Sunday, November 15, 2015

Interview: Authors from Frozen Fairy Tales

    1)  What led you to write a fairy tale about winter? In other words, why this anthology?
    2) What do you like the most and the least about winter?
        3) What is your favorite classic fairy tale and why?

Christina Ruth Johnson, “The Stolen Heart”
1) I have always been fascinated by the mythos of winter and, when this anthology was proposed, realized how few fairy tales have a stereotypical winter setting (cold, snowy, etc.). There are a handful of tales which one assumes take place in a wintry land, such as East of the Sun and West of the Moon since it features a polar bear, but almost none I could think of in which the setting of winter performs like a character itself. I was eager to explore this concept and bring a winter fairy tale to life. 

2) What I like most about the winter season are the vacations away from 80-degrees-one-day-ice-storm-the-next Texas to go snow-skiing in Colorado with my family. These trips do not happen as often as they used to, and I look forward to them even more because of that. Besides skiing, what I love most is the warmth found in wintertime: the warmth of staying inside with a book and hot chocolate, curled up in PJs and blankets when the world outside is cold and frozen (and, if you’re in Texas, perhaps thundersleeting). What do I like least? Inept drivers on icy roads. 

3) My favorite classic fairy tale is the Norwegian story “East of the Sun and West of the Moon” (Asbjørnsen and Moe). I of course love it for the heroine, who is lovely and intrepid and clever, and who gets to save the prince this time around. I also love it because of its history. This story is an eerily close retelling of the ancient myth “Eros and Psyche” (“eerily” because it is so many hundreds of years removed from the original), but with the wonderful addition of a polar bear, which the heroine gets to ride, and an evil troll princess as the antagonist in place of Aphrodite (make of that what you will). There are helpful old women bearing golden gifts, personified winds that carry the heroine to the uttermost north, and an impossible castle in an impossible place. What more could you want in a fairy tale?

Gavin Bradley, “How Jack Frost Stole Winter”
1) Living in Edmonton, Canada, has a way of shaping all your stories to fit with the fantastic, fairy tale-like, near perpetual Winter that envelops the city for most of the year; like living in the realm of the White Witch from The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, or stepping into Hans Christian Andersons': 'The Snow Queen'. Experiencing that every day, I thought it might be nice to come up with a story that explains why we living in this modern fairy tale landscape have to get up half an hour early to dig our cars out from under a nightly avalanche of snow...just a different way of looking at, and explaining Winter, which is, ultimately what all fairy tales are about; different ways of explaining the world around us.

2) The best part of Winter is late night walks as the snow falls lightly around; when the cold has chased most other people and cars and animals away and you feel like you have the whole world to yourself. Luckily, living in Edmonton, I get plenty of chances to do this and as an Irishman, I'm always reminded of Joyce's final line in The Dead: ..."the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, on all the living and the dead". Also hot apple cider... The worst part is rather more obvious; the cold. It gets to -40 Celsius here in Edmonton, and your more or less confined to the inside of buildings- people can get a little stir crazy. 

3) My favorite fairy tales growing up were always traditional Irish ones--“Cú Chulainn and the Hound” (where the Irish hero of legends gets his name by slaying an enormous hound with his hurl (sort of like a big wooden hockey stick) and sliotar (ball), or the “Salmon of Knowledge”-- where our hero burns his thumb while cooking a fish containing wisdom, sucks his thumb, and becomes wise. I used to have a great book with a huge picture of the salmon, glittering with reds, greens and purples- even now I swear I can taste the salmon from that picture. I think my Mum liked me reading that one too, because it made me stop complaining about having fish for supper. 

Frozen Fairy Tales on Amazon

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