Ever since I knew what fairytales were I’ve been in love with them. Fairies and mermaids and knights and princesses and castles and magical forests filled my fantasy loving heart before I had even grasped the concept of fantasy, long before Tolkien entered my world, or I stepped through that wardrobe into Narnia. Fairytales awoke the whimsy inside of me and introduced me to the enchanting worlds I know and love today. By the time I really got serious about writing, medieval fantasy had taken its grip on me. But here, some 13 years into my writing journey later, it’s finally time to explore my roots. To write of the things that first led me to my love of the otherworldly and whimsical.
Out of the countless fairytales known to the world today, Beauty and the Beast is my favorite. That picture of love transforming the hideous into something beautiful to me portrays Jesus dying on the Cross for us. Were we not ugly with sin before His love washed us clean? As G.K. Chesterton said: “There is the great lesson of 'Beauty and the Beast,' that a thing must be loved before it is lovable.” Just as Beauty’s love transformed the Beast, so did Christ make us anew. It’s a beautiful story, a story I’ve wanted to tell for many, many years.
A few days ago I finished my outline for Burning Thorns, and I’m officially ready to turn what was once a simple Beauty and the Beast novella into a full length novel. This isn’t going to be a fluffy Disney princess story though. I adore those Disney movies, but for me they aren’t real fairytales. If you read the Brothers Grimm or Hans Christian Andersen, you’ll find the original fairytales are far darker than Disney ever portrays, often very creepy, perhaps a little too creepy. But maybe that’s the point. I believe fairytales are meant to prepare us for life. Life is a dark and dangerous place, is it not? Yet there is always hope to be had. And that’s what fairytales are about. They reveal people from all sorts of different backgrounds, struggling, learning right from wrong, experiencing love and loss. Fairytales are dark stories all weaved into life lessons. Eerily beautiful. And that’s what I want Burning Thorns to be.
Mine is a tale about darkness vs. light, about loss and pain and betrayal. About things beautiful and things terrible. Of sacrifice. Because love is about sacrifice, just as Jesus shed His blood for us, and life is a dark but beautiful place. After all, the stars shine brightest during the night.
These are the things fairytales have taught me, and these are the things I want to write about as well.
“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales.
If you want them to be more intelligent,
read them more fairy tales.”