Because I’ve always loved them. Because they can be long or short. There’s a lot of scope for humour (or tragedy) in them. They give a strong message via an entertaining story. They make you think. There isn’t necessarily a happy ending either. I also think fairytales stick in the memory for longer than most story forms because of the reasons I’ve given here. You can pitch fairytales for all ages too (naturally adjusting the writing style and language used accordingly).
Where DO you get your ideas?
From life - my own and others! I look for interesting character traits. I look for odd costumes (and then think of what kind of character could wear them). I never “lift” directly from a person. I combine attributes (looks etc) with general traits (stubborn as hell, doormat etc) to come up with something new. Proverbs can inspire ideas and I find there’s nothing to beat playing the “what if?” game. That has set off all sorts of writing ideas for me.
What would you recommend to new writers?
Read widely, fiction and non-fiction. Subscribe to writing magazines like Writers’ News/Writing Magazine for useful how-to articles, competitions, markets and, my favourite, interviews with published authors as it is always useful to see/hear how they achieved success. Above all don’t give up and accept you’re in for the long haul.
What do you read?
Terry Pratchett, Tom Holt, Jane Austen (there’s a trio for you!). Jasper Fford's Detective Jack Spratt series is a recent and very welcome edition to my bookcase. Also Dickens, Wodehouse, Christie, Colin Dexter, Jean Plaidy, Simon Schama’s History of Britain series, books of letters by Wodehouse, Kenneth Williams and Evelyn Waugh. A right old mix (but then that is the idea!)
What do you hope to achieve with your writing?
Publication is obviously the first goal but I also want my writing to be enjoyed by as many as possible, to promote fairytales and humorous stories. I also want to show older heroines in a good light and to write about different relationships other than the obvious romantic ones. I think the scope for stories for a mother-daughter clash increases simply because sex will not (should not!) rear its ugly head here except where either of the pair are involved with people the other disapproves of and even there mothers and daughters can usually speak to each other fairly freely. I guess I also want to prove to myself I can write and get my work out there.
What would you like to achieve with your writing?
Success! Getting more women reading fantasy and/or science fiction because they liked my work and wanted to “expand out” into the genre, the same way I’ve done. I’d like to generate sympathy for women who are trying to have it all but are not sure they’re succeeding (Eileen) and women who have trying parents (Jennifer).