{Interview} Jessica Grey, author of AWAKE and VIEWS FROM THE TOWER

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Did you see today's review of AWAKE?

On Wednesday, author Jessica Grey's guest post,
Fairy Tale 2.0 - Modernizing Your Favorite Tales,
appeared on The Book Rat for FTF!

AWAKE is available as an e-book on nook/Kindle/etc. for only $3.99!
VIEWS FROM THE TOWER, Jessica Grey's collection of 
fairy tale short stories, is available for only 99¢!
What a great deal!

Jessica Grey is an author, fairytale believer, baseball lover, and recovering Star Wars fangirl. A life-long Californian, she now lives in Montana with her husband and two children, where she spends her time writing, perfecting the fine art of preschooler-wrangling, and drinking way too much caffeine.

Visit Jessica on her author websiteJane Austen website, Facebook, and Twitter!
An interview with 
Jessica Grey

As much as we may love any particular tale, each has its own "problematic" aspects (for me, I can't get over the fact that Prince Charming has to find Cinderella, the glorious love of his life, by matching up her feet. I mean, really?). Which problematic aspect of a tale really gets under your skin?

I love Sleeping Beauty and yet I cannot get over that in many of the older versions (definitely in the Charles Perrualt version which is the closest to what we’d consider the standard story today) there’s tons of story after Sleeping Beauty wakes up. A story which includes the prince and princess having two kids and the prince’s mother wanting to eat the young children with brown mustard sauce because she just so happens to be an ogress (for those playing along at home, that makes the prince part ogre). I am so not making this up. 

At least Perrault deviates from an earlier Italian version (Sun, Moon, and Talia) which has the poor princess waking up already the mother of twins. I think we can all agree Sleeping Beauty would never have made it as a Disney movie if that had been left in.

If you could merge any two fairy tales (introduce the characters, combine the worlds, etc), which would they be and what would result?

I struggled with the question because I actually did something like this in one of my short stories. It’s a mash-up of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Sleeping Beauty with a little Jasper Fforde and Raymond Chandler thrown in for good measure. So I thought, “Well, I kinda already did this. Do I come up with more tales that I want to mash-up? Or do I totally cheat and plug my short story collection VIEWS FROM THE TOWER? And, really, does Alice even count as a fairy tale for the purposes of this question?” Then I realized I am probably over-thinking this question...and let’s talk about Alice and the hottie Charming from Sleeping Beauty

Special Agent Alice Harrison works Fairy Tale Investigations for the Office of Narrative Order and she should know better than anyone not to follow a suspicious (and suspiciously good-looking) man in a white rabbit suit down an alley. Especially not when she’s pretty sure that he’s Erick Phillips, current Charming of the 100 years tale and the man she’s out to arrest for world jumping. 

The super fun thing (for me at least!) is that I’m making this an episodic tale, so the second installment will be appearing in my second short story collection. Alice might get to do a little world jumping of her own.

Someone gives you a key ring and says you can open any door you want, save one. Then they leave you alone with all those keys and doors. What do you do?

This feels very Garden of Eden. I’d like to say I follow instructions well and always do what I’m told...but that would be a big, fat lie. I would probably open every single door, starting with the one they told me not to open.

You have a fairy godmother who is granting you one perfect day: what does that entail?

Disneyland with my kids with no lines and no potty break emergencies right before we get on rides (I have preschoolers, this is so a thing) ...plus the ability to eat unlimited amounts of awesome theme park food without feeling ill.

Your favorite obscure (or less well-known) fairy tale?

All-kinds-of-fur (Allerleirauh) by the Brothers Grimm. The French counterpart is Donkey Skin by Perrault. It starts off with a King wanting to marry his daughter and follows her escape and disguise (in animal skins/fur) and also has a bit of a Cinderella aspect to it with balls and pretty dresses. I’ve always felt the heroine was a bit more kick butt than Cinderella because there’s no fairy godmother involved. There’s a great picture book called PRINCESS FURBALL that tells this story (sans incest storyline) that I love. I’ve been working on my own version too. 

And, I’m not sure if it counts because it’s not a traditional tale, but The Light Princess by George MacDonald is sheer genius. I adore it. You should all read it. The end.

(I second The Light Princess!  I'm not sure what it's classified as either, but I enjoy it nonetheless!)

Most overrated fairy tale?

Hmm....so hard to answer. I want to say Snow White because that girl is getting so much play right now. Yet the Mary Margaret/Snow White character on Once Upon a Time proves that even the most worn out story can get new life and become fascinating again. So, I guess I’m gonna cop out and say that none of the tales are overrated, but many are tired out and done to death. However, good writing can change it all!

What made you fall in love with fairy tales--and decide to write one?

