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A variety of writers come together to twist traditional fairy tales into unusual and mysterious stories. From Beauty and the Beast, to Hansel and Gretel, to the Ugly Duckling, these stories will be sure to pull you into a fantastical world of princes, romance, and maybe a little science fiction.
"Plan B" by Katie French. When Nolan is selected as one of the few candi dates to work in the Breeder’s hospital, he thinks all his troubles are over. Now he can afford precious medicine to save his ailing father. He’s heard of the Breeders’ cruelty, of their inhuman experiments, but he’s sure they’re fabrications. Then he stumbles into the Plan B room and learns how truly awful the Breeders can be.
"Tailless" by Ariele Sieling. A retelling of the Ugly Duckling, set on a far away planet in an unknown galaxy. While fighting a war with her people's biggest enemy, young Bode struggles to understand why she feels out of place in her community, and why she, unlike her comrades, was born without a tail.
"I Am the Maid" by Sarah Dalton. A hostile zombie killing Maid Marian meets an ill-behaved ex-soldier Robin in this post-apocalyptic retelling of Robin Hood. When a young girl falls deathly sick, the two are forced to join forces in order to outwit the Sheriff, and the mysterious Guy Gisbon.
"Three Wishes" by Marijon Braden. When Aladdin rubbed the magic lamp, things went pretty well for him. But a few thousand years later, the world has changed and the genie is old, cranky, and doesn't play fair. Young Alison thinks she's found the answer to all her prayers, but instead finds that having wishes come true isn't all it's cracked up to be.
"Killing Snow White" by Jamie Campbell. A magical retelling of the story of Snow White, told entirely by the Evil Queen who supposedly tried to poison her. Think Snow White is innocent? Think again.
"A House in the Woods" by H.S. Stone. At the conclusion of a scavenger hunt for Old World artifacts, Hansel and Gretel find themselves lost on the outskirts of the city after dark. They stumble upon a house in the nearby woods, hoping that they will find help inside, but the house's inhabitant has other ideas.
“Flight” by Zoe Cannon. A retelling of Beauty and the Beast. Dragged to the palace at swordpoint, commanded to cure the cursed prince with a kiss, Lucia wants nothing more than to return to her solitary world of books and magical study. But she soon discovers that she and the prince share more in common than she could have imagined… and that the truth behind his curse could destroy—or save—them both.
Interview with all the authors of Through a Tangled Wood
Can you describe what your story is about?
Ariele Sieling: In this retelling of the Ugly Duckling, set on a far away planet in an unknown galaxy, Bode feels out of place among her fellow soldiers. While fighting a war with her people’s biggest enemy, young Bode struggles to understand why she feels so alone within her community, and why she, unlike her comrades, was born without a tail
H.S. Stone: A House in the Woods is a re-telling of the Hansel and Gretel tale set in a post-apocalyptic world.
Julie Campbell: Killing Snow White is a retelling of Grimm’s version of Snow White. It is told entirely from the viewpoint of the Wicked Queen and twists the tale to show who the real villain of the story is.
Katie French: New Mexico. Year 2092. Male to female ratio: 9 to 1.
When Nolan is selected as one of the few candidates to work in the Breeder’s hospital, he thinks all his troubles are over. Now he can afford precious medicine to save his ailing father. He’s heard of the Breeders’ cruelty, of their inhuman experiments, but he’s sure they’re fabrications. Then he stumbles into the Plan B room and learns how truly awful the Breeders can be.
Marijon Braden: Three Wishes is a take on Aladdin and the magic lamp. This time around, the genie is old and not-so-nice – and every wish he grants comes at a cost. But he’s up against two 21st century teen-aged girls, who take their wishes very seriously, and the genie does not come out too well in the end.
Sarah Dalton: I Am the Maid is a post-apocalyptic retelling of Robin Hood. Maid Marian is now a kick-ass Katana wielding zombie killer who led a group of people from Nottingham and out of the clutches of the power-hungry Sheriff. Robin is a deserter of the army and has come back from fighting rebels in the North. He is disillusioned and hardened by what he has seen, and turned to crime in order to survive. However, the moral Marian is unimpressed with his law-breaking, and sparks begin to fly.
Zoe Cannon: Flight is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, with a twist. I can’t say too much without giving away the end, but it’s about a girl who cares more about books and magic than she does about romance who is nevertheless ordered to cure the prince’s curse with a kiss, and a prince with a secret he’s willing to sacrifice everything to protect. In broader terms, it’s about being who you are despite others’ disapproval and rejection.
How did you come up with the idea?
Ariele Sieling: I have been working on taking traditional fairy tales and setting them in space, and I had an idea for a battle scene in a WWI-like trench. It then turned into the ugly duckling – well, something vaguely similar, anyway! Of course, this one isn’t exactly in space, but it’s on another planet – which is close enough.
