This post is sponsored by Bloomsbury UK.
Asking the question ‘who is the fairy godmother, truly?’, Wish of the Wicked, the newest YA fantasy novel by bestselling author Danielle Paige, gives readers a fresh perspective on the classic Cinderella fairytale.
Filled with revenge, magic, romance and more, Wish of the Wicked is the dark fairy godmother origin story you didn’t know you needed (but most certainly do) and we’re thrilled to have had the chance to ask Danielle a few questions all about it.
Hi Danielle! I’m so happy to have you on the site today to answer a few questions about your superb new YA novel, Wish of the Wicked. Before we get started, how would you best sum up the book in a single sentence for readers who may just be learning about it?
Wish of the Wicked is a fairy godmother origin story wherein the fairygodmother you think you know and love actually came from the same sect of witches as all the villains in the fairy tale world. (And ultimately has to decide whether to join them in revenge or choose another path.)
Can you tell us a little about your inspirations behind the book?
I always wondered where the fairy godmother came from, she’s the catalyst for arguably the most famous fairy tale Cinderella. I wanted to know why she showed up for Cinderella in her moment of need and what was her story.
Also I had been watching Game of Thrones, and as much as I admire the world and character building, it got me thinking about how many fantasy worlds are patriarchies and I really wanted to explore a matriarchy. And fairy tales and the Wizard of Oz were really some of the only matriarchies I’d read growing up. So I set Wish of the Wicked in a matriachial society.
You’re no stranger to retellings, having previously put your own brilliant spin on classic stories such as Snow Queen and The Wizard of Oz. What is it you find so enticing about taking beloved stories such as these and making them your own?
I fell in love with fairy tales as a kid like so many children do, and I just never let them go. I think the themes are evergreen (love, good vs. evil, etc.) But they always left me wanting to know more about the characters that drove the stories, the ones with magic, just as much or even more than the princesses. I wanted to know abut the Evil Queen and Malificent and the Wicked Stepmother and yes, the Fairy Godmother.
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Your take on fairy godmothers is so much fun but also excitingly dark. I imagine it must have been a lot of fun writing a classically ‘good’ character into someone more morally grey?
There really is so little lore about the fairy godmother it just was so much fun to go there. And I absolutely adore complicated characters because they get to have a bigger arc, a bigger journey, than characters that are already “good.” I also really loved the idea of magic and love being redemptive. Farrow’s journey starts in a really dark place, she’s lost her mother and her magic, she blames humans for that loss, and she wants revenge. But when she meets the prince and she finds that he is not all to blame, she has a choice to make – between revenge and love.
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors wanting to try their hand at writing a retelling?
I would tell writers to first find what is essential to the story and then from there make it your own. For me I couldn’t imagine writing a Wizard of Oz story without the shoes, or without the Munchkins or without the friends or the Yellow Brick Road. For my fairy godmother story, I also couldn’t imagine it also without the shoes or Cinderella or the Prince or the ball. But once you have your essentials, whether they be plot points or characters or themes, I think you are free to go as far as your imagination takes you.
Readers (including myself) can’t get enough of retellings right now. Do you have any favourites you think should be on everyone’s TBR or any upcoming titles you can’t wait to get your hands on?
I will be a forever fan of every Gregory Maguire retelling. Thank you King Gregory for setting the bar so high. And Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles are just a roadmap of how imaginative and beautiful retellings can be. Also Tony DiTerlizzi’s Wondla is just so magical. I love Anita Grace Howard’s Splintered – her twisted take on Alice in Wonderland is just so fun. And as for new releases, Katryn Purdie’s Forrest Grimm is perfection.
The ending of Wish of the Wicked is undoubtedly going to leave readers wanting more. Is a sequel something we can hope to read in the future and if so, are there any titbits you can give us to carry us over until it’s released?
Same time next year! Just working on revisions right now, And book two will be told from dual points of view so you get more of Farrow’s story but also the perspective of another character I love, Bari who was Farrow’s best friend but now may be her greatest rival. Bari is such a delicious character – she emerges as one of Cinderella’s stepsisters’ in the first book, but she has a much bigger role to play in book two.
Get your copy of Wish of the Wicked by Danielle Paige here.