My vampire Snow White is all grown up and hitting ebook vendors all over the Internet. *sniffle* *dramatically wipes eyes*
If you had told me two years ago that I was going to write a version of Snow White with vampires, I would have laughed in your face. I hate vampire lit, with a very small number of exceptions. It drives me crazy that these creatures supposedly inhabit the natural world but violate so many of its laws, everything from walking around without a pulse to keep bodily fluids from gathering permanently in the feet to getting erections without blood pressure. And the whole blood drinking thing confounds me: why do they need it? Do they digest it? Can they digest things? How do they do it? Are their fangs like syringes, or are they like enlarged animal teeth? I want to know not only how they ingest the blood, but what happens once they've swallowed. None of that even addresses the issue of how to write a vampire in our post vampires-sparkle-in-the-sun world without making people gag, or at least compare.
I'm also not a huge fan of Snow White. The original fairy tale is mildly interesting insofar as the stepmother and her bizarrely feminine murder weapons are concerned, and her fate is one of the more unapologetically painful ends to a fairy tale villain. The title character, however, leaves something to be desired. The sanitized animated version I grew up with is one of my least favorite Disney movies, and not just because Snow White sings like an operatic chipmunk. She is simply the kind of character that does not interest me: practically perfect in every way, without a magic carpet bag or a mysterious past. She's the fairest in all the land. She's a princess. The huntsman loves her. The seven dwarfs love her. The prince who happens to be wandering through the forest stumbles across her body in a casket and decides he wants her (love seems far too strong an emotion for a complete stranger, not to mention the necrophilia). Her only flaw is that she is too good, too beautiful, too innocent, too trusting. The villain has potential to be interesting, but she's generally a completely flat character whose entire personality is boiled down to "vain, jealous, evil bitch".
Then, just for fun one Sunday, I decided to write a completely silly spoof of the story for a Sunday Snuggle. Instead, I ended up with a melancholy version about 5000 words too long for a Snuggle and a revived fascination with the huntsman, whom I had killed off in my version but liked quite a bit. I tried again the next day with more success at ridiculousness, but got stuck on the part where Snow White never seems shocked or disturbed to find herself in a coffin at the end of the story. Between the two, I started thinking about the essential elements of the story and suddenly had a revelation: Snow White is a vampire. It seemed so obvious in retrospect. Deathly pale? Check. Impossibly beautiful? Check. Manages to live through attempted murder time and again? Check. Sleeps like the dead in a coffin? Check. Issues with a reflection in a mirror? Check.
There was my story: borrow the basic plot of Snow White, keep the vampire elements, explore the huntsman as a more major character--and obviously he's a vampire too, because who hunts better than a vampire? All I had to do was figure out how I could keep the evil stepmother from being a two-dimensional villain and decide what kind of creature might sneak unnoticed into the royal family yet pose a threat to a vampire. Thus was born For the Sake of the Kingdom.
To celebrate its release, I'm giving away a copy of the ebook. All you have to do is leave a comment with a way to contact you and tell me which fairy tale you think is harboring a secret paranormal. I'll pick a winner sometime on Nov. 1.
Available from Less Than Three Press. Goodreads link here.
Prince Erik's life is grand: his father has taken a new wife, a beautiful and sweet woman who charms all who meet her, the kingdom is prospering, and there is no shortage of men and women to keep his bed warm. If he wishes for the one person he cannot have, well, at least he has accepted it.
But then everything begins to change, a shroud falling slowly over the kingdom, darkness creeping in and leeching his father's life away. Strangest of all, the kingdom's artists all begin to create works along the same strange and frightening theme...