Welcome to Day 2 of this year's April blog event -- the A to Z Blog Challenge!
Today it is my pleasure to introduce you to Michelle Helliwell, currently serving as president of my local chapter of Romance Writers of America.
Our writers' group Romance Writers of Atlantic Canada just celebrated 15 years together this past September.
This is Michelle signing copies of her debut release last June at her book launch for NOT YOUR AVERAGE BEAUTY, a Beauty and the Beast inspired Regency romance.
What does that mean, exactly?
Well, retelling a myth or a fairy tale in a new way gives readers two things that they desire every time they open a book: a sense of familiarity in a genre sense, meaning that if they open a romance they expect to find a Happily Ever After by the end, or if they open a thriller they expect to find the murder solved by the end. Yet they don't simply want to read the same old, same old. They want something fresh, something new.
Stating in the book's back cover blurb that it's a Beauty and the Beast story sets up certain expectations in the reader:
- a dark, troubled hero (check)
- a heroine who looks past the obvious to see the real situation (check)
- a curse (check)
- an imposing estate with an impressive library (check)
NOT YOUR AVERAGE BEAUTY takes us into a world where we're longing to go, and delivers characters we're certain that we want to meet. Retelling this story in her own voice gives Michelle Helliwell's readers that freshness that we also desire.
Is this the furry, grotesque 'beast' from the classic fairy tale or the animated musical? No, rather a member of the nobility who suspects he has been cursed to act out in a mindless, beastly fashion.
Do the cups and saucers talk? Is there overt magic involved? Is there perhaps an underlying folk belief in curses in a rural British village, instead?
If you're already a big fan of Once Upon a Time as I am, then you already know the allure of settling in for a fairy tale retold.