Yay!!!!! *Kermit flails around the house*
After watching her fairy tale go up in flames, Belle is finally starting over. With a baby on the way, a business to run, and a new love interest she just can't shake, things are finally looking up. That is, until she learns her independence might revive broken curses the world over. Could "happily ever after" really mean staying with her unfaithful husband? Or will Belle and her steadfast friends find another way?Meanwhile, Dawn still longs for the life she had three centuries earlier--before her sleeping curse ended in two kids, an unfamiliar era, and a husband she barely knows. So when the childhood sweetheart she believed to be dead resurfaces, she must suddenly choose between the past she once wanted and the present she never knew she did.As both women struggle between love and obligation--between what's right for the world and what's right for the heart--they fail to see a great danger brewing in the capital. One that could change everything forever.With the wit of authors like Jennifer Weiner, the vision of ABC's Once Upon a Time and the imagination of Gregory Maguire's Wicked, Damsels in Distress picks up where the original tales left off--and twists them every "witch" way.
I'm so excited to read this book, you have no idea. With a unique twist on the fairy tale princesses we all know and love, the first book in the series, Desperately Ever After, is packed with good laughs, some heart wrenches, and all the things we adore about women's fiction. And Damsels in Distress is sure to be just as fun and fabulous, so don't miss it!
Laura Kenyon is an awesome and talented author whose books you're going to want on your "keep shelf," and I'm thrilled to have her here with us today for an inside look at the series, her inspiration, and what's coming next. Aaaaand we have two eBooks of Desperately Ever After, book one in the series, to give away! Woop woop!
So without further adieu, let's get Q&Aing!
RBtL: Welcome, Laura! Now, Damsels in Distress is the second book in your Desperately Ever After series to be out in the world. Congratulations! How does it feel?
Well, I'm exhausted from publishing my first novel, surviving my first pregnancy, and writing Damsels in Distress ALL at the same time! But finally sharing these characters with readers (and having so many people embrace them!) is an absolutely amazing feeling. They've been part of my life for so long—as real to me as flesh and blood friends—but I couldn't introduce them to anyone until now.
RBtL: What inspired you to write this series?
The idea actually came to me decades ago (the result of a Disney-obsessed kid growing up) and was continually fueled by life and by shows like Desperate Housewives and Sex and the City. I loved the happily-ever-after Disney films, but couldn’t stand how quickly the characters always fell madly in love. The implication was that because they were physically attracted to each other, they were perfectly matched in every other way … and their lives were going to be filled with butterflies and rainbows and infinite happiness forever after.
Real life just doesn’t work that way. So I began to imagine what happened after true love's kiss. Would Cinderella be happy ten years down the road, when she had four kids, could no longer fit into her ball gown, and was responsible for running a kingdom? How long would it take “Beast” to go right back to his old, selfish ways after Beauty broke his curse? And for Book Two, how would Sleeping Beauty fare being uprooted from the life she knew, tossed centuries into the future, and ushered into marriage with a stranger who went about kissing comatose women in the woods?
RBtL: Your writing is so much fun, so relatable and full of hope and humor. Who are your muses? And I mean that not only in terms of your personal life, but also, your literary idols, of course.
What a fantastic compliment, Danielle. Thank you! As far as muses go, I wouldn't be able to write about such a fun and supportive group of friends if I didn't have some in real life. Same goes for my own handsome prince (husband) and noble steed (a silver Labrador retriever on whom I based Belle's own canine companion).
In the literary world, I adore Jane Austen, Louisa May Alcott, and the Bronte sisters for their timeless stories and great characters. But when it comes to writing style, I prefer the melodic and relatable prose of authors like Allie Larkin and Jennifer Weiner. Jennifer Egan's A Visit from the Goon Squad and Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat, Pray, Love are also among my favorites.
RBtL: Most of your characters are based off of famous fairy-tale heroines. Why did you pick the ones you did to include? Is there a specific character that you relate to more than the others?