H.S. Stone: Not only is Hansel and Gretel one of my favorite fairy tales, but I had just watched “Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters”, so the story was fresh in my mind. 🙂 Combined with my love of post-apocalyptic/dystopian fiction, the idea of the re-telling came together easily.
Jamie Campbell: I like the idea of everything having two perspectives. Just because we know Snow White’s version of events, that doesn’t make it true. I enjoyed looking at the story from a completely different angle.
Katie French: I had a great idea all ready to go for the anthology until I learned that we were doing fairy tales. Feeling fairly deflated that my first idea wouldn’t work, I turned to Facebook. I asked my fans to give me ideas for a Breeders inspired fairy tale. I told them if I picked their idea I’d name a character after them. A dozen or so entries came in and they all were fantastic, but the Sleeping Beauty idea really struck me. Thus why my character is named Nolan for the person who gave me the idea.
Marijon Braden: I have a 17-year-old, and so I know first hand that one way or the other, they get what they want. I liked the idea of the all-powerful genie getting his own at the end.
Sarah Dalton: I decided I wanted to retell Robin Hood, and set it in modern Nottingham, which is a city close to where I live, and therefore more personal to me. I needed a backdrop where outlaws can fight against the system, and post-apocalyptic seemed perfect for that. While I was creating the world, I loved adding little touches such as Marian’s rebels living in Nottingham Forest football ground rather than Sherwood forest, and the Sheriff taking over the very real Nottingham castle. The city is still shaped in a similar way to what it was hundreds of years ago with a ring road where the wall would have once been. In this retelling the wall is back, and those kept inside are under the Sheriff’s rule. There are also caves and secret passageways underneath Nottingham that are very intriguing and I couldn’t wait to incorporate them into the story, but with my own twist.
Zoe Cannon: Before we decided on the fairy tale theme, an author friend of mine who was also participating, Ariele Sieling, jokingly suggested that I write a dystopian fairy tale, since I normally write dystopias. A few days later, I was thinking about what I wanted to write, and started playing around with the idea of a story about an outcast of some kind finding love not despite what he is but because of it. The fairy tale idea had apparently lodged somewhere in my mind, because somehow that idea turned itself into an idea for a Beauty and the Beast retelling.
What is your favorite traditional fairy tale, and can you elaborate on why?
Ariele Sieling: I very much like Beauty and the Beast, although I find it disappointing that he turns human at the end (what about non-discrimination and acceptance and all that?!). I am also working on a version of this story, which involves miniature robots, mechanics, and a very useful wrench.
H.S. Stone: It’s tough to pick, but I’d go with Beauty and the Beast. With so many stories (fairy tale or not) where couples are attracted to one another because of how pretty or dashing they look, it’s refreshing when a love story’s relationship blossoms because of what’s inside each individual.
Jamie Campbell: Cinderella, I like the way it gives you hope for a better tomorrow no matter what your situation is. Plus, we all want a Prince Charming to sweep us off our feet 🙂
Marijon Braden: Probably Snow White, because that was the first fairy tale I saw as a movie. That sounds shallow, I know, but seeing those characters move and speak really had an impact, because every time I read the story after that, I could see it in my head.
Sarah Dalton: Ooh, this is a hard one. I loved Disney when I was little, and even though I’ve grown up to be more of a feminist who disapproves of the typical princess trope, there will always be a soft spot in my heart for swirling princess dresses and the waltz and the dress changing colour in Sleeping Beauty. Robin Hood isn’t really a fairy tale, but I watched the Disney version so many times my parents were sick of it! The songs were amazing and the characters more interesting than in most Disney films. Maid Marian had some sass!
Zoe Cannon: For me, it depends less on the story itself and more on how the story is told. That said, I’ve always liked Beauty and the Beast – maybe my childhood self imprinted on the Disney version and related to bookish Belle (I couldn’t resist making my heroine a book nerd too!).
Any comments you want to share with readers about the anthology?
Ariele Sieling: It was great to work with this group of people, and I hope the readers enjoy all of the different fairy tales!
Jamie Campbell: The anthology is packed full of so many great stories, I’m sure there is a new favorite fairy tale in there for everyone.
H.S. Stone: This is a great collection of stories from some very talented writers. Whether you’re a fan of fairy tales or not, you’re sure to find a story you enjoy in “Through a Tangled Wood.”
Marijon Braden: This was a lot of fun to write – I’d never taken another person’s story and turned it around. It was harder than I thought!
Sarah Dalton: There are some really interesting takes on different fairy tales and I really think there is something for everyone in there.
Zoe Cannon: I’m glad to have the opportunity to participate in this project. I wouldn’t have written this story without the anthology, and I got to meet a bunch of new authors I’ve never worked with before. I’m excited about getting this book out there for readers to enjoy.