Wednesday, December 9, 2015

A Gift of Sexy Fairy Tales

If you're looking for books to buy your friends for Christmas (or for your own library) I have a suggestion to make. This is billed as "A Quartet of Fractured Fairy Tales" and it certainly caught my interest.  The book is Modern Magic, and one of the featured authors, Stephanie Cage, is the guest today in My Writing Corner.  Welcome Stephanie! How did you get started in publishing?

I always wanted to write, and as a teenager I had a couple of short stories published in our local newspaper.  Later I joined a writing group, and started entering competitions, and my first real success was winning a holiday in the Woman's Own magazine short story competition with a short story called 'Hide and Seek' about a young girl struggling to fit into a new step-family.  Then I discovered the Romantic Novelists' Association and began to focus on writing romance, which led to my first ebook, 'Desperate Bid' being published by The Wild Rose Press.  It started with the premise that somebody decided to put their life up for sale on an online auction site, and I thought it was pretty way out, but a few years later I read an article about someone who'd done just that!
What is your writing process? Are you a planner or one who relies on the writing spirit?
A bit of both.  When writing short stories I often just set out with a concept and see where it goes, but for longer stories I'm increasingly realising the need to plan so that I don't end up wandering down blind alleys.  I don't think I'll ever be a very detailed planner though.  I enjoy being surprised by my characters and finding that their stories take turns I hadn't expected. 

What one piece of advice would you give to new writers starting out?
The two pieces of advice I hear most often are 'read a lot' and 'write a lot' and I think both are indispensable, but I would add to the first one, 'read carefully'.  The best authors' stories carry us along, and as readers, it's great to race through a story enjoying all the twists and turns, but as authors we need to do more.  We need to stop and consider the choices the author made throughout the story, and what they add.  Why this viewpoint, this character, this scene?  This helps us to see the techniques being used to craft their stories, and add those to our own repertoires. 

Tell us about your newest work and what made you want to write it?

My latest published story is a novella in a collection of four modern fairy tales by different authors.  The book is called 'Modern Magic' and my story, "Music to her Ears" is a version of Goldilocks.  When I saw that Crimson Romance were publishing an anthology of modern fairy tales, I really wanted to take part, because I grew up admiring Angela Carter's reworkings of fairy tales, and as an adult I've enjoyed reading stories like 'Falling', my friend Imogen Howson's reworking of Rapunzel as a science fiction story.  I chose to base my submission to the anthology on Goldilocks because I'd seen a lot of versions of Cinderella and Red Riding Hood lately, and wanted to do something different, and I liked the idea of the heroine getting to choose something that was 'just right' rather than settling for the first thing (or person) who came along. 
What do you like best about your heroine and hero?
Both Mike and Hannah have a passion for music, and as he's already a well-known musician, when Hannah meets him for the first time, she feels as if she already knows him in many ways.  I enjoyed writing about their love of music because it's something I share.  As part of the Ursa Trio, Mike divides his time between the London area, where he meets Hannah, and New York, where the brothers have a flat (or should I say apartment?), but he comes from Yorkshire originally, and I loved bringing my favorite British county into the story too. 
What are you working on now?
I'm going through the editing process on another novella, Paris Proposal, which is due to be published by The Wild Rose Press next year.  It's a fun, quirky little story about a girl who goes to Paris with her boyfriend for New Year, expecting a proposal, only to find that things don't turn out at all how she expects. 
How about a blurb on Modern Magic?
What if Cinderella ditched the prince’s ball and sent her fairy godmother to find love in her place?
Suppose a streetwise hero hired to steal an all-powerful Genie (stuck in a flash driver rather than a brass lamp) for a tech company ended up running for his life with the CEO’s gorgeous, intelligent daughter?
What if the bed that a certain golden tressed girl accidentally napped in belonged to the hot and famous middle brother of a well-known boy band?
Can you envision the sparks that might fly if a bitter and downright beastly wheel chair bound woman propositioned a handsome bookseller to stay with her in exchange for her rare book collection?
This spellbinding anthology features modern and sexy spins on four classic fairy tales.
How can readers contact you:
Thanks, Stephanie, for being my guest today, and good luck with Modern Magic. I'm putting it on my Christmas list. Any comments or questions for Stephanie?


  1. Thanks so much for having me to visit, Rebecca!

  2. Thanks so much for having me to visit, Rebecca!

  3. Great blog and excellent piece of advice Stephanie. I know exactly what you mean about reading carefully and these days I not only read a good book just because I want to, but also because I want to sit down and analyse how it was put together, how the plot develops and I frequently make notes too! Which probably means I ought to get out more! Really looking forward to reading Modern Magic over the Christmas hols.

  4. Sounds like a fun book! As for the writing process, I agree--I've found a bit of plotting does help the guide the story, but I can't plot it out completely. Best of luck with your release.

  5. Hello and thanks for your comments.

    Angela, the analysis and notes must work, because I've been reading Messandrierre and loving the way the plot twists unfold!

    Barbara, I'm glad I'm not the only person who sits on the fence between plotter and pantser!

  6. Hello and thanks for your comments.

    Angela, the analysis and notes must work, because I've been reading Messandrierre and loving the way the plot twists unfold!

    Barbara, I'm glad I'm not the only person who sits on the fence between plotter and pantser!

  7. Hi Stephanie and Rebecca! Great interview. Stephanie, your advice for new writers is wonderful advice. I actually spend a lot of time while reading doing exactly that. I learn so much as a writer from other authors,--- but it sure does slow down my reading time.

  8. Nancy, that's so true! I still read a lot, fast, for enjoyment, but when I find a really great book I make sure to slow down and study it. I'm hoping one day to write a romantic suspense, and when I do, the Shadows and Light series will definitely be on my homework list!


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