Thursday, February 28, 2019

The Challenges of Rewriting a Classic Tale by Nancy Fraser #RomanceGems

The criteria for a great fairy tale is not all that different from the formula used for an engaging romance. Both require the following:

A sensitive, brave, intelligent hero—preferably good looking, or at least confident in his appearance.

A strong, beautiful, empathetic heroine who’s not afraid to kick a little butt should the situation call for it.

A plot fraught with angst, danger and attraction. Whether the attraction leads to a chaste kiss or a steamy love scene depends on your audience.

A resolution that is both enlightening and satisfying, not only for the reader but also for the characters.

And, of course, the Happily Ever After required of all great tales.

My Beyond Fairy Tales story, Do You Want Me, is based on the Grimm Brothers tale, The Devil’s Sooty Brother. More macabre than romantic, it’s the tale of a soldier who returns from war to find he’s lost everything he’d left behind.

In order to make a new life for himself, he agrees to work for the devil and earn the money he needs to begin again. The idea of creating a ‘devil’ gave me the perfect protagonist for my story. The original tale also contains a king who has two daughters. While not a huge part of the original story, the idea of sisters fueled my naughty imagination.

So, how does an author of modern-day romances take a fairy tale written hundreds of years ago and make it current?

I started by outlining my had to be the soldier from the fairy tale...complete with memories and scars. In most cases, the next character I’d work on would be the heroine. However, since in the original, there are no female characters present until the very end, I decided to flesh out other aspects of the story first before getting a handle on who would steal my hero’s heart.

As with any series, there were also certain requirements set forth by the publisher. The biggest challenge among those was the inclusion of a narrator. Nicodemus, the storyteller, is a must for every book. I admit, I fretted over how to include this ‘outsider’. Then, two glasses of Baileys-over-ice later, I had it! (I do some of my best plotting under the influence of Bailey’s and crushed ice.)

I don’t want to give too much away other than to say, I have a sexy, battle-weary hero, a feisty tease of a heroine, a devil of a protagonist, and a father who holds an important position of influence (a king of sorts).

I’ve also done something I’d never attempted before. I wrote the entire story in the hero’s point of view...even the steamy love scenes.

About the Book...

Decorated war hero Reece Michaels agrees to go undercover in order to bring down the Irish Mob. In return, the civilian life he’s coveted for the past six years will be returned to him.

Hired by mob boss Sean O’Malley to protect his youngest son, Reece soon discovers the young man needs more protection from his own family than its enemies.

What Reece doesn’t count on is his instant attraction to the police chief’s beautiful and willing daughter. Abby Mackenzie is the younger sister of a woman with whom Reece once had a torrid affair. He’s determined to not give in to Abby’s come-hither ways. After all, one Mackenzie woman was more than enough.

Available from Amazon and currently on sale for 99¢. Also in audio book from Audible. Narrated by the incredible TG Burns. What that man did with a love scene should be a sin!

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  1. got me at Bailey’s over ice! Great way to plot...I’ll have to try it. Right now, I’m enjoying the glow from a hard Irish cider on the way out for dinner. No, it’s not too early in Portugal. BTW...I must get your book from the Romance Gems sample chapter book Love, Forever...I LOVED the first chapter!

  2. I think I need the book and a Bailey's over ice to drink while I read it.

  3. I love reading the retold fairy tales! It's so much fun to see the many ways authors are finding to retell them!

    MsRedK at aol dot com

  4. I love reading retellings of fairy tales. I grew up on Grimm fairy tales and they hold a special place in my heart. Your retelling sounds so great, Nancy!

    Mrs. N

    nnlight at nnlightsbookheaven dot com

  5. What a fun and challenging project, Nancy. Do you have fairy tale re-telling in the works?

    1. I'm toying with a second one. This one was so much fun I thought I'd try it again. But, for now, just this one as far as fairy tales go. I am re-telling the Wizard of Oz but I don't consider that a fairy tale.

  6. Re-tellings are always a lot of fun to read.


  7. I agree, very challenging project and plot!! Cool idea!!

  8. I love feisty heroines (because I'm feisty too), and you sure did a fantastic job creating this revamped version of the fairy tale. To be fair, t's a lot better than the original (most of the fairy tales that weren't adapted by Disney are too dark and macabre).

    My contact info: adissidente [at] gmail [dot] com

  9. The book sounds grest can't wait to read it!

    crossnstitch2 at aol dot com

  10. As always, great post Nancy! You're depth of skill is amazing.

    1. LOL ... someone needs to point that out the NYT so I can get on the list.


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