On Monday, The Golden Apple, my second fantasy novel, was released.
As with Mistress of the Wind, my first fantasy, The Golden Apple is based on a fairy tale, but unlike Mistress of the Wind, it is very loosely based on the original. I actively tried to keep Mistress of the Wind as faithful as possible to the original fairy tale, East of the Sun, West of the Moon, whereas with The Golden Apple, my inspiration for the story came from just one or two lines from the original, The Princess on the Glass Hill, and the concept of the story itself, a princess perched on a glass hill with a golden apple in her lap. The Golden Apple is the first part of a two-part series, called The Dark Forest, and the second and final book, The Silver Pear, will be out this coming fall.
I’ve always been drawn to fairy tales for their explorations of inner strength.
One of the recurring themes of fairy tales is the dark forest, and why I used The Dark Forest as the over-all title of the series. The symbolism of entering the dark forest, of confronting our darkest fears and the darkness of our own sub-conscious, and grappling with issues of identity and rebirth, really resonated with me. I loved weaving that fairy tale aspect into The Golden Apple, even though it wasn’t part of The Princess on the Glass Hill.
A criticism of fairy tales is the passivity of heroines. Cinderella has to be found by the prince and saved, Snow White kissed awake while she lies passive, Sleeping Beauty, the same. But there are fairy tales were the heroine is more active. East of the Sun, West of the Moon, which I based my fantasy novel Mistress of the Wind on, is one of them, and in that, the heroine is clearly the hero and the protagonist of the story. But there was also a flash of that in The Princess on the Glass Hill, and why I became interested in the story in the first place.
At first glance, the story is like Cinderella, Snow White etc, in that the princess can do nothing but sit on top of her glass mountain and wait while the knights try to ride up the smooth, steep glass to pluck the golden apple from her lap. She will have no choice but to marry whoever manages to do it. But there was a line in the story which caught my eye. It said the princess threw down the apple to the hero as he tried to reach the top. In other words, she had sized them all up, decided who she’d prefer to have, and helped the hero to win. She seems to have no power, but in fact, she has all of it, in that moment. She has the golden apple. She can throw it to whoever she wants, or, in fact, hold on to it. No-one can reach it without her assistance.
This interesting twist on power, who wields it and how it is used, as well as the consequences of taking action and grabbing power, inspired me to write The Golden Apple. I ended up diverging wildly from the original tale, but at it’s heart, I hope I reflect that interesting power-switch that the original was hinting at.
Because it was release day for The Golden Apple on Monday, I’m giving away a copy of The Golden Apple, either in Kindle or paperback format, winner’s choice.
You can enter below, and you get extra entries if you comment and let me know if you have ever given a fairy-tale based fantasy novel a try.
About The Golden Apple:
Kayla’s world has been turned upside-down . . .
Her father has made her the prize in a deadly, impossible tournament, and Kayla has retaliated in the only way she knows how; by choosing her champion beforehand. But taking control of the outcome changes the game completely, and when the real reason behind the strange test becomes apparent, Kayla realizes not just her life, but her entire kingdom is at stake.
Rane’s honor is torn in two…
In order to save his brother, Rane will do whatever he has to–including deceive and betray a princess. He knew nothing about this tournament would be easy, but when it turns into a deeper, far more sinister game, Rane is forced to see it through to the end, or leave his brother at the mercy of their enemy.
Now their fates are entwined, and they must venture into the deep, dark forest together . . .
Kayla and Rane are bound to one another by an enchantment and Kayla’s actions. But the sorcerer forcing them to do his will may have miscalculated, because no-one comes out of the Great Forest unchanged. No-one.