We love fairytale retellings, especially when they’re given the YA treatment. So it’s no wonder that we absolutely loved Stacey Jay’s Princess of Thorns, a riveting retelling of “Sleeping Beauty” that’s full of action, drama and romance. But while we love these classic tales, there are some tropes we wouldn’t mind staying in the past or getting revamped. Curious about her thoughts on this, we asked Stacey to dish on the five fairytale tropes she’d like to turn on their head and here’s what she had to say!
In my romantic fantasy, Princess of Thorns, I tell the story of Sleeping Beauty’s daughter, Aurora, a warrior princess who fights for the people she loves and is the architect of her own Happily Ever After. I had an amazing time writing spunky, brave Aurora’s story, so when RT asked me to share the top five fairytale tropes I would like to see turned on their heads I leapt at the chance!
And so, in no particular order:
Number Five: Love at first kiss.
Don’t get me wrong, I know that with the right person a first kiss can be pretty mind-blowing, but “He” and “She” can’t know if they’re cut out to be “We” simply from tangling tongues for a few minutes. I want my soul mates to have to do way more work to prove that they’ve got what it takes to make their love last. That’s part of the reason I made kissing so fraught for Aurora in Princess of Thorns.
Number Four: Don’t touch that!
Fairytale characters are always getting in trouble for touching something they shouldn’t or opening a door they’ve been warned to keep closed. To me, this reeks of the more powerful members of a society trying to crush our character’s natural curiosity and keep him or her mindlessly obedient. I want to write characters who open the door, explore the forbidden and expose the seedy underbelly of the society trying to keep them silent and complacent.
Number Three: Ugly=Bad Pretty=Good
I already dabbled with the theme of subjective beauty in my 2013 romantic fantasy Of Beast and Beauty, but I think there is a powerful lesson here. Evil can lurk beneath an angel face and sometimes seeing something as “ugly” simply means we’re not using our heart to see, along with our eyes.
Number Two: Waiting for a Savior
I don’t want my princess to wait around in her tower for Prince Charming on his white horse. I want her to be a self-rescuing princess. Or, better yet, get her chance to save the man she loves! We all have moments when we’re weak and in need of a helping hand — even Prince Charming. I love to write strong couples who realize that their biggest strength is their love for each other and gender has nothing to do with who might be in need of a rescue.
Number One: The Stepmother is ALWAYS evil
The poor stepmother. She just can’t catch a break! First she’s thrust into a parent role for a child who is usually grieving a beloved mother and then fairytale law obligates her to be completely wicked on top of it. I’d love to see a stepmother who is heroic and filled with love for her stepchild. I’d love to see a bond between those characters that is even stronger than many blood relationships because chosen family can often be the most special family of all. I may even be writing one such story right now …
Thanks for the chance to talk fairytales, Romantic Times! And I hope readers enjoy Princess of Thorns.
— Stacey Jay
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