Today, I'm happy to have fantasy author H.L. Burke here to talk about her love of fairy tales, something that inspired her to write Dragon's Curse. Be sure to check out this fantastic new release as well as her great contest at the bottom of this post.
I’ve always been fascinated by fairy tales. They’re deceptively simple, filled with the fantastic, and convey awesome stories in bite sized portions. Also, they are a near endless source of entertainment. You can move from the familiar (anything that has been adapted by Disney) to the obscure, and every tale has countless versions and reimaginings. Every culture has its own traditional tales, and if you exhaust Europe, you can move through Asian, African, Native American folklore.
Often as a child I would check out fairy tale anthologies from the library and skim through the Cinderellas and Tom Thumbs looking for “new” stories. Some of my favorites are East of the Sun, West of the Moon, The Green Serpent, and The Blue Bird. These stories all involved a prince or beloved turned into an animal who had to earn a woman's love while deprived of his true form. In all three the female protagonist, be she princess or farmer's daughter, had to trek great distances or endure hardships to find her lover after a mistake or misunderstanding separated them. In The Blue Bird, the girl has to walk until she has worn out three pairs of iron shoes, broken three iron walking sticks, and eaten three loaves of iron bread. That's a lot to go through, even for true love. In East of the Sun, West of the Moon, it is also up to the heroine to save the hero. These heroine's aren't perfect. They have a bad habit of lighting candles and dropping hot wax on enchanted princes for one thing, but they are brave and determined, which is a nice change from some of the more decorative princesses.
There are many other cherished fairy tales with all sorts of random, weird and wonderful happenings. Sometimes people get their heads or toes cut off. On occasion people are boiled alive. White cats have magical palaces and help the youngest son of a king gain the throne. Girls weave shirts out of nettles while sobbing in graveyards. Occasionally it doesn't end happily, but more often then not it does.
I’d read through story after story, pick out my favorite elements, and play with them in my head or on paper.
Like . . .
What if I combined the traditional “sleep for 100 years” Sleeping Beauty with the Disney “met her true love in the forest” version and the prince couldn’t wake her until he was 116? Would he die after bestowing the magical kiss or do I give them a happy ending and renew his youth so they can live for another hundred years? What if a princess hired a dragon to get rid of an unwanted suitor? What if the prince or princess decided he/she liked being a talking frog or bird or polar bear and said, “no thank you” to the magical kiss?
I’d toy with the ideas until coming up with my own versions of these stories. After a bit, they would take on a life of their own. Without giving away too much, several of these elements ended up in my book Dragon’s Curse and its sequels.
Someday I'd like to write out a full length version of The Blue Bird, but for now, I'm too obsessed with my own stories. To me writing a new fairy tale is “Happily Ever After.”
Dragon's Curse, book one in The Dragon and the Scholar Saga
by H. L. Burke
On her first assignment out of the Academy, young healer and scholar, Shannon Macaulay is summoned to the struggling kingdom of Regone to see to the wounds of a young but crippled king. When the unwanted attentions of an aggressive knight and the sudden appearance of a hated dragon turn her world upside down, she decides to take matters into her own hands even if doing so proves dangerous. Finding herself strangely drawn to the company of the dragon, Gnaw, Shannon must force herself out of her safe world of books and botany to come to the aid of her unexpected ally in a strange kingdom, cursed by a fateful encounter with a dragon and the loss of a beloved prince. Can she learn to put aside her fears, and perhaps sacrifice her deepest desires, to help a friend and restore a family?
Dragon's Curse is available on Amazon.com.
H. L. Burke on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/H.-L.-Burke/e/B00EYQ1HLW/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1
H. L. Burke on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hlburkewriter
H. L. Burke on Twitter: https://twitter.com/typativemamacat
H. L. Burke on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7230868.H_L_Burke
H. L. Burke's Author Website: http://www.hlburkeauthor.com/
Born in a small town in north central Oregon, H. L. Burke spent most of her childhood around trees and farm animals and always accompanied by a book. Growing up with epic heroes from Middle Earth and Narnia keeping her company, she also became an incurable romantic.
An addictive personality, she jumped from one fandom to another, being at times completely obsessed with various books, movies, or television series (Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and Star Trek all took their turns), but she has grown to be what she considers a well-rounded connoisseur of geek culture.
Married to her high school crush who is now a US Marine, she has moved multiple times in her adult life but believes home is wherever her husband, two daughters, and pets are.