This week we have debut urban fantasy novelist, Seanan McGuire, talking fairy tales and horror and such (and even giving away an ARC in a fun two part prize)! Seanan's Rosemary and Rue hits the shelves in September. Take it away Seanan!
Growing up perky and blonde in Northern California has its advantages, most of them having to do with getting out of doing your homework because no one actually believes you have three brain cells to knock together. It also has its disadvantages, most notably the fact that no one believes you have three brain cells to knock together. This makes it harder to get access to the important things in life: books that aren't about Dick and Jane, horror movies, and fairy tales by anyone but Disney. If your goals involve these treasures, you'll have to learn guile, cunning, and the ability to look like you didn’t realize what part of the library you had warned into.
Growing up perky, blonde, and geeky in Northern California means you either dye your hair or decide to become Marilyn Munster. I took the second option. It seemed like a hell of a lot more fun.
It also taught me a lot about judging books by contents, not covers, and when I was introduced to the idea that Disney didn't invent Snow White, I seized on it with both hands. Fairy tales that weren't movies yet? Awesome! Fairy tales that really, when you looked at them, looked a hell of a lot like my horror movies? Double-awesome! (This did not, mind you, endear me to the parents of my classmates, who were not pleased when I told their little darlings what "really" happened to Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella's Stepsisters, and the Little Mermaid. Maybe I was a little too happy to share the gruesome details...)
Fantasy and horror are really natural companions. They're the tasty chocolate and peanut butter of genre fiction, mixing in easy, awesome ways. The rise of the "paranormal" sub-genre isn't surprising; what surprises me is that it took so long. I was trying to explain to people why Snow White should have just picked up an axe and fixed her Wicked Queen problem herself when I was nine. The idea of her forging an alliance with the Wolfman really wasn't very far behind.
I outgrew freaking out my classmates with excessively bloody retellings of their favorite stories, largely because I ran out of classmates, but never outgrew my love of fairy tales or gore, and never outgrew the idea that Marilyn Munster is essentially the ideal woman. (You can bet she Scotch-guards those dresses of hers like nobody's business.) The more I’ve learned about fairy stories, the more convinced I’ve become that they really are the foundation of modern horror--those unicorns everybody thinks are so pretty aren't going to return your virgins in a breathing format, and True Thomas's mom? Yeah, she was essentially a type of revenant. Folklore is awesome! If you don’t like sleep very much.
This is the aesthetic with which I attacked my own series of urban fantasy stories, which classify best as a sort of "fairy tale noir." I say "Oh, it’s about the fae," and people assume fluffy and sweet, just like they assume of all the little blonde girls.
This is better than telling my classmates what really woke Sleeping Beauty. All hail the folk tale.
And now for the contest. One lucky commenter will become a guest League of Reluctant Adults reviewer! That's right. Everyone's a critic and this is your chance to snag an advance reader's copy of Seanan McGuire's Rosemary and Rue. Then, as if by magic, your review of the book will be posted here on the League!
Get to commentin'!