A Modern Fairytale
Release Date: March 22, 2016
In this modern retelling of “Little Red Riding Hood,” the wolf and the woodsman are cousins, and Ginger is the little girl who claims both of their hearts.
When three children grow up together in the rolling hills of Kentucky horse country,
One becomes a predator
One becomes a protector
And one becomes prey.
Ginger McHuid has been in love with the “Dub Twins” – Cain Wolfram and Josiah Woodman – for as long as she can remember. And for as long as the cousins can remember, they’ve each loved Ginger in their own all-consuming ways.
One will win her
One will be cast away
While one follows her heart.
This is a standalone novel inspired by Little Red Riding Hood. New Adult Contemporary Romance: Due to profanity and very strong sexual content, this book is not intended for readers under the age of 18.
(The next standalone “A Modern Fairytale” novel, ‘Don’t Speak,’ inspired by ‘The Little Mermaid,’ will be released in June 2017.)
Ginger’s Heart is part of the “A Modern Fairytale” collection, which will include four standalone, unrelated novels:
“The Vixen and the Vet” (Beauty & the Beast) – available now
“Never Let You Go” (Hansel & Gretel) – available now
“Ginger’s Heart” (Little Red Riding Hood) – available March 22, 2016
“Don’t Speak” (The Little Mermaid) – available June 16, 2017
Amazon Kindle: http://amzn.to/1pqMNRN
B&N Nook: http://bit.ly/1Qr95vw
Q & A with author Katy Regnery
What draws you to write modern fairytales?
Honestly, I stumbled into it. I was invited to include a story in an anthology called “Hometown Heroes” and the hero of the story had to be a fireman, policeman or military. I only had a few weeks to write the book, and since I didn’t have a character that fit the bill, I had to write a brand new story. It occurred to me that if I could use the structure of another story, it would go faster for me than coming up with a plot from scratch. And I figured, since it was in an anthology, it was okay to take a shortcut, right?
Twenty-three days later The Vixen and the Vet (inspired by “Beauty and the Beast”) was finished. What I never really expected was how much readers would love it. They loved the story of a injured veteran finding love, of course, but they were delighted by the concept of a familiar story being reimagined, and clamored for another fairytale. It took me a little while to settle on “Hansel and Gretel” but once I had the story fixed in my mind, Never Let You Go was born. And, in short order, Ginger’s Heart, a reimagined “Little Red Riding Hood.”
I love the structure when I base modern romance on fairytales, but I think my readers love the universality of it. These are familiar stories, so they have a base line expectation going into the book, but there’s also that wonderful suspension of belief in fairytales that works really well for love stories too!
You call this not a typical “love triangle”- can you talk about this?
When I first said I was writing a “love triangle” my readers fell into two major categories – one half was worried it would be a “threesome” and the other half was turned off by the idea of a woman waffling back and forth without a clear hero.
First things first – GINGER’S HEART IS NOT A THREESOME BOOK!!! I wouldn’t even know HOW to write a threesome. I’m serious. There are no threesomes, no bedhopping, no simultaneous screwing. I promise. Nothing like that.
What makes Ginger’s Heart an atypical triangle is that it’s not a physical triangle, it’s an emotional triangle. There’s a short paragraph from the book that I love:
And someone loses.
That about sums it up. And emotionally, it might wreck you a little. But there’s nothing tawdry about Ginger’s Heart. It’s a true American love story.
This story spans a large timeframe with the characters ages- from young adult, NA to Contemporary. How did you tackle the changes in them as they grew older?
In my first draft of Ginger’s Heart, my editor came back to me and said, ‘The voices are very wobbly in the beginning. You have a 12-year-old and 15-year-old speaking like their 20-something selves. You can’t do that. Tap into their teenage voices if you want their reflections to be genuine.” She was SO RIGHT! But I had such a good time going back and imagining how a 12-year-old would think and say something. I cut out certain “grown up” words and replaced them with “tween” varietals so that the voices were more authentic. The amazing thing about that exercise was that it made me closer to my characters, because now I truly KNEW them as kids and adults. It added a richer layer to my understanding of them, and will give my readers better insight into their motivations and choices.
