The Last List Blog Hop with Sarah McGuire


Slide1When Kat at Cuddlebuggery posted about the Last List Blog Hop, I knew I would join in to spread the word! The publishing company, Egmont, recently went out of business, putting its authors in an awful position {fortunately, their books are still hitting shelves this spring}. This amazing blog hop was then born, to celebrate and promote the novels on Egmont’s “Last List” {you can read more about the blog hop HERE and the last list HERE}.

ValiantToday, I’m honored to have Sarah McGuire, author of the middle grade fantasy, Valiant, guest posting for this blog hop. Her fairy tale retelling has been praised by many, and I know I’ll be the hunting down a copy at my local library once the novel comes out in April. Sarah was oh-so sweet to write a response on my topic, Fairy Tales and Fairy Tale Retellings. Before I share her post, here is a quick synopsis about her debut:

Reggen still sings about the champion, the brave tailor. This is the story that is true. Saville despises the velvets and silks that her father prizes far more than he’s ever loved her. Yet when he’s struck ill she’ll do anything to survive – even dressing as a boy and begging a commission to sew for the king.

But piecing together a fine coat is far simpler than unknotting court gossip about an army of giants, led by a man who cannot be defeated, marching toward Reggen to seize the throne. Saville knows giants are just stories, and no man is immortal. Then she meets them, two scouts as tall as trees. After she tricks them into leaving, tales of the daring tailor’s triumph quickly spin into impossible feats of giant-slaying. And stories won’t deter the Duke and his larger-than-life army.

Now only a courageous and clever tailor girl can see beyond the rumors to save the kingdom again.

Doesn’t that sound adorable?! Now, I’ll let Sarah take over :)

When I think of fairy tales, I think of Warrenton library and the very specific set of shelves that held the fairy tale books. Whenever my family went there, I’d plop myself down in the aisle and pore through the books – all of them! – picture books as well as the collections, like Andrew Lang’s colored Fairy Tale books.

When I was younger, my favorite stories were all about the pictures. For instance, how could anyone NOT love a tale that was illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman? And to be honest, illustrations still affect me. I didn’t see this book till I was in my 20’s, but I can’t mention “East o’ the Sun, West o’ the Moon” without thinking of P.J. Lynch’s illustrations.

I could list so many fairy tales that I liked then, but I think the fairy tales that stood out to me most were “Beauty and the Beast,” “Goose Girl,” “East o’ the Sun, West o’ the Moon,” “Snow White and Rose Red,” and “Six Swans” – or Anderson’s version of that tale, the “Twelve Swans.”

I think, looking back, I loved them because the heroines fought to save others – like in “East o’ the Sun, West o’ the Moon” or “Six Swans.” It’s what draws me to fairy tales now – a nobility of character {it sounds so old-fashioned, but it’s true!} and a wonderful, awe-inspiring world.

And retellings that I enjoy now?

The first retelling I read as an adult was Shannon Hale’s Goose Girl. I was amazed. It took everything I loved about fairy tales and wrapped it in gorgeous, lyrical language. I actually had a this-is-who-I-want-to-be-when-I-grow-up-moment. I think it encouraged me though, because Hale chose to treat the world as if it was real, and dive in. Other retellings? I love the Lunar Chronicles. They are so ridiculously clever and fun. I recently read straight through R.C. Lewis’ wonderful Stitching Snow. {Plus, she’s another math teacher who writes fairy tales. How cool is that?!}

Then there are stories that aren’t retellings, per se, but ohmyworld! Sarah Cross’ Beau Rivage novels, Kill Me Softly and Tear You Apart put the Grimm back in fairy tales.  I also love Terry Pratchett’s Witches Abroad. It’s funny and insightful, and though he’s mainly riffing off Cinderella, there are bits of so many fairy tales there!

And then {do you see what you’ve started?} I can’t wait to get my hands on The Turnip Princess and Other Newly Discovered Fairy Tales, a collection of tales that was gathered by Franz Xanver von Schönwerth. While the Grimm brothers edited the tales they collected to form a cohesive {and slightly more palatable} whole, Schönwerth wanted to preserve the tales as much as possible. These will be fairy tales in a more pristine state. I think there’s even a version of “The Brave Little Tailor!”

I suppose this means that whether you’re a girl wandering through a library or a math teacher wrestling with lesson plans, there will always be new tales to discover, new worlds to explore.

Thank you so, so much to Sarah! I know I have some fairy tales and retellings to add to my TBR list. If you want to learn more about Sarah, her book, or just want to follow her on Twitter, I have your links!

  • Add Valiant on Goodreads HERE.
  • Pre-order Valiant on Amazon HERE.
  • Pre-order Valiant on Barnes and Noble HERE.
  • Visit Sarah’s website and blog HERE.
  • And, finally, follow Sarah on Twitter HERE.

Please also take a moment to visit the other blogs participating in the Last List Blog Hop today HERE. These lovely authors – and their books – deserve our support.

Have a wonderful Monday!