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 Megan Norris and find out about her story,
"Ship Rat and Black Robin in Partnership."
Megan Norris is a Biology teacher. She lives in Palmerston North with her husband, two active boys and two even more active Ocicat kittens.
In her writing life Megan is working on her first novel for young adults. It follows a teenage girl living in small town NZ who must make sense of visitations from her ancestors and work out who is on her side in time to save her younger brother from a malicious spirit.
Megan is easily distracted and keeps turning out poems and fairy tales instead of making progress on her novel. She is supported in all her writing endeavours by the wonderful Manawatu Sunday Writers group.
A Conversation with Megan
Megan, why do you write?
I find writing really hard! But when I create something that pleases me it’s so satisfying that I keep coming back to it. I love the idea that I can reorganise thoughts, scraps of dialogue and just random flotsam and jetsam that gets stuck in my head into something new and cohesive. It doesn’t happen