How do you decide on your titles?
Sore subject! LOL! No, I’m just kidding. Well, kind of.
When I released The Vixen and the Vet, I got SO MUCH mean feedback about the title. Reviews would start by saying “Ignore the stupid title, this is a great book…” or “I almost couldn’t get past the title, but I’m glad I did…” The reality is that I chose the words “vixen” and “vet” to be the same sort of alliteration as “beauty” and “beast.” In fact, I almost named that book Savannah and the Soldier, but decided against it for Vixen.
Because the feedback was so negative about Vixen’s title, I went sort of harmless-ambiguous with Never Let You Go. It’s a line from the book, but it’s also a crowd-pleasing title because it’s so innocuous.
Ginger’s Heart was originally titled Virginia and the Wolf, but I worried that it might be taken as an homage to Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? to which it bears no resemblance. So I shortened “Virginia” to “Ginger” and we were off to the races!
How did you settle on your cover?
I work with the AMAZING Marianne Nowicki, who has done ALL of my covers, and at this point we are so symbiotic, it’s really easy for me to tell her what I’m looking for and for her to produce it. Basically, I always start with the art…since I don’t use models or do photo shoots, I go to Shutterstock (and occasionally Getty or Corbis) for my images. I know how my characters look in my mind and I try to find art that will not only represent the characters, but lay a foundation for the tone. The Ginger’s Heart cover was almost finalized when I asked Marianne for something to lighten it up a touch. She added the tiny heart on the Ginger loop and I knew it was perfect.
Can you give readers a sneak peek to your next modern fairytale choice?
Sure! In fact, I’m happy to chat about the next two!
The next modern fairytale, coming in 2017, is called Don’t Speak and it’s inspired by “The Little Mermaid.” I don’t want to give too much away, but the story takes place in North Carolina (all of my modern fairytales take place in the American South) and features a fisherman’s daughter from the Core Sound, who speaks with a very strong Carolina brogue (a regional dialect that sounds very much like a Scots-Irish accent.) The hero, a very wealthy society son from Raleigh, spent his summers in a town on the Outer Banks near the Core Sound, and now – many years later – is running for governor of North Carolina. Because I wanted the names to pay homage to “The Little Mermaid,” the heroine’s name is Laire, which is an anagram of Ariel, and the hero’s name is Kieran, which includes an anagram of Erik.
In 2018, I will be releasing Swan Song, inspired by “The Ugly Duckling.” I haven’t started plotting this book yet, but there is a species of swan called the Whistling Swan that breeds along the Arctic Ocean coast but spends the winter at the Atlantic coast of the USA, mainly from Maryland to South Carolina, but some move as far south as Florida. So, I’ve been thinking about using St. Augustine, FL. I love the name, it sits right on a harbor, plus it’s sort of singular in its architecture and has a super-rich history.
How does your writing differ from your Blueberry Lane books to your modern Fairytales?
OMG. SO SO SO DIFFERENT.
My Blueberry Lane books follow a very specific structure: 55-80K words, hero and heroine, dual-POV, first-world problems. The BLS is meant to be enjoyed poolside or on an airplane. That’s not to say that there’s no depth in the stories – there is. But I don’t tackle “issues” as much in those books. They take me about 4-6 weeks to write and the world of Blueberry Lane is well-established.
My modern fairytales? Well, first of all, every book is written as a fundraiser. I give away 25-50% of my first two-month profits. For The Vixen and the Vet, I donated to UCLA Operation Mend. For Never Let You Go, I donated to Operation Underground Railroad. The money collected from Ginger’s Heart will go to the Ridgefield Fire Department in my home town of Ridgefield, CT.
