Visit Hannah Kollef's brand-new website, which has a page dedicated to all the stops on the PATH OF NEEDLES Blog Tour. Check out the schedule!
Mythological Mondays is a feature I created to spotlight books brimming with--you guessed it--mythology! I adore this sub-genre and can't wait to share my love with all of my fellow bookworms! This feature isn't just focused on novel reviews; it may also include interviews, looks at original mythological tales, etc. Please feel free to do this with me! If you guys ever do a mythological feature and want to join this and snag my lovely mermaid, I would LOVE to see the feature. Leave a comment for us all to see! It doesn’t have to be Greek mythology, or even mythology per say. It can be mermaids, unicorns, or heck, even fairy tales.
Hannah Kollef is the author of the PATH OF NEEDLES, the first book in a fairy tale-based trilogy. In addition to her novels, Hannah has been published in various magazines including In General magazine and Hometown Quarterly. She also works as a freelance copywriter, editor, and social media consultant for several small businesses. She lives close to New York City.
Hi! My name is Hannah Kollef, and I recently published PATH OF NEEDLES. You may remember reading the lovely Bonnie’s review last week! If not, you should definitely read it. And if this sounds too much like promoting, well…what can I say? Guilty as charged!
Bonnie asked me over today to write about the fairy tales that influenced PATH OF NEEDLES. And as it’s Mythological Monday here on A Backwards Story, I think the topic is pretty relevant. The question, specifically, was, “how was PATH OF NEEDLES influenced by the original fairy tales? Why the original fairy tales?”
Being a liberal arts graduate, I of course had to over think this question. Right now fairy tale and myth adaptations are very popular in fiction. Just troll through the Mythological Mondays section on A Backwards Story and you’ll see plenty of examples. This being said, I’m going to take the opportunity to hijack this post and answer a slightly different question: Why do people adapt fairy tales and myths into their own stories?
I think there are a couple of reasons. The biggest is that these stories are both engrossing and incomplete. Little Red Riding Hood traveled the path to her grandmother’s house, but what did she do afterwards? When the wolf was dead and she returned to her mother, did she avoid the woods? Was she left with a lingering, life-long fear of the dark? Did run screaming from damp, warm corners, so reminiscent of the inside of the wolf?
Fairy tales, if they’re really good, leave you wanting more. Here is a snippet of these characters’ lives, but if you love them you long to have that snippet fleshed out. And once you begin to wonder what else happened to these characters, they gain a life of their own. Little Red Riding Hood ceases to be public property and becomes yours; now she chain smokes and works in the city because she no longer feels safe in the woods. She is no longer Little Red Riding Hood but Lil’ Red, and by the time you finish writing her you know her better than you know yourself.
But it is more than dressing these characters in clothes of your own making. After all, if that’s your only motivation, you might as well come up with brand new characters and leave the classics alone. People adapt fairy tales (and myths, and folktales, etc) because they pull on something deeper than they may be aware of.
Some argue that all fairy tales are based off Jungian archetypes, or “ancient or archaic images that derive from the collective unconscious.” It is those archetypes, buried in our subconscious, that drive our need for heroes and villains and victims. And that is why people adapt what is already known. It responds to a deeper place, an older, unconscious reflection of the inherited truths that live in all of us.
So when you adapt a fairy tale, you are both filling out a story left untold and drawing from a deeper place in the subconscious.
That’s why I think people adapt fairy tales, anyways. As for me?
I can tell you that none of it ran through my mind when I decided to integrate fairy tales into PATH OF NEEDLES. I think the thought process was closer to, “Hey! Fairy tales are cool. My book should be cool. Let’s do this.” It helped that I had a life long obsession with the stories, born from the German tales my Au Pairs used to read me. It also helped that I was in the market for villains. The Frog Prince became the wicked Monsieur Crapaud; the mysterious and often deadly Kelpie took the form of a strange boy in Kat’s school she couldn’t quite remember.
I guess the simple answer is this: Drawing on the original tales gave my book a sinister, darker edge that the kinder Disney versions would have lacked.
I’d like to leave you with this: If you’ve never read the brothers Grimm before, go pick up a copy of their fairy tale collection. You’ll be surprised at what you remember, and what is completely new. Afterwards, you just might find yourself identifying with those characters…even the villains.
Title: PATH OF NEEDLES Author: Hannah Kollef
Release Date: Out Oct. 12, 2012
Received: For Review
When 17-year-old Kat Finnegan is warned in a Brooklyn alleyway that her father is going to disappear, she shrugs and walks away. The next morning her father is gone--leaving behind a booby-trapped apartment and a mystery that has slept for a thousand years.
To get him back, Kat and her twin brother Roger will have to unravel the secrets behind the Rose Queen--the fairy queen who ripped apart reality and stitched it back together, transforming the Fey into the memories known as fairy tales. They will also have to come to grips with their emerging powers and discover why they are known to the magical world as "The Truth" and "The Lie."
Hunted by demons and treacherous Fey, Kat and Roger follow the Queen's trail from Manhattan to Newark. But neither the Queen nor her curse is what they expected, and more is at stake than their father's life--and theirs.
PATH OF NEEDLES is the explosive first book in the Paths series: urban fantasies littered with deadly fairy tales, tangled romance, and heartbreaking betrayals.