By: F.M. Boughan
Publication Date: September 5th, 2017
CINDERELLA,NECROMANCER is CHIME meets ANNA, DRESSED IN BLOOD and was inspired by a real medieval grimoire of necromancy from 15th-century Germany.
Ellison lost her mother at an early age. But since then, her father has found love again. He’s happy and doesn’t quite notice that Ellison does not get along with his new wife or her mean daughters.
When Ellison discovers a necromantic tome while traveling the secret passages of her father’s mansion, she wonders if it could be the key to her freedom.
Until then, she must master her dark new power, even as her stepmother makes her a servant in her own home. And when her younger brother falls incurably ill, Ellison will do anything to ease his pain, including falling prey to her stepmother and stepsisters’ every whim and fancy.
Stumbling into a chance meeting of Prince William during a secret visit to her mother’s grave feels like a trick of fate when her stepmother refuses to allow Ellison to attend a palace festival.
But what if Ellison could see the kind and handsome prince once more? What if she could attend the festival? What if she could have everything she ever wanted and deserved by conjuring spirits to take revenge on her cruel stepmother?
As Ellison’s power grows, she loses control over the evil spirits meant to do her bidding. And as they begin to exert their own power over Ellison, she will have to decide whether it is she or her stepmother who is the true monster.
Taking inspiration from the original Cinderella tale and making it your own, what parallels with the original story did you make certain to include? Knowing Grimm fairy tales, they aren’t pleasant, what made you stick to the darker version over a more pleasant “Disney” take? Were there any darker aspects from the original tale that helped inspire your retelling?
When I sat down to write Cinderella, Necromancer, I definitely wanted to include as much inspiration from the original French and German versions of the fairy tale as possible—because as familiar as popular culture is with the Disney animated classic (which I love!), the animated film is technically an adaptation of the original tale. I didn’t want to adapt an adaptation! I wanted to start from the early works that inspired the adaptations we know and love.
Plus, starting from the Grimm and Perrault versions gave me the “dark” starting point, as mentioned in the question, which provided a solid springboard to take it even further down that path. The story really came together after I read several historical texts on magic in the Middle Ages, so I honestly never even considered writing a light and fluffy version!
While my retelling takes the same general structure of the fairy tale—as one might expect in a retelling!—I also tried to pay tribute through the smaller nuances of the story. While you won’t find (warning: minor spoilers!) a pumpkin being turned into a carriage or mice being turned into footmen, I made sure to include a pumpkin and a mouse as touchstones to the original story. I also included lesser known elements like the hazel tree next to the grave of Cinderella’s mother, and using the name Charlotte for one of the stepsisters (which is found only in the French version of the fairy tale). There are a number of additional elements, but… I don’t want to spoil them all for you! Hopefully when you notice them, they make you smile.
As for whether there were any darker aspects from the original tale that helped inspire my retelling, well… I think the characters of the stepmother and stepsisters speak for themselves. I did pull several lines of the stepsisters’ dialogue from the original tales, and I found that their nasty, snarky comments helped to better shape their personalities in my version.
But despite the darkness and the ruthless villains, I also tried to infuse the story with hope—it’s not entirely dark and dreary, because after all… this is a fairy tale!
F.M. Boughan is a bibliophile, a writer, and an unabashed parrot enthusiast. She can often be found writing in local coffee shops, namely because it’s hard to concentrate with a cat lying on the keyboard and a small, colorful parrot screaming into her ear. Her work is somewhat dark, somewhat violent, somewhat hopeful, and always contains a hint of magic.
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