The most important thing Desperately Ever After readers should know is that the characters aren't based on the Disney films. I wanted to mold them from the original tales because: 1) they're so open to interpretation, 2) I could take what I wanted from the various versions and fill in the rest with my own ideas, and 3) I'm pretty sure it would be copyright infringement if I named Sleeping Beauty Aurora or gave Belle a talking teacup with a chip in it!
Cinderella became one of the five main characters when I saw my prom dress in my closet one day and wondered whether it still fit. Plus, she's sort of the Queen of fairy tales. Just look at how many cultural phrases we gleaned from her story! Rapunzel and Penelopea (The Princess and the Pea) appealed to me because Disney hadn't yet reinvented them, so the canvas was practically blank. I had so much fun imagining how Rapunzel's sheltered youth (imprisonment in the tower) would affect her adult life (especially in terms of men), and how Penelopea could spend the night on a death-defying tower of mattresses without wanting to pummel the prospective mother-in-law who put her there. Belle actually began as a minor character, believe it or not, but somehow took over the entire series. And the past-vs-present angle of Sleeping Beauty's tale was just too good to pass up. So many of us have trouble letting go of the past as is. Imagine having it torn away and flung 300 years into the future!
It's hard to say which of these women I relate to the most. There are bits and pieces of me in all of them. But if I had to choose, I'd go with Cinderella. She puts far too much weight on her shoulders, stresses easily, and is a full-blown perfectionist. But despite all that, deep down she knows how lucky she is to be loved and to love in return.
RBtL: Now, it has to be asked...what is your favorite Disney movie?
The Little Mermaid. No question. Yes, I also loved Belle's affection for books in Beauty and the Beast, but I've got red hair and spent all of my childhood summers at the beach. I seriously used to clap my ankles together and swim around pretending I was a mermaid—singing "Part of Your World" in my head and watching my hair whoosh through the water. If I had the authority, I might have legally changed my name to Ariel.
RBtL: What’s in store next for the D.E.A. series? Any secret morsels you can share with us to whet our appetites? ;)
Let's just say I'm a big fan of love triangles, unexpected twists, and "bad boys" who could just as easily be heroes in disguise. But even though Book Three (Skipping Midnight, 2015) is the last novel in the main series, there are so many characters that could use some extra time in the spotlight! And while I'm eager to try my hand at something new, I doubt I can ever fully leave Marestam behind. That's why I'm also planning several novellas—starting with Grethel, the woman who kept Rapunzel in that tower for all those years.
More about Desperately Ever After:
Imagine what might happen if our most beloved fairy tale princesses were the best of friends and had the dreams, dilemmas, and libidos of the modern woman. How would their stories unfold after the wedding bells stopped ringing? Set in a fictional realm based on New York City, Desperately Ever After sprinkles women’s fiction with elements of fantasy, and encourages readers to rethink everything they know about happy endings.
Years after turning her husband from beast back to man and becoming his queen, Belle finds out she’s finally going to have a child. But before she can announce the wondrous news, she catches him cheating and watches her “happily ever after” go up in flames. Turning to her friends for the strength to land with grace, she realizes she’s not the only one at a crossroads:
Cinderella, a mother of four drowning in royal duties, is facing her 30th birthday and questioning everything she’s done (or hasn’t) with her life.
Rapunzel, a sex-crazed socialite and one-woman powerhouse, is on a self-destructive quest to make up for 20 years locked away in a tower.
Penelopea, an outsider with a mother-in-law from hell, is harboring a secret that could ruin everything at any moment.
One part Sex and the City, two parts Desperate Housewives, and three parts Brothers Grimm, Desperately Ever After picks up where the original tales left off—and reimagines them a la Gregory Maguire’s Wicked. With the wit of authors like Jennifer Weiner and the vision of ABC’s Once Upon a Time, the women of Desperately Ever After rescue each other from life’s trials with laughter, wine, and a scandalous new take on happily ever after.For more about Laura Kenyon, visit here online:
Amazon (US): http://bit.ly/1sP8JVV