Welcome to the Just-Us League stop on the A Bit of Magic blog tour. Our special guest of honour is Louise Ross!
Louise Ross writes fantasy from the comfort of her own brain, which can sometimes be a very disturbed and/or a very quirky place. Anyone is welcome to cyber stalk Louise on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and her wordpress blog.
Louise, welcome to the blog! We’re excited to hear about your latest story, so let’s get to it.
JL: What inspired your retelling?
Louise: Goldilocks, of course, but why Goldilocks? I think it’s a story that doesn’t get retold much. It’s not the standard princess romance, and I have a fascination with villains. Goldilocks is her own villain. From the start of the fairytale, she is already getting herself into trouble by doing before thinking. I see that mentality a lot in the everyday, so I wanted to work with a character who would be her own worst enemy.
JL: What was the hardest part of writing it?
Louise: The ending. The ending in the anthology is probably the fourth complete redraft. I originally ended the tale with Gigi getting on the bus and asked my readers what they wanted for the end. I think the ending was such a battle because I learned from friends and fellow writers that everyone remembered a different ending to Goldilocks. That tricked my mind and I became insecure. For example, I remember Goldilocks ending with her jumping out a window and breaking her neck. Someone I asked said they remember her being eaten by the bears. A third person told me she ran away out the front door. Because of the varying levels of severity, I felt insecure about my typically darker endings.
JL: What short stories have you written for previous JL anthologies?
Louise: This is the fifth JL anthology and I have a story in all of them. My short stories tend toward the darker side. In From the Stories of Old, Kris Kringle is faced with naughty children and turns into Krampus. I take the side of the villain in Between Heros and Villains and ask what happens a voodoo villain falls in love and plots a masterplan to ensure he loves her back. Whispers in the Shadows is our horror anthology, and my story follows the final day of an elderly woman who would do anything to save her cats. In Of Legend and Lore, I explored the tale of the Three Billy Goats Gruff in a mix of a continuation after they reach the other side of the bridge and as their own fairytale is used against them. It’s a story about stealing a dragon’s treasure. It might be a bit obvious, but my short stories tend toward the darker themes and this retelling of Goldilocks is no different.
JL: What made you choose the fairy tale you did?
Louise: I have been choosing fairy tales that feel like they don’t get a significant amount of attention.
While I like the romance fairy tales, my romance writing is not strong. I have been choosing tales that allow me to explore actions and consequences. I’ve had plots running through my mind for things like Little Red Riding Hood, the boy who learned fear, Godfather Death, and Iron John. We’ll see if any of them get written.
JL: Did you stick closely to the fairy tale you rewrote?
Louise: I stayed closer to the fairy tale this time than I have in the past, but no. The idea of Goldilocks is still there, but I kinda mashed her together with the Three Little Pigs. Instead of trying the porridge, chairs, and beds, she is a thief who tries entering the bear’s houses. I stuck with things being too little, too much, and just right. I gave some mentions of the standard chairs, food and beds, but really this is a story about how actions lead to consequences, which I think captures the moral of the original fairy tale.
JL: Do you prefer a happy ending, and did that affect how you wrote your story?
Louise: I don’t know that I necessarily need happy endings, not in short pieces. My longer stories get happy endings, but in short pieces, I want an interesting tale. Something that shocks me, makes me think, leaves me thinking about the story, etc. These are not full length tales for children’s bedtime but rather quick reads for teens and adults.
JL: Who would be the ideal audience for your story and this anthology?
Louise: This anthology is aimed at teens to young adults. The content is controlled and would generally fall into a clean read category. This is not a fairy tale collection for someone looking for standard fairy tale romance as the majority of the stories do not fall into that category. This is a collection for someone with an adventurous spirit who wants to experience many different worlds. It is for someone who loves the old stories but craves something new.
My story is particularly aimed at teen readers to new adults — the people too old to be taking step-by-step directions on their everyday life but who get a little freedom and find themselves bombarded with choices. It’s for the people finding out how dangerous it can be to go on their own. It’s also for people who simply enjoy an entertaining action-based story.
JL: Why should a reader pick up an anthology over a full novel?
Louise: Anthologies are great snack food. These are the stories that can be read before bed and be done, so that the mind does not wander while falling to sleep. These are the quick reads while enjoying a hot bath or waiting in the car for little brother’s soccer game to finish. These are little portals into bigger stories. Many of the authors in this anthology have novel length works to discover (but not me). This particular anthology contains a mix of genres and feelings. For the reader, who like Goldilocks, wants to try things and make their own decisions, this anthology dabbles along the edge of multiple genres.
JL: How long have you been writing?
Louise: Gah! Isn’t that like asking a woman her age? I won a writing award back in first grade. I had some poems published in high school. I dabbled in writing while going to college. I didn’t get serious about writing until 2009, probably. I think that was my first year of attending Nanowrimo events and searching out other writers to start getting feedback on my stories and abilities.
JL: What projects are you working on now?
Louise: My projects are wide and varied. I’m editing a few of my novels in hopes I will feel ready to query them out.
Nikolay Merat von Krug is a blackmarket alchemist on the run from his brother and being hunted by mercenaries. If he doesn’t learn to trust someone besides himself, the mercenaries might just win.
Rosa plans events, well, she dreams of planning events and started her own party planning business. She wants to plan fairy ceremonies and pixie sweet sixteens, but her first gig is marrying two ogres who are prone to fighting and have barely talked to each other. Bridezillas and controlling mothers reach a whole new level when they are ogres.
Tiny is sucked back into the Ozark backwoods and her cult-like family when her sister-in-law disappears. Her old lover is waiting for her with open arms, and her mother guilt trips her into staying.
Then I have a few novels which are two thirds done and need the final chapters written. Like I said, I struggle with endings, but hopefully I can finish these up:
Tensions are high and sheriff Gerald Reinhart struggles to maintain peace in a post-civil war southern town. With trespassing, escaped prisoners, town paranoia toward strangers, local vigilantes, and a murder, Sheriff Reinhart has to rethink whether might could be right.
Four cyborg brothers fight to establish their independence while dealing with the societal expectations of who they should be. For instance, could a half-toy half-human muscle-bound man be good for anything but physical power and local bar security? Could he find love and be valued for his emotional strength?
Bunny is fast, quick to act, and ready to do anything besides answer the phone at her family’s magical hazmat and haul. When mysterious junk appears around town and Bunny is the only one with the ability to move it, she gets her chance and even if she has to sneak out, escape jail, and set herself up as bait, she’s determined to solve the crime.
Then there are a lot of stories started, but none of them are ready to be debuted.
Thank you so much for stopping by, Louise!
Make sure to check out Goodbye, Gigi in A Bit of Magic, available now on Amazon!
Thanks for following the A Bit of Magic Blog Tour – we hope you enjoy the book.
Elise Edmonds lives in a quiet South Gloucestershire village, where she spends her free time with her husband and two cats, and enjoys attending local fitness classes, watching movies, and playing the piano. Pursuing writing in her spare time as a creative outlet is a way to bring the magic back into her everyday life.