It’s no secret by now, I’m sure, that I love me a good fairytale – but I like them to be dark and creepy. In my book this is how they should be. So with this in mind, I’m pretty excited to be presently reading the latest such effort from Mercedes M. Yardley – Pretty Little Dead Girls: A Novel of Murder and Whimsy. Murder and whimsy, people. It’s tea and cake for my brain.
So! While I’m reading that, have a bit of musing from the lady herself on her own favourite things about fairytales, and one in particular that’s inspired her…
Little Dead Riding Hood
By Mercedes M. Yardley
I was raised on fairytales. I knew the common ones like Sleepy Beauty, and the more elusive tales like The Girl With Silver Hands. They could be sweet or frightening. I loved how the basic stories stayed the same, but the details around them changed. Cinderella was a poor overworked girl, but a fairy godmother/kindly witch/ elemental spirit gave her a pair of glass/fur/diamond slippers. She went to a ball and life changed forever.
Rapunzel was kidnapped/sold/ to a witch who either loved or abused her. Rapunzel fell in love with a prince/poor farm boy/ clever third son. Then he was blinded/she became pregnant/ they lived happily ever after.
The stories have bones. Delicious infrastructures that you can hang the details on. Dress the fairytale any way you’d like. Sanitize it so little children find Rumplestiltskin charming and sweet. Darken it so gentle Snow White now has a thirst for blood. Take these bones and structure them into something magical, into something unique. Clack that skeleton together and make something that is utterly you.
In my mind, the darker the better. I joined three other women in rewriting four Grimm’s fairytales into something current, into something dark and as frightening (or even more so) than the originals. I chose Little Red Riding Hood. It’s a terribly exciting thing. What kind of liberties can we take? How do you tell a story that everybody is so familiar with? How do you make it fun and interesting?
We do so because we infuse the stories with ourselves and the things we bring to the table. I thought, “What can I bring to this story that is distinctly me? What is this story really about?”
And then I had it. The idea. The story is about a mother who sends her daughter to bring a get-well basket to granny. The girl encounters a wolf and is eaten.
Little Red Riding Hood is about a mother who inadvertently sends her daughter to her death. How dark. How nuanced! What a change from the sexy little Red and her hunky wolf, or sweet little Red and the heroic hunter. Same basic fairytale, but exceptionally different stories.
PRETTY LITTLE DEAD GIRLS: A Novel of Murder and Whimsy
By Mercedes M. Yardley | Cover by Galen Dara
“Run, Star Girl.”
Bryony Adams is destined to be murdered, but fortunately Fate has terrible marksmanship. In order to survive, she must run as far and as fast as she can. After arriving in Seattle, Bryony befriends a tortured musician, a market fish-thrower, and a starry-eyed hero who is secretly a serial killer bent on fulfilling Bryony’s dark destiny.
Mercedes M. Yardley’s Pretty Little Dead Girls: A Novel of Murder and Whimsy is a dark, lovely fairy tale with lyrical language and a high body count. It features a cover by HUGO award winner GALEN DARA.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Mercedes M. Yardley has two broken laptops, three kids, a husband and no time to write, although she tries her very best. She likes to write stories. She likes to write poems. She likes to write essays and sometimes they’re funny, sometimes they aren’t. She is the author of Beautiful Sorrows, Apocalyptic Montessa and Nuclear Lulu: A Tale of Atomic Love, and Nameless: The Darkness Comes, which is the first book of what she is calling The Bone Angel Trilogy.
And if you’re keen for a little more, why not enter this here giveaway?