Friday, May 13, 2011

Guest Post and Giveaway: Maureen McGowan

Please join me in welcoming Maureen McGowan today Debbie's Book Bag today! Maureen will be talking about how she started writing the Twisted Tales series and her experiences getting published. A giveaway is being sponsored for one set of the first two books in the series, Cinderella Ninja Warrior and Sleeping Beauty Vampire Slayer, see details at the end of the post!

Hi Deb, and thank you so much for inviting me to guest post on your blog. You said you were curious about either: how I became interested in doing twists on classic fairy tales, or my first experiences with publishing. For me, the two happen to be very closely tied together so I’ll talk about both.

Truth is, the initial idea for this Twisted Tales series wasn’t mine. The overall concept of doing updated fairy tales with a choose-your-own-adventure element was brought to me by an editor I knew. Even though I had never written for a younger audience, based on reading some of my (largely unpublished) work, she thought I might be the perfect writer to develop the idea and gave me a shot at writing the series proposal.

Believe it or not, before writing these stories, I was neither a big fan of fairy tales nor choose-your-own-adventure novels, but the more I thought about updating classic fairy tales to add more action and danger, and to make the heroines more pro-active in solving their own problems, the more excited I became.

Worried that I wouldn’t have creative freedom, I somewhat jokingly asked the editor, “So, can I write Cinderella with ninjas?” She answered, “Yes. Sure. Whatever you want!” And although I’d really meant it as an outrageous question to test my boundaries, I immediately had an image of ninjas dropping out of trees to attack her, (Cinderella, not the editor). From there, I continued to think outside the box and only used the elements from the traditional stories that fit in with my action-packed vision.

As many of your readers might know, this is not a typical road to publication story. Typically, writers come up with their own idea, write the book in its entirely, then find an agent willing to show it to editors—all before they even get to the step I pretty much started from with these books. (Although I had written other books and did have an agent.) How this all worked out for me is just another example of being ready and open to take opportunities that land in your path, but it’s also an example of how years of hard work, writing multiple books to hone your craft, never giving up, and networking can help you get ahead.

But my publishing story wasn’t all roses. After starting out relatively smoothly—being offered a contract to write two books based on a short proposal for Cinderella and a title for Sleeping Beauty (it is a great title, though, if I do say so myself)—the original publisher closed their doors six months before the books were due to be released! I got the bad news when I was literally days away from finishing my final edits. I was devastated. Luckily, Silver Dolphin Books stepped in almost immediately, picked up the publication rights and proved the adage that often things happen for the best. Silver Dolphin created great new covers for the books and released them in the spring of 2011 instead of the fall of 2010 as originally planned. A huge silver lining (pun intended) to the dark cloud that struck.

So, just like my heroines, my road was rife with epic battles, yet I fought hard and persevered.
No handsome prince required.

(Although, if anyone knows one, send him my way.)


This giveaway is for the first two books in the Twisted Tales series, Cinderella Ninja Warrior and Sleeping Beauty Vampire Slayer. Winners will receive their books in paperback format.

~ You must be a Google Friend Connect Follower to participate.
~ US and Canadian Addresses Only.
~ The Deadline to enter the giveaway is Midnight EST May 27th.

1. Please leave a comment on this post that includes your email address.
2. In your comment please answer the following question: If you were writing a twisted tale of your own, which fairy-tale would you choose and what would be your title???


Beverly said...

I would love to win! I am an old follower. My tale would be based on Beauty and the Beast and it would be called "Beauty IS the Beast"

justpeachy36 said...

Ohhhh... I like that one!

Maureen McGowan said...

Thanks so much for doing the interview, Debbie!

And now blogger is cooperating again. YAY!

justpeachy36 said...

I didn't get it posted when I wanted to Maureen, because of bloggers issues. I apologize, but I have it up now... and I loved the books!

cyn209 said...

i am SOOOO adding your books to my ToBeReadList!!!!!
my title would be SnowWhite & the SevenDeadlySins.........
or LittleRedRidingThroughTheHood!!!!!


fredamans said...

My favorite fairytale is Snow White. I think I would use a bit of a mash-up though with Sleeping Beauty, and call it Sleeping Snow.
It would be about what happened if Snow White ate the apple, fell into a deep slumber, and battled demons while in that sleep.
Sounds cool, right?!


Bookworm Lisa said...

I am having a hard time coming up with a catchy title for a fairy tale. The best one I can think of is "The REVENGE of the Dancing Princesses". From the 12 Dancing Princesses.

ke7yca at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

I am a follower and email subscriber. I would choose Cinderella and call it the Evil Cinderella and her stepsisters. Please enter me in contest. I would love to read this book.

Aik said...

I'd write something about Snow White. Maybe I'd call it Snow White, the Fallen.

aikychien at yahoo dot com

justpeachy36 said...

All of these are great titles! I'm really enjoying seeing what you come up with...

Ammy Belle said...

Hm ... I think I would twist up Bluebeard and it would be called "The Ninth Wife". That story has always fascinated me - both for its cruelty and its seemingly disinterest in women. Anyways, thank you for the contest - this sries is great! :)

apereiraorama @ gmail . com

CrystalGB said...

Great interview. I think it would be fun to have a twisted Little Mermaid tale.
I am a GFC follower.