Sara Daniel Romance Author: #BeyondFairytales Blog Hop @DecadentPub @babsbookbistro Get your grown-up fairy tales now!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

#BeyondFairytales Blog Hop @DecadentPub @babsbookbistro Get your grown-up fairy tales now!

Before Armina Keer can have the baby she dreams of, she needs her estranged husband Ian to sign their divorce papers. Putting everything on the line for a second chance, Ian must convince her their love is worth saving, and Armina must decide if love is worth sacrificing her dreams.

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My favorite school assignment ever was modernizing and retelling a fairy tale, so when Decadent put out the call for a retelling of a Grimm’s Fairy Tale, my hand immediately shot in the air. But then I got my fairy tale assignment, and my excitement wilted. The Three Army Surgeons. Huh? I’d never heard of it.

Not only was it obscure, it was also a little gruesome and definitely not a romance. Basically, there are three guys who cut out their eye, hand and heart. They put them on a tray and give them to an innkeeper, intending to put them back in their bodies the next day. Instead, the parts are taken, so a soldier replaces them with the eye of a cat, the hand of a thief and the heart of a pig. The new parts then make the guys act like a cat, a thief and a pig. The guys discover they’ve been tricked and return to confront the innkeeper who gives them some money to pacify them. (You can read the full original story here.)

My charge was to turn this story into a romance. Um, yeah. I couldn’t even figure out who the hero and heroine would be.

So I started with what I did know. Although I enjoy a good ménage romance, I don’t write them, so having the body-part-plucking guys as heroes was out. Same for paranormal stories, which meant I needed a way for these people to walk around with missing parts that would be believable in a contemporary setting without magic or special powers.

This framework led me to have the men run a prosthetics company, but I was still stumped on the romance angle. The only woman in the original story stood around wringing her hands while others found a solution. Then she ran away and never returned when things went bad. I needed an active heroine, someone with a purpose, someone a reader would want to root for.

After dumping the sexist assumption that a solider automatically had to be a man, I made the soldier’s character my heroine. I named her “Armina,” which means soldier. In case that was too subtle, her uncles (the guys with the missing body parts) affectionately refer to her as “Soldier.”

The other person who played a critical role in the story conflict is the innkeeper. He would fit nicely as the hero. After playing with words for a bit, I dubbed him Ian Keer. Now I needed to make him into hero material, and I needed to create a romance (and conflict) between the innkeeper and the soldier. This wasn’t part of the original fairy tale, so my challenge was to write it within the framework of the fairy tale retelling. Finally, I’d arrived at the fun story retelling I’d expected when I raised my hand for this assignment.

I went from “You have got to be kidding me” at the beginning of the initial brainstorming of The Three Army Surgeons fairy tale to “This is so much fun” as I wrote Once Upon a MarriageOnce Upon a Marriage is now part of the Red Book of Grown-Up Fairytales Boxed Set. In addition to the publisher sponsored giveaway, I will also gift one copy of this boxed set to someone who leaves a comment with their favorite grown-up fairy tale, either from Decadent Publishing or elsewhere.

Red Book of Grown-Up Fairytales on Amazon  ARE


  1. I went through the same "What?" moment with Her Dollmaker's Desire. :-)

  2. Hi Sara, I didn't know the fairy tale either, but it sounds like you turned it into something really great. I can't wait to read the complete story.



  3. Operation Owl by Tara Quan is one fairy tale I am looking forward to reading, besides the 3 soldiers.

  4. My favorite grown-up fairytale would have to be Robin McKinley's Spindle's End.

  5. I'm looking forward to darkest magic by Eva lefoy. Thanks for the chance!