I grew up on fairy tales and on C.S. Lewis and George MacDonald stories. I always joke with my mom that we are the kind of family that thinks Narnia is real and she always answers “that’s because it is.” 

I can’t remember ever deciding, “Hey, I’ll write about fairy tales,” but because my childhood was so steeped in them they naturally influence my ideas. I usually get the ideas for stories from a single image or scene—they seem to fall out of nowhere and into my brain while I’m staring blankly at the wall instead of doing important things like the dishes. With writing, as with anything, you tend to reap what you sow, and I’ve sown a lot of fairy stories into my imagination.
This or That?

Tower or Dungeon?

Tower. I need sunshine.

Evil Queen or Wicked Witch?

Like, which would I want to be? Or which do I want to tangle with? Evil Queen if this is me we are talking about (I’m power hungry), otherwise this is a toss up.

Prince or pauper?

Um, depends on the general hotness of each? Let’s be shallow and say Prince.

Hans Christian Andersen or the Brothers Grimm?

Grimm. Every time. I love Hans Christian Andersen (and I love Danny Kaye AS Hans Christian Andersen), but he depresses me.
Would You Rather...
Face 3 Billy Goats Gruff or 3 Bears from Goldilocks

I always pick bears over goats as a general life rule.

Drink an Alice-ish "Drink Me" potion or eat part of a witch's gingerbread house?

The “Drink Me” potion. I am not a huge fan of gingerbread. If the witch had a dark chocolate house with sea salt decorations there would be a different answer.

Be able to spin straw into gold or have precious gems drop from your lips when you speak?

Spinning. I talk a lot and have a sensitive stomach. I would not do well with priceless gems spilling out of my mouth every time I opened my mouth, but boy would I be rich.

Be cursed with blindness (Rapunzel) or knife-like pain when you walk (Little Mermaid)?

Knife-like pain. I have kids. I want to see them. Plus, I would have an excuse to never exercise again!

Thank you so much, Jessica!
I'm looking forward to reading VIEWS FROM THE TOWER soon,
as well as the second volume of forthcoming short stories and ATONE!
O F F I C I A L   I N F O:

Title:  AWAKE
Author: Jessica Grey
Release Date: Feb. 4, 2012
Publisher: Tall House Books
Received: For Review

Alexandra Martin didn’t believe in fairytales… 

Alex has always been more interested in rocks and science than stories about princesses and magic. Now she’s far too busy with her summer internship at the Gem and Mineral Museum to think about children’s stories. Between avoiding her former best friend and high school baseball star, Luke Reed, and trying to hide her unrequited crush on her mentor at the museum, the real world is occupying all of her time. 

…Until she walked into one. It turns out fairytales aren’t all fun and games. A curse has turned her neat and orderly world upside down, and to break it, she bands together with a fellow intern and a recently awakened princess who’s been asleep for 900 years. Can this trio of unlikely heroines put an end to an ominous enchantment, discover true love, and keep an ancient and evil magic from being unleashed on modern-day Los Angeles?

Author: Jessica Grey
Release Date: Aug. 1, 2012
Publisher: Tall House Books
Received: For Review

Eleven enchanting fairy tale short stories: 

After spending her whole life isolated in a tower, Rapunzel’s salvation is finally at hand, but she may have merely traded one form of captivity for another… 

Special Agent Alice Harrison of the Office of Narrative Order should know better than anyone not to follow a suspicious (and suspiciously good-looking) man in a white rabbit suit down a hole… 

Miss Lucinda Beacham is bored. The endless balls and dances she must endure as a debutante hold no enjoyment for her—that is until she finds a frog sitting on the edge of a fountain, a frog who just so happens to know her name… 

Being a fairy godmother isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, especially when you’re a junior in high school and your next assignment is your former crush… 

VIEWS FROM THE TOWER is a collection of short stories that offers new perspectives on some of your favorite fairy tales, including a trio of different takes on Rapunzel. Each story offers a unique foray into the exciting world of fantasy, as well as a golden opportunity to see some well-known legends in a whole new light.


Jessica has kindly offered up two prizes for Fairy Tale Fortnight readers! 
One winner (US/CAN) will win a paperback copy of Awake: a Fairytale
and a second winner (INTERNATIONAL) will win an e-book prize pack of Awake and Views from the Tower

This giveaway ends April 10, 2013 at 12am EST. Fill out the Rafflecopter below to enter. 
Good luck!! 

*As with all of the giveaways for Fairy Tale Fortnight, make sure you've already filled out our Giveaway Registration Form - this only needs to be done once! Please do not leave any sensitive info or email addresses in the comments!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Great interview! I love Jessica's stories. :D

  2. I had never heard of George Macdonald before; I'm going to give him a go! Thanks for the recommendation :-)

  3. Ceri, I hope you enjoy MacDonald!


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