urban fantasy, fairy tale, Grimm and White, Emily Ann Hansen

Emily Hansen: The Bizarre and Fantastic – How Fairy Tales Transformed my Novel

Today’s guest blogger is fellow Marylander, Emily Hansen, author of GRIMM & WHITE, the first book in the urban fantasy series “Heartless.” She’s here with a post on one of my favorite topics — fairy tales. She’s also giving away three print copies of her book. Details below. Welcome, Emily!

“Would you rip out your own heart if it meant saving the person who was responsible for its erratic beats in the first place?”

There was a grotesque eloquence in which the Grimm Brothers carried out their stories. I vividly remember hearing about how bloody the original Cinderella was compared to the happy-go-lucky Disney version. There were still talking animals in the original. They weren’t friends with Cinderella but rather just tattled on the Step Sisters whose desperation for status led them to chop at their own feet.

“The girl cut a piece off of her heel, forced her foot into the shoe, and swallowed the pain.”

Reading that now, makes my stomach churn. Such simple text but the beauty comes in their message.

The bizarre and fantastic can be a vehicle to open a dialogue to discuss the greater themes in literature. Choice and the overarching idea of selflessness have always been topics that intrigued me. Each of the Grimm Brother’s stories had a lesson of morality. They are meant to teach, but before that can be digested, the reader is led through a maze of the strange.

I loved the fairy tale format. However, when I started writing about people with no hearts, being forced to rip out the ventricles of the ones they loved, I had no clue I was going to borrow archetypes from the Grimm Brothers. The story line, characters, and backstory came together sort of like two people fall into consuming love, all at once, in a single startling breath.

They fit perfectly together. I knew I had stumbled on an idea people would appreciate.

You don’t choose the one you love. I’ve been there. I’ve lived through a time where I would have clawed out my heart to make the pain of being away from him lessen. Love, real – tantalizing – breathtaking love … hurts. It can bring you high and just as fast it can hurtle you screaming towards the ground.

That control made me wonder, how many people would choose their own life over their true love.

Would you rip out your own heart if it meant saving the person who was responsible for its erratic beats in the first place?

At first, I didn’t know if the idea I had would translate well on the page. However, when I started bringing in elements from my main men, the Grimm Brothers — it worked.

The good thing, actually the amazing thing  is that in fairy tales there is an absence of logic and yet there is still the blunt presence of truth. Some stories share similarities and they still are truly different.

The hero/oine should face some kind of challenge. There are often magical elements. Most have princes and princesses. Most have repeating objects in sets of threes.

Notice I used the word most. Modern day fairy tales break standard conventions and I’m in love with these rebel writers.

My favorite college professor got through with telling us what we absolutely had to do to finish writing a story that he was assigning. Then he laughed to himself and said, “Unless that doesn’t work for you.” Essentially the rules that work for some writers won’t work for others.

It’s the same idea with fairy tales. The originals are beautiful and lovely but transforming the style into my own has been an adventure I would gladly take again.

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Grimm and White

How far would you go to save your own life? Would you kill the one you love?

I want you to put your hand over your heart. Press down against the skin, meld your fingers into the flesh, and listen to the beats. Can you hear how that one organ is keeping you alive? One pump. Two pumps. Three.

Alice White Cabot would consider you lucky. She can press down in that same exact spot and she would feel … nothing. She is under the curse of the Heartless, and on her nineteenth birthday she will have to rip out the heart of the one she loves or she herself will die.

Kallin Grimm is a regular nineteen-year-old guy from the Chicago suburbs. He’s completely normal, except for the strength he can’t explain. Not to mention, Kallin is in love with a girl that he has never met. The only means of communication between the two of them is through an enchanted journal. Whatever is written in one can be seen in the other. For the past year Allie and Kallin have shared their secrets and their souls, which is why Allie knows they can never be together. It is the only way to keep his heart safe.

Enter the dark world of curses, secrets, and a history as old as time. The novel opens on Allie’s eighteenth birthday. With one year left, she, along with her best friend Miles set off from California to find out more about the curse, her past, and to stay as far away from Kallin Grimm as she can. Their first lead is in Chicago. Maybe this curse is stronger than she thinks. Tick-Tick-Tick.

Who would you choose?

Available on Amazon

Emily Hansen
Emily Hansen

More about Emily

Emily Hansen is a writer currently living in Baltimore City. She grew up in Illinois and will always call Chicago home. She graduated from Columbia College Chicago with a BA in Fiction. She is a 9th grade English teacher. She became a writer because she thinks that people should not have to look far to find magic in their lives. Her obsessions range from depressing poetry to one or ten cups of coffee a day. Grimm and White is her first novel.

Emily QnA

More about the Giveaway

Emily is giving away three print copies of Grimm & White (U.S. only). Click here for the Rafflecopter link (it’s at the bottom of the BBT page). Click here for my complete giveaway rules.

“In fairy tales there is an absence of logic and yet there is still the blunt presence of truth” — An interesting point. I wonder, though, if our feeling that fairy tales hold “truths” is simply because our culture is so steeped in them it’s impossible to separate their significance from their existence. Not sure that makes sense… I guess I’m saying fairy tales are so much a part of our cultural DNA that it’s hard to be objective about them. Many are probably illogical lies, but we’ve grown up on them, so they feel truthful. In any case, I love fairy tales, as well as discussing them and their effect on us. Great post, Emily. Thanks for guest blogging and best wishes with Grimm & White!

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.

2 thoughts on “Emily Hansen: The Bizarre and Fantastic – How Fairy Tales Transformed my Novel

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