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 Mahoney Adair and find out about her story,
"Riki Goes for a Spin."
Mahoney Adair cut her teeth as a writer at the age of sixteen when she had her first ‘Robert Frost’ type poem published in Wairarapa’s Active Arts Competition (she was the youngest competitor), before she entered journalism school in Wellington. She then became a frontline television news journalist, Parliamentary Press Secretary, creative director in a top advertising agency and Ambassador to the Antarctic, covering stories that had never before been shown.
Following a recent interest in writing for children, she was the catalyst for the creation of Christchurch’s Children’s Literature Hub in 2014 and was a finalist in an international poetry competition, with her work appearing in Clawsome Dragon Limericks (2016).
A Conversation with Mahoney
1) Mahoney, why do you write?
I have no idea really, but for some reason it has been something I have done from a very early age, possibly the need to translate feelings into words.
2) Why do you think fairy tales remain relevant today?
Because at the essence of every tale is a message of enlightenment and understanding.
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?
When I was small I used to listen to a recording of ‘Diana and the Golden Apples’ and I was always intrigued, fascinated by the heroine who had fallen in love at an early age but, when grown up was expected to marry. In order to please her parents she agreed to marry the suitor who could outrun her in a race, knowing Melanion, her childhood sweetheart, was the only real contender. But he was lame from battle wounds when he returned to win her. Slowing down her pace he dropped three golden apples and as she stooped to pick them up he overtook her winning the race, and her hand in marriage. This story hasn’t been replaced, but others, including some sensitive stories (not necessarily fairytales but tales with messages) by Oscar Wilde, that is ‘The Little Donkey’ and ‘The Selfish Giant’, are still very close to my heart.
4) What is your favourite fairy tale retelling by another author? Why is it a favourite?
My favourite fairy tale retelling by another author is Phillip Pullman’s ‘Rumplestiltskin’ and I love his verse,
One more day, and then she’ll see
The royal child belongs to me!
Water, earth and air and flame –
Rumplestiltskin is my name!
5) Can you tell us a little about your retold fairy tale?
My retold fairy tale, ‘Riki Goes for a Spin’, is about Rumpelstiltskin and came as a result of Shelley’s workshop with us at the Christchurch Children’s Literature Hub, following which I flipped the classic fairytale upside down, modernized it, discovering what it means to create a plot twist and generate feelings for an anti-hero. Equally importantly, I believe I have acknowledged the essence of the fairytale which is surprisingly about unrealistic expectations.
In the original Brothers Grimm fairy tale, Rumpelstiltskin is an ambitious character, who trades his superpowers - spinning gold from straw – in return for the first child born to the damsel in distress who has to impress her royal suitor in order to marry him.
In this fast-moving modern version, Rumpelstiltskin is softer and more kind, but his rescue mission for reward is still misguided, with disastrous results for him; while our subtle, apparently sweet-natured heroine has streetwise, survival tactics of her own.
The score that underwrites the story is the circular momentum of the spinning wheel in the original tale and the round circuit racetrack in this one. The story takes up from the moment Rumpelstiltskin realizes he’s been duped.
A taste of Mahoney's story...
Broken-hearted, he took to the track. No point in telling his mates he’d fallen for a pregnant girl and wanted to marry her. They wouldn’t get it.
The track was where the boy racers went to burn off steam – smooth, fast, pliable, safe. There was always someone to flag you down at the finish line.
He planted foot, full throttle, and wound the new car up to full speed, cruising way beyond the safety limit, his blood pumping like it injected straight through the engine, his mind focused clear on the track but then disintegrating in a tumbling kaleidoscope of fragmented emotions.
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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You can email me at shelley.chappell