Second of all, push myself HARD to break new ground in the subject matter of my modern fairytales. In The Vixen and the Vet, I tackled the way that returning servicemen are treated when they have been profoundly disfigured in war. Never Let You Go dealt with tough topics like foster care, child abuse, kidnapping and domestic abuse. Ginger’s Heart includes a character slowly deteriorating from Parkinson’s.
Third of all, I allow myself to experiment with different structures. In The Vixen and the Vet, the entire book was outlined in the first chapter as Scarlett reads from a bridal magazine, and each chapter heading corresponded with the points made in the article. In Never Let You Go, I experimented with flashbacks. In Ginger’s Heart, I write the story at four major points in time with three-year gaps between sections, in addition to writing my first tri-POV – three points of view with overlapping scenes.
What’s funny is that the modern fairytales are sort of exhausting, so by the time I finish one, I’m ready to write a few formulaic Blueberry Lane books…but after a few of those I’m ready for the challenge of a fairytale once again. It’s the perfect set-up for me!
How would you “cast” your book if made into a movie?
Early on, I shared an excerpt from Ginger’s Heart with my street team, Katy’s Ladies, and one of members, Tanya Baikie, actually chose Ian Somerhalder for Cain and Jensen Ackles as Woodman. And it clicked for me immediately. And I have always pictured Ginger as actress Natalie Hall. As for Gran? Someone like Jacklyn Smith or Cheryl Ladd. Since the younger three actors are best known for their TV roles, it would make sense for Gran too, right?
How important was it to have all of your readers to experience Ginger’s “choice” and the book fully without any spoilers?
Honestly? Maniacal levels of importance. Like, all out ridiculous levels of need for readers to have a fresh experience with this book! It keeps me up at night! I mean, it’s a solid story, but the suspense element for 75% of the book is who she will choose!
This is why I have isolated early readers to 1. Less than ten fellow-author beta readers (between 2/20-3/18) 2. Bloggers and early-readers (3/18-3/22) and then 3. Release (3/22). I usually give out books 10-14 days in advance to bloggers and early readers, but I just couldn’t risk it this time!
What other authors/books on modern or fractured fairytales are you a fan of?
My friend, Lauren Stewart, did an AMAZING job with her book Darker Water, inspired by “The Frog Prince.” And Mia Sheridan’s Grayson’s Vow definitely had a fairytale-esque feel to it. And L.H. Cosway did a fun “Romeo and Juliet” thing with Hearts of Blue, which I loved. But I don’t know of a ton of authors rebooting fairytales. Or maybe I just haven’t happened across them yet!
Were there any major struggles with writing GINGER?
Well, my writing schedule was a little nuts. I slated writing to start on Monday, November 30 and end on Friday, February 12 and I am very, very strict with deadlines. But, I didn’t totally take into consideration that I had scheduled the book over Christmas and New Year’s. So, I lost about 10 days of writing time smack in the middle, but luckily Ginger’s Heart is separated into four parts, so I made sure that parts 1-3 were finished by Christmas Eve and jumped back into part 4 after New Year’s. I was lucky! It worked out!
Also, I wanted to share excerpts with my readers, but it’s been hard keeping Ginger’s choice on the down-low. Like, I want to scream it from the rooftops, “Enough already! Ginger chooses—” but I know I can’t. I hope that readers who have already chosen loyalty to one cousin or the other aren’t too disappointed by the outcome!
Was this book different in any way from your previous fairytales (writing approach, how long it took, etc)
Hmm. Well, The Vixen and the Vet took me 23 days. Never Let You Go took about five months. All told, Ginger’s Heart took me nine weeks. So there’s clearly no rhyme or reason to writing time! I would say that I felt more pressure writing Ginger’s Heart because readers really love this series and I don’t want to let anyone down, so there was that element in play as I was writing. And I’d never written a love triangle, so that was a little challenging for me, because I only write monogamous love stories and this one is no exception, regardless of the structure. I guess the best answer is: they’re all unique, they’re all different and I promise to keep them that way as long as my readers keep reading!