Cinderella Takes to the Twenty-First Century by Hope Tarr

Before I introduce my next guest blogger, I wanted to let everyone know about a brief Q&A I did recently on the Penguin site. In it I share my thoughts on whether the Noon Onyx series can be considered New Adult fiction or not. I won’t repeat what I said here (because you should head on over to my publisher’s site and read it 😀), but I will say that I’m interested in hearing what readers have to say about Fiery Edge of Steel being New Adult or not. (As many of you know, a book can be considered New Adult even if it is primarily some other genre (like fantasy or romance)).

Okay, enough already (for now) about my latest release and on to my fabulous guest blogger, Hope Tarr.

Along with being an award-winning, multi-published author, Hope is also the co-founder of Lady Jane’s Salon, NYC’s first and only monthly romance fiction reading series, now in its fifth year with six salon satellites nationwide. She’s here today to discuss her Suddenly Cinderella Book #2, THE CINDERELLA MAKEOVER. She’s giving away one copy of OPERATION CINDERELLA, the launch to her Suddenly Cinderella series for Entangled Publishing (winner’s choice of e-book or autographed trade paperback). Welcome, Hope!

The Cinderella Makeover

“At their essence, fairytales are about transformation”

When I first began sharing my idea for setting the Cinderella fairytale in contemporary times, not for one book but a series of books, I got some odd looks. Historical romance authors such as Judith Ivory, Mercedes Lackey, and Elizabeth Hoyt had already done a brilliant job of retelling fairytales in the context of their chosen epochs, sometimes layering in paranormal and erotic subplots. But whether set in the Victorian or Regency era or another occurring earlier or between, there were still swishing gowns and peers of the realm, and yes, balls.

But fairytales aren’t only about dreamy dresses or lavish ballrooms or even about being “the fairest in the land.” At their essence, fairytales are about transformation. The protagonist makes a conscious choice to break away from the bonds of the past and to forge a new and usually fairly bramble-riddled path forward into the future. In the process, the peasant becomes a princess, the ugly duckling a swan, the separated lovers come together as two halves of a perfectly unified whole.

And so my Suddenly Cinderella Series was born.

In the series, four unlikely Cinderellas meet their matches in modern day New York, Washington, DC, and Los Angeles. In OPERATION CINDERELLA (Book #1), my Cinderella heroine, Macie, is a New York City goth girl, the features editor of a ballsy women’s magazine, who decides to transform herself into a sweet, old-fashioned miss to ensnare the sexy conservative media pundit who’s nearly cost her job. In the in-series novella, A CINDERELLA CHRISTMAS CAROL, my curmudgeon heroine, Starr, is both Cinderella—and Scrooge. Talk about multi-tasking!

And in my latest release, THE CINDERELLA MAKEOVER, my Cinderella is…

A guy.

Silicon Valley CEO Contestant Gregory Knickerbocker is a geek with a heart of gold, a six-foot three leanly-muscled hunk in need of a mercy makeover. A new reality TV show, “Project Cinderella,” aims to remake fashion frogs like Greg into styling Cinderella princes and princesses. Seizing his opportunity to turn his personal life around, Greg gets himself cast as one of six contestants on the show.

Internationally famous fashion photographer, Francesca St. James needs a major life change and leaving New York for Los Angeles to join Project Cinderella as a fashion “fairy god mentor” is certainly that. Coaching Greg may prove the biggest challenge of her career but when an old rival baits her into betting that he’ll win, she’s determined to get both her Happily Ever After—and her revenge. Can a pair of vintage Saks Fifth Avenue red slippers help her look beyond Greg’s center-parted hair and gray hoodies to the Cinderfella who lies beneath?

Instead of a mean stepmother, we have a vicious rival fashion coach stirring up all sorts of trouble on the set as well as the show’s meddlesome producer. Greg’s kingdom isn’t a castle-on-a-hill but the Silicon Valley tech startup where he and Francesca first meet. And the “ball” isn’t a ball, but the show’s black tie finale episode when the winner will be crowned.

As with any good Cinderella tale, we have a great pair of shoes. Substituting for glass slippers is a svelte pair of vintage Saks Fifth Avenue red velvet heels from the 1930’s. And though my slippers are passed along friend-to-friend rather than conjured by a wand-waving fairy godmother, they are magical nonetheless—and gorgeous! This is the photo of the real shoes upon which my fictional pair is based. Aren’t they great?

