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Author Archive: "Carolyn Turgeon"

Sympathy for the Stepmother

Snow White has always been my favorite fairy tale. It's so strange: that glass coffin in the forest, the stepmother asking for the princess's heart, the talking mirror voicing her deepest fears and desires. I saw the classic Disney film when I was very young, and I was as terrified by the sinister forest and poison-apple-bearing villainess as I was entranced by the beribboned princess and dashing prince. It's the perfect mix of that beauty and darkness at the heart of the best fairy tales. The Grimm and other older versions are even better (darker): the heart swapped out for lungs and liver, Snow White dying and coming back to life multiple times, in some versions the prince so in love with the seeming dead girl that he can barely leave her side to eat or sleep.

By the time I came to Snow White, though, I'd already reworked Cinderella (in my novel Godmother) and The Little Mermaid (in my novel Mermaid). My editor wanted another retelling and I was torn: I wanted to write something new (not a fairy tale!), but I felt excited by the ...


Faerieworlds

I am sitting here, writing this, on a late Saturday afternoon in early August, in a dry, grassy field in Eugene, Oregon, in my pink- and lime-green-satin-draped, vine- and fairylight-filled festival tent, behind a decorated table and the 40 copies I have left of my novel Godmother: The Secret Cinderella Story. Next to me, three girls from Boston are selling tutus and silver leaf-shaped jewelry and leather bootstraps; on the other side, a Spanish-speaking couple is selling feather hair ornaments and scarves. In the field before me, just in front of the main stage where a fiddle-wielding band is playing, a couple hundred people decked out in wings, horns, antlers, hooves, glitter, body paint, flowers, and leaves are dancing and milling about. And as the sun starts to set, and I watch an old antlered man with fake fur pants dancing wildly and obliviously next to a winged toddler shimmying in a hula hoop, I sort of start to think that maybe the veil has lifted and maybe I actually have entered "the realm."

But that just might ...


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