches’. These words haunted me, shaping elements of my story. Later, I realized I’d gotten the quote wrong. (laughs) Ah, well, inspiration came from my mistake. :)
Fairy tales have a reputation for rehashing tropes and clichés; was that something you were consciously worried about? How did you avoid that and put your own spin on things?
Actually, I wasn’t worried about that at all. I’m not sure if I was even aware of the reputation when I first wrote this. I followed my heart,allowing my character to follow her heart. I wanted to write a story about the cursed princess falling in love with the witch who cursed her. As a reader, I’d been frustrated by the fact that none of the writers I loved ever attempted this. I decided to it myself. I often write about the things I’ve always wanted to read about. :)
What is your favourite fairy tale and why?
Actually I wrote about two of my favorites, Snow White and Sleeping Beauty. I’m fascinated by the sleeping curse. It’s always struck me as being quite vampiric. In fact, I wrote a very short story for creative writing class as a teenager, where Sleeping Beauty was a vampire, woke up, and ate the prince. My writing is a lot less dark than it used to be. :) I’m also very fond of Rumplestumplestiltskin and Rapunzel, the stories about faeries or witches. I often considered the potential story of the infant prince, if Rumplestumplestiltskin had taken him. Or Rapunzel being raised in isolation by the witch.
If you could be in a fairy tale which one would you chose? Would you be a hero or a villain?
Yikes! If you’ve read the original stories, this is a good way to get eaten! :) Hmm, I’d be a hero clever enough to survive and get rich, like Jack or Molly Whoopie. Or a villain too powerful to be ended by the hero, like Baba Yaga. :) I think I’d prefer to be the helpful guardian/assistant than the actual hero, though. The one who whispers the secret to the main character, pointing them in the right direction.
And our final question; a quick sales pitch! Why should we read Fairest?
It’s an aesthetically pleasing, entertaining read, well worth the money you’ll be paying. It’s a different spin on a classic tale with the kind of happy ending I’ve always dreamed of having, if I won and wooed a woman I loved.
Thanks for taking the time to stop by Kari, I can’t wait to read the other books you write in future!
Thank you very much for having me, Riza! I appreciate the interest…you won’t have to wait long for more of my stories. :) Seven Tricks, my Mouse Prince/Nutcracker holiday tale comes a week after Fairest. I’ve got another f/f fantasy fairy tale appearing in Once Upon a Rainbow 2 called At Her Service. This time, it’s all gender bending Cinderella. :)
Kari can be found:
Facebook: K.S. Trenten
Goodreads: K.S. Trenten
Please note that Riza Curtis cannot be held responsible for the contents of external sites.