But regardless of whether our princess is wearing soot spotted rags, a glittering ball gown, or a fabulously fitting pair of skinny jeans, her story, and our fairytale, serves to remind us of timeless, universal truths. That good is stronger than evil. That love is stronger than hate.

And that a Happily Ever After beginning is possible for every one of us brave enough to reach out and claim it.

What favorite fairytale would you like to see re-set and in what era?

More about Hope

Hope Tarr
Hope Tarr

Hope Tarr is the award-winning author of more than twenty historical and contemporary romance novels including her Suddenly Cinderella Series for Entangled Publishing. Hope is also a cofounder and current principal of Lady Jane’s Salon™, New York City’s first and still only monthly romance reading series now in its fifth year with six satellites nationwide. Look for her Suddenly Cinderella Series finale this fall 2013 as well as SUGAR, her hard cover debut written with Jenna Jameson (Skyhorse Publishing, October 2013). Visit Hope online at and as well as on Facebook ( and Twitter (@HopeTarr).

Where to Buy The Cinderella Makeover

Leave a comment for a chance to win OPERATION CINDERELLA *and* a book from my shelves. 😀 Chance to win books from this post will end at midnight EDT on June 24, 2013. Thanks for guest blogging today, Hope!

Published by

Jill Archer

Jill Archer is the author of the Noon Onyx series, genre-bending fantasy novels including DARK LIGHT OF DAY, FIERY EDGE OF STEEL, WHITE HEART OF JUSTICE, and POCKET FULL OF TINDER.

12 thoughts on “Cinderella Takes to the Twenty-First Century by Hope Tarr

  1. Ginger Robertson won the copy of OPERATION CINDERELLA and Mary Preston won a book from my shelves. Ginger, Hope will be in touch with you about your copy of OPERATION CINDERELLA. Mary, I’ll e-mail you the updated list of books to choose from. Thanks, everyone, for all of the fun comments!

  2. I haven’t yet seen Once Upon a Mattress. May have to check it out… True story: my youngest met with her reading tutor earlier today and what do you think the homework assignment was? The Princess and the Pea. I nearly laughed out loud. 😀

    I enjoyed reading everyone’s suggestions. Really great ideas!

    1. *Anything* set in the 1920’s has my vote! Currently reading Lauren Willig’s wonderful, THE ASHFORD AFFAIR. Next up on my to-read pile: A SPEAR OF SUMMER GRASS by Deanna Raybourn. Both Lauren and Deanna have read at Lady Jane’s Salon, Lauren multiple times.

  3. I love reading Fairy Tale inspired books. They are relatable and so much fun.

    I always loved reading THE UGLY DUCKLING. This would work well in any era. Maybe historical. A marriage of convenience, and hey presto, the girl grows out of her awkward phase.

    1. Years ago Susan Wiggs did a wonderful riff on The Ugly Duckling — THE CHARM SCHOOL. It was either Regency or early Victorian set and the heroine cast away on a ship. The crew became her collective Professor Higgins, which was *hilarious.*

  4. Hi Hope
    I enjoyed reading about you, background for Cinderella stories and excerpt.
    I would like to see The Ugly Duckling and set it in modern era.
    Thank you for your time and generosity.

    1. Thanks so much for taking *your* time to visit me here. The finale to the Suddenly Cinderella Series (Entangled, Nov 2013), title to be determined, is actually an Ugly Duckling tale. It’s basically “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” meets Cinderella. In my version, my Greek-American personal chef, Stefanie Stephanapolous (Note: I’m surely mis-spelling that) gets an extreme makeover to snag a certain visiting Greek tycoon. I’ve had insatiable cravings for stuffed grape leaves and baklava since I began the book. 😉

  5. Hi Hope, wanted to say thanks again for guest bogging. I love the idea of fairy tales that are retold in a different time and/or with some sort of twist. Your Suddenly Cinderella Series sounds fun.

    Hmm… I’m not sure I have a favorite fairy tale (okay, I confess, I do have a little bit of a weakness for The Princess and the Pea… when I was little, I so wanted a bed with eighty mattresses and a giant ladder to reach the top. How about a modern day re-telling with a scared-of-heights Princess and a Jack-in-the-Beanstalk climbing instructor? :-D)

    I’m looking forward to seeing Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters. Adaptations and retellings never get old. These stories are timeless for a reason.

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