Chasing Midnight by Courtney King Walker
Paperback, 256 pages
Published January 12th 2016 by Cedar Fort Publishing & Media
1. The biggest, fanciest house on Sea View Drive.
2. Nike Flyknits.
3. A ski-jump nose.
My own car. A new BMW.
5. Be a total pro at the piano.
James Odera to like me. Be James Odera’s
7. Get Spencer’s lungs fixed.
Mackenzie Love dreams of being a “lucky one”—someone who has the perfect life. Someone who doesn’t have to worry about money, a sick brother, or her high school status. So when a mysterious visitor offers to make all her wishes come true, Mackenzie jumps at the chance. But the royal lifestyle may cost more than Mackenzie is willing to pay in this modern twist on the classic Cinderella story.
The allure of retelling classic fairy tales and how the author decides on which one to rework, the time period settled upon, characterization, setting, and motivation.
What is it about fairytales that draws us in and keeps us captive through the ages? Is it the promise of finding true love (twu wuv)? Or the assurance that good always prevails over evil? Is it the imagery of beautiful princesses flitting about the hillside (whatever flitting is)? Or the idea that fairies and godmothers are somewhere out there waiting to right every wrong?
I wonder if, even more than that, it’s that classic fairytales have in some way or another been a small part of our childhood through books and movies and nighttime storytelling. As a result, we will forever be nostalgic for those brief years that brought most of us the kind of magic that can only be found in innocence.
The allure of retelling classic fairytales rests in this nostalgia, in these images and memories and feelings we still have mulling around in our heads, now as grownups. Fairytales are up for grabs, too—meaning, nobody owns the rights to any of them. Imagine how many Star Wars or Princess Bride retellings there might be if Luke Skywalker or Princess Buttercup were as old as The Brothers Grimm? In some ways, retelling a favorite fairytale is like giving a nod to a movie or book character we idolized our whole lives. It’s like saying—hey, here I am. Let me tell you how much you influenced who I am and what I believe, and then let me put my own signature on top of yours before I pass it down to the next generation.
So then, why does one author start with Cinderella and the other Beauty and the Beast? Why are there so many retellings of one story but not so much of another—say, Sleeping Beauty? I don’t know if there’s one right answer to that other than what resonates with each writer, but I can give you my answer: In Chasing Midnight, I didn’t set out to do a retelling at all. I just had this other story in my head and I wrote it. And then the magic came knocking. I’ve always been one of those super nerds who looks for symbolism and patterns in everything, so as soon as I saw hints of Cinderella in my story, I went back to the original fairytale and worked from there.
One of my favorite things to do is to take something old and make it relevant. That’s what retellings do. They infuse who we are today, right now, with the beauty and wisdom of the past to create new stories with the same problems, the same heartaches and the same loves as before. This time, though, we view them with a different lens, and we tackle them anew.
Courtney King Walker grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area building rocket ships and rafts out of cardboard, hoping to make it the moon or at least Niagara Falls. But a trip across the border to Tijuana was as exciting as it ever got, so she decided writing about adventure was the next best thing. She now lives in the Rocky Mountains with her husband and four children, and still dreams of flying to the moon. She is the author of the young adult novel, ON THE FRINGE, and middle grade novel MOLLY PEPPER AND THE NIGHT TRAIN. Her next YA novel, CHASING MIDNIGHT, will be published January 12, 2016 by Cedar Fort Publishing & Media.
One winner will receive a signed copy of CHASING MIDNIGHT, a heart clock charm necklace (see image), and $25 gift card!