Most sleeping curses mean a few weeks of dreamy sleep and waking up to a happily ever after, but Elena is a princess with a different kind of curse. When she turns 18, Elena will be plunged into a century-long nap if they can’t break the curse.
How freaking cool, is that? And we’re not gonna lie – a 100 year nap doesn’t sound all that bad… We got to chat to Jenniffer about the book a little.
Tell us all about ‘Dreamless’ – but you’re only allowed to use emojis.
Dreamless is a retelling of Sleeping Beauty, but you have so many other fairy tale inspired titles. What made you fall in love with fairy tales in the first place? Fairy tales are like the ultimate toys for writers – they’re so, SO much fun to play with. They’re stories stripped down to their simplest form, but still somehow full of adventure, romance and all the magic a fantasy geek could desire. I grew up reading all the different fairy tales (and all the versions of all the fairy tales) that I could get my hands on. Now I write them, because there are a few versions I never found that I really, really wanted to read.
Are you more Disney retelling or the real, gritty details of fairy tales? Actually, I tend to lean more toward the Terry Pratchett version of fairy tales. Though Pratchett rarely tackled fairy tales specifically, his Discworld books were all about burrowing beneath the surface of myths and legends and finding all the gritty, sometimes ridiculous details underneath. His vampires went to their version of AA, his dragons were small, highly combustible balls of flying gas, and his fairy godmothers were a little terrifying.
My world is what would happen if people actually had to live in a world where fairy tale-like situations happened every day. You can buy anti-curse insurance (and specify which family member has to take care of you if you get transformed into something), go to school to become an Evil Sorceress ™, and the odds are high that at least one of your neighbors won’t be human. You should probably still worry about fairy godmothers, though.
What can we be most excited about when it comes to Dreamless – the heroine, the romance, the enchanted mirror?! Well, I want you to be excited about ALL of it, but if I have to only pick one element it would definitely be my heroine, Elena. In the classic variations of ‘Sleeping Beauty’, the princess doesn’t get a lot of agency – she’s cursed when she’s a baby, the fairies set up the loophole, and the prince has to wake her up out of her cursed sleep. With Elena, I wanted to put the power to save herself back in her hands. She’s given up at the beginning of the story, accepted her fate as the trapped princess, but throughout the course of the story she discovers her will to fight. She becomes, irrefutably, the hero of her own story.
What’s next for you – Rumpelstilkin, The Little Mermaid? Give us a hint. ‘The Pied Piper of Hammelin’ has always fascinated me – having so many children disappear sounds like the beginning of a story to me, rather than an ending. So, because tragedies are fine but they’re not the sort of thing I enjoy writing, so in the current novel I’m writing I hand the problem off to ANOTHER poor rat piper who was just trying to do her job. There’s been a lot of mayhem thus far, but even after several chapters and she and her poor Rat Reaper partner still haven’t managed to solve the problem completely.
Do you love other fairy tale retellings? If so, could you recommend one? Absolutely! My go-to fairy tale recommendation has to be ‘The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents’ by Pratchett. He goes an entirely different direction with “Pied Piper” than I am, turning the whole calling-the-rats concept into a con that the magical talking rats are in on themselves (along with a cat who’s the real brains of the operation). Of course, things are never that simple when it comes to Pratchett, and the resulting story is both surprisingly funny and deeply moving.
Bet you’re dying to read ‘Dreamless’ now, right? Yeah, thought so. Good job we’ve got 5 copies up for grabs!
How to enter: follow @maximumpopbooks and RT the following tweet. Easy!
This competition is now closed! Congrats to the winners @annebelcon, @dina786, @cas_okey_dokey, @din0_might, @SmileySydney1D.
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