Liz DeJesus loves taking familiar fairy tale themes and giving them new twists--if not turning them upside-down. She is a novelist, freelance author, writing coach, and poet. If you enjoy the retelling of fairy tales, be sure to check out her work--including Jackets, First Frost, Glass Frost, Shattered Frost, and several others. Her story, "Sisters: A Fairy Tale," was published in the Smart Rhino anthology, Someone Wicked.
Liz agreed to talk with us about her work--and, as always, we enjoyed the conversation!
Let's start with an easy question for you. Why fairy tales?
It goes all the way back to my childhood. I was bullied as a kid throughout most of my childhood and fairy tales were a safe haven for me. Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Andersen, and Charles Perrault. Their books and stories all conveyed the message that I could have hope and that things could get better for me. I needed that message so badly at that time in my life. So I read them over and over again just to keep myself afloat. It took a while but things did eventually change for me.
So that’s the main reason I always gravitate towards fairy tales. In life and in my writing. Besides, it’s so much fun to play with these stories!
I love reimagining these fairy tales. I especially adore writing fairy tale retellings. I like to think about what it would’ve been like to have been in their shoes. Cinderella, Snow White, Red Riding Hood … just to name a few.
I remember the short story I wrote for the Someone Wicked Anthology, "Sisters: A Fairy Tale." It’s a fairy tale retelling of the story "Toads and Diamonds." That was a lot of fun to write. I got to see two sides of a story I always wanted to know more about.
With The Frost Series (First Frost, Glass Frost, and Shattered Frost), I use fairy tales as the foundation of the story. What if Snow White and all these fairy tale princesses had children? What happened to those children? Bianca Frost is the main character of the series and she’s a witch as well as a descendant of Snow White.
In my collection of short stories, Mugshots, I use fairy tales once more except that this is a modern retelling of Snow White, Red Riding Hood, Alice in Wonderland, and Goldilocks and they all commit crimes that land them in jail. Sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll! Believe me, I had WAY too much fun writing that particular book.
If you could start over, what would you do differently?
I would be more patient and read my publishing contracts more carefully. I lost a couple of novels for jumping into things too quickly without a second thought. Thankfully I did get those books back but that’s what I would do differently. It would’ve saved me a world of heartache. But then again … if I hadn’t gone through that I never would’ve learned that lesson so everything happens for a reason.
Who is your favorite author? Why?
My all-time favorite? Hmmm. I’d have to say Terry Moore. Technically he’s not an author. He’s the creator, writer, and artist behind Strangers in Paradise, Echo, and Rachel Rising. I love the way he tells stories. He has a way of drawing you into his world and makes you care about every single character in his comic books. Whether it’s the main characters or the villain of the story. Everything he puts on the page is important and/or has a reason to be there.
And he has helped me become a more thoughtful writer. I do my best to try and tell a story that will stay with my reader no matter what genre I write in.
What's up next for you?
Mugshots was released in August, 2016, and I was super-excited about that. I’m also working on Ruby Frost (book #4 in The Frost Series), Pros and Cons of Being a Teenage Fairy (fantasy middle grade book), The Gargoyle’s Heart (paranormal romance), and a couple of children’s books that I can’t discuss just yet.
Kay Corbett (my BFF and partner in crime) and I are always ready to hit the road and go to comic book conventions and fairy festivals in DE and MD, so I’m excited about that. It’s a great way to meet fans and make friends.
Thanks Liz! Looking forward to reading your future work.
For more information about Liz, visit her website at www.lizdejesus.com.