Clare London (clarelondon) wrote,
Clare London

Megan Derr - inspired by fairytales

Today's guest is fellow author Megan Derr, with an enchanting tale of the inspiration she finds in worldwide fairytales.


Once Upon a Time

Fairytales have always been my greatest inspiration. I fangirled fairytales long before I knew anything else. I started with Disney, as many in my part of the world probably do, but it did not take long for me to branch out into other versions.

We had this set of children's encyclopedias when I was growing up, and I adored those books. My two favorite volumes were the one about who changed the world (it was where I learned about Amelia Earhart and Martin Luther King and so many other figures long before anyone mentioned their names in school) and the one that was filled with fairytales. It had not just the more familiar Cinderella and Snow White, but tales from Japan, China, Ireland—more places than I can even recall now, but I devoured every single one of them.

The first time I really appreciated that they could be rewritten was after I saw the 'real' Little Mermaid when I was visiting a friend. She had a different version from the Disney one I knew, and I was devastated to learn that the poor little mermaid died. I decided I definitely liked the way Disney did it better.

After that, I liked to change them in my head. It would be years before it occurred to me that I could actually write those new versions in my head down. Once I did figure that out, well, as any author would know—there was no stopping me then.

I have been plaguing the world with fairytale rewrites ever since.

Picking a favorite is hard. Cinderella will always have a place in my heart, because it was the one I loved best growing up and is still the one that I could happily rewrite a hundred times (currently, I am at two and a half rewrites, long way to go yet but I'll get there :3).

Ivan and the Wolf is very dear to me, and I had a lot of combining it with The Robber Bridegroom as a gift for my sister.
Sometimes the rewrites are long and involved and only draw loosely from the original tales. Sometimes they're short and simple and much closer to the original. Sometimes they're completely original and draw only on tropes, or simply on a fairytale vibe.

Fairytales always appeal, I've found. They're very simple stories, and therefore easy to keep simple or make complex. They can be kept relatively "period" or set in present day, future, or turned entirely fantasy. When I wrote Dance in the Dark, I incorporated fairytales. Burning Bright is also loosely based on Ivan and the Wolf. I plan on writing a Sleeping Beauty style short story for my sci-fi series. I never get bored with them, and they're so flexible that it's impossible to run out of ways to use them.

My youngest sister periodically buys me old fairytale books for Christmas. Every time I open one of them, I see a new idea, a new story. I have more notes than I can possibly keep up with, and hope someday I can bring them all to life. Whenever I am stuck on writing, or burnt out on my longer stuff, it's fun to pick a tale or a trope and spin it.

So while it can sometimes be tricky to answer the inevitable 'where do you get your ideas', I can safely say that my ideas started with the cliché, but always beloved Once Upon a Time.


Megan grew up a military brat and traveled extensively with her family. She is now firmly settled in Ohio, with two roommates and their six cats. She has always been book obsessed, and writing obsessed since she first gave it a whirl in college. Romance and fantasy are her primary obsessions, but she’s game to write just about anything and enjoys a challenge. She is a sucker for stories of enemies becoming lovers. When not writing, Megan is drinking too much coffee, reading still more books, and harassing family and friends, or otherwise doing whatever possible to avoid editing.
Less Than Three Press


From Clare: Like to stretch your writing fingers after Christmas' excesses? Fancy writing something for the visitors this month? It can be anything from a flashfic 3 sentences to a drabble of 100 or so, or even more. Any genre, any theme, any rating, any character(s). Maybe ones you already love, maybe the chance to try on a new character for size.
I'm holding a FREE FICTION DAY on the 28th, so send me new fiction - links to your existing work also welcome! - to clarelondon11 AT and I'll post it all then :).


FOLLOW the Birthday Blog so far:
Jan 09: Lee Rowan shares her healthy resolution.
Jan 10: Rowena Sudbury and the beauty of a blue moon.
Jan 10: Sandra Lindsay and her WIP characters.
Jan 11: Shelley Munro and a tour of bedrooms through the ages.
Jan 11: Dany Sirene and her love of Goth characters.
Jan 12: Sarah Madison and her decision to stop competing.
Jan 13: Alix Bekins shares her love of kink.
Jan 14: Janis Susan May on writing one word at a time.
Jan 14: Charlie Cochrane watches movies with hankies at hand.

Jan 01: luscious_words shares some fabulous icons.
Jan 02: Jordan Castillo Price shares her experience of re-releasing books.
Jan 03: Mara Ismine wonders how important is continuity in fiction?
Jan 04: Jen shares her favourite Rom Com movies.
Jan 05: Karenna Colcroft introduces her unusual werewolf.
Jan 06: Stevie Carroll takes us on a pictorial tour of her favourite locations.
Jan 07: Tinnean quotes Jack Benny on age.
Jan 07: Josie makes a brave leap into a scary sport.
Jan 08: Elin Gregory finds inspiration at every turn.

Check up on:
Prior years fun HERE and
The 2012 Guest schedule HERE.

Want to join in but missed the original call? Email me at clarelondon11 AT and I'll happily find you a space ♥

NOTE: most pictures chosen by me and credited where known, others may be used without direct permission, please contact me with any queries/concerns.
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