With Wish Upon a Southern Star soon to be launched in September, it is my pleasure to introduce you in advance to each of the contributing authors and to give you a taste of their work.
Today, meet Graham Davidson and find out about his story, "The Tale of Krinkle-Myst, Cinderella, and the Prince (The True Cinderella Story)."
Graham Davidson is an advertising and film industry creative with work recognised by over thirty advertising industry awards, including Clio, Australian Writers and Art Directors, and the Retail Results Awards.
He is also a proficient painter who has frequently exhibited his work and has twice won categories of the Maitland Art Prize.
A father of two children, he is now passionate about building a career as a writer. An active member of the Hunter Writers Centre and its Children’s Writers Group, he also contributes to the “Books in Homes” program, going to schools to talk about writing and hand out book packages to students.
Find out more about Graham at www.facebook.com/GrahamDavidsonAuthor/
A Conversation with Graham
1) Graham, why do you write?
Since I was old enough to hold a pencil, I loved drawing and all forms of art and creative expression. I left school at fifteen and took up a job in an animation studio, which became the beginning of a long association with advertising. Just over a decade ago, I was asked to head up a team of designers developing a concept for a television series aimed at boys aged ten to twelve. It was a dystopian setting where experiments in genetics had gone terribly wrong. During the process, I found myself deriving the greatest satisfaction from the development of the backstory and while the series never got up, I held onto the back story as something I’d like to develop one day. Then a few years later, I discovered Neil Gaiman’s work. I felt that here was a writer whose mind worked like mine, which in turn led to me wondering why the hell I wasn’t writing. I went back to the backstory I’d developed and wrote the first two chapters of my debut novel, Fire in the Veins: Genesis of the End (anticipated to be the first book in a trilogy of trilogies). I bounced the first two chapters off a few friends and was surprised by their eagerness for more of the story. A hundred and thirty thousand words later, I discovered that after the first draft, the real work begins. I’ve now finished the ninth draft of that book, and it still needs to be beaten into shape a bit more.
So, why do I write? I cannot survive without creativity, and by far the most rewarding form of creativity is writing. To escape into another world when reading a good book is a magnificent thing, but to escape into a world you are creating as you go is something else. It always amazes me how the characters take a book where you least expect. The more I try to dictate the characters' actions, the more they resist. I always find myself more the witness to the story than its creator, and I hope the experience of writing can remain that way for me.
2) Why do you think fairy tales remain relevant today?
Fairy tales will always be relevant, but their relevance changes with time. Once upon a time, they were intended as a means of warning children to conform to particular behaviours, lest they suffer horrific consequences. Even when I was a child, I remember my mother using the morals within fairy tales as a warning (something I could never impose on my own children). So, it’s certainly not the moral fibre of fairy tales that keeps them relevant. Nor is it any perceived innocence, as most are quite dark and can be confronting for young children. However, they do encapsulate raw imagination targeted directly at children in language they understand. They are invariably stories that can be transposed onto almost any time period or culture. Their focus on fundamental conflicts between good and evil makes them easily accessible to kids and a gentle reminder to adults.
3) What was your favourite fairy tale as a child? Why did you like it so much then and is it still a favourite or has it been replaced and why?
It’s not something I’ve thought of a lot over the years, but I think it would have to be the Pied Piper. I like the ambiguity of who the good guys were and who was really a villain. I still remember feeling angry as a child about the townsfolk not paying the piper, and yet found the piper himself to be particularly unlikeable too. It seemed to me a story dominated in the end by villains, with the only good guys being the kids who were innocent victims exploited by all parties. Sadly, this is a situation you see reflected all too often within the world we live in today (and probably of the time it was written, too).
4) What is your favourite fairy tale retelling by another author? Why is it a favourite?
I haven’t really read a lot of retellings, but Gaiman’s Stardust stands out to me as a modern telling of a fairy tale story, a re-invention of the genre to suit a modern audience. I love that Gaiman is able to put his knowledge of science and reality aside and let a star fall from the sky in human form, and to allow a world of magic to sit side by side with our own. But best of all, as well as the heroes living happily ever after, justice is ultimately served. I think it’s a shame the movie never lived up to the promise of the book. I believe the problem was that the book told a fairy tale that was clearly not aimed at children, but at adults, while the movie was unambiguously aimed at kids.
Of course, when you get into re-tellings, the modern animated movies become a treasure trove. Disney started the trend of re-telling fairy tales in movie form not so much because he liked the stories, but because there was no copyright in the way. Single-handedly, he created a perception of fairy tales as much friendlier stories than they were ever intended to be. Now, with the likes of Shrek and Tangled, the scriptwriters are milking the stories for everything they can get in terms of the Hollywood storytelling tradition. While I loved both of those movies, I feel they deviate from the heart of what makes fairy tales great in their efforts to achieve box office success.
5) Can you tell us a little about your retold fairy tale?
I came up with the idea of Krinkle-myst after my partner and mother-in-law bought me a beautiful elf last year in the lead up to Christmas. I decided the elf had to have a name, and if he had a name, then he needed a purpose. And that purpose was the establishment of moral order through the writing of fairy tales. Stories that would weave a fabric through all of existence that would inspire thoughts in people and help them distinguish right from wrong. Of course, the only trouble with that is that each story must be acted out and reach the correct ending, else the fabric be left full of holes. If a fairy-tale doesn’t reach the conclusion inherent within its script, it must be acted out again under Krinkle-myst’s supervision until it does. And when it came to Cinderella and the Prince, Krinkle-myst certainly had his work cut out for him.
A taste of Graham's story...
The fairy flew ahead, talking to the wind through the rhythmic beating of her wings. Once the wind had fully understood the directions, it flicked Krinkle-myst into the open air and away from the land that no one has ever seen, instantly transporting him into the lift of the Woodland Elf Corporation’s Australian headquarters.
To the half dozen people in the lift, it was as though he’d always been there. None of them saw anything unusual about the sixty-centimetre elf with his forest garb and leather briefcase, and as soon as they left the lift, all memory of having seen him would be gone.
As Krinkle-myst had expected, there was one face in the lift that was quite familiar. “Hi, Cindy.”
Cindy, dressed in a labourer’s hi-vis outfit, took a deep breath before responding in a deadpan manner, refusing to make eye contact with the elf, “Good morning, Mister Krinkle-myst. I’m sorry, but I haven’t made an appointment. I was hoping you might be able to fit me in.”
Want to find out what happens next?
Read the full story in
Wish Upon a Southern Star
(release date 2 September 2017)
Pre-order an e-copy from Amazon
(or wait for the release date to order your paperback copy from Amazon)
Attend the launch
Saturday 2nd September, 2pm
at the South Library, Christchurch
For Christchurch residents and launch attendees,
preorder a paperback direct from the editor at email@example.com
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