Peternelle van Arsdale: “I Like My Fairytales Dark”
When I’m asked what kind of novels I write I always say “dark fairy tales.” The “dark” part of that description is key, but at the same time it feels superfluous. Fairy tales were never meant to be bright and sunny, and the classic ones collected and retold by the Brothers Grimm rarely are. Entertaining, for sure. Instructive, sometimes. But not light. Not romantic, not really. Even the fairy tales that end in marriage to a royal are weighed down by desperation. Girls don’t marry princes and kings for love. Read the full essay.
the five freakiest fairy tales
Somewhere along the way fairy tales got a good name. In the old days, back when fairy tales were first being written down, they were dark, and there weren’t a lot of heroes and heroines. The princesses definitely weren’t bad-asses who knew how to fight. The newer female heroines with battle skills are excellent and I’m all for them—we need more princesses like Merida from “Brave” and fewer like the original Disney “Snow White.” Read the full essay.
How I Learned to Stop Worrying About the Market and Just Write
If I had to reduce to one word what caused me to leave book publishing, it would be this: Dread. There were so many kinds of dread as an editor. Dread of the not-great cover that you’d have to try to convince your author to accept. Dread of the not-great manuscript that might never become as great as you’d hoped. Dread of the terrible sales results for even the books that you thought were great. Read the full essay.
behind the book: The Beast Is an Animal
I didn’t write The Beast is an Animal. At least, it didn’t feel like writing: It felt like evolution. Writing the prologue was the spark that started it all. After that the novel grew and morphed and became what it was supposed to be—an animal that I couldn’t have envisioned, but nonetheless makes complete sense. The novel as it exists now wasn’t at all a foregone conclusion when I first wrote the prologue, and yet it feels like it couldn’t possibly have been any other way. Read the full essay.
The monster is coming from inside the wall: Giving our fears a face
Alternative fact: I’m a witch. Probably I should be burned at the stake. Or crushed under rocks. Or drowned to see if I float. Or maybe my powers should be harnessed: With my predictive abilities, I can conquer the stock market and give all the proceeds to organizations I support. Go ahead, Republican-controlled congress — take away federal funding from Planned Parenthood. They won’t need your money anymore. They’ll have my witchy money. Read the full essay.