I’m not who they think I am. A docile girl who meekly obeys her stepmother and stepsisters. Some kind of sick angel who cheerfully bears their mistreatment. That’s what I WANT them to think. Because then they won’t suspect what I’m really up to.
The ball, the prince – it’s all part of my plan to come out on top. Stepmother and her demented daughters will pay for every floor I have scoured, every sneer I have borne. They don’t know about the white magic, how I use it to enhance myself. They can’t see that my heart is black as midnight, rotten as a poisoned apple.
They’re about to find out.
Targeted Age Group:: young adult
Heat/Violence Level: Heat Level 3 – PG-13
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I always thought Cinderella's character was boring. Too sweet and perfect without a flaw to make her interesting. And it seemed unlikely that she would not be scarred by the constant mistreatment of her stepfamily. After noticing a trend in dark fairy tales, I thought it would be fun to show the wounded side of Cinderella, the one who doesn't choose the higher road but strikes back at her abusers.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
Most of the characters were based on the traditional version of Cinderella, with a few surprises to make them interesting. The character of the fairy godmother, however, came directly from my childhood. I grew up in a poor neighborhood in Philadelphia and it was common to see sour-faced old women smoking on their front porches while barking at their grandchildren in harsh, cracked voices. This helped me to see Cinderella's godmother as the not-so-cuddly, tough grandma type. She's my favorite character!
Godnutter crosses the yard and dumps the ashes of her pipe into the pumpkin patch. “All right, brat, why am I here? What do you want?”
“I want to go to the ball.”
“Oh gracious, what goes on in fairyland? The prince’s ball!”
Godnutter digs in the pocket of her dress and pulls out a little pouch that holds the stuff she smokes. “Hmm, sounds dreary. Why don’t you stay home and play cards? We could have a nice game of cribbage.”
“Do fairies play cards?”
“All the time, and cheat like thieves.”
“Um, no thanks. I really want to go to the ball.”
“Well, the prince is looking for a new bride and I thought it would be… nice… if he chose me. It could happen! And it would get me away from Stepmother and Loony and Moody.”
“Lunilla and Melodie.”
“That’s what you call them? Ha!” Godnutter cackles, a loud, smoky rattle. She snaps her fingers over the pipe and it lights again. “So have you met this prince?” she mumbles, mouth around the pipe.
“No, not yet.”
“But you want to marry him. Ooh, real smart.”
I sigh heavily. Can’t I have one nice relative? Just one? Is that too much to ask? “I want to be queen, that’s all. I don’t care about the prince.”
Godnutter simply puffs and stares.
“So will you help me?”
“Hmm….” Godnutter blows out a cloud of smoke and watches it sift into the air. “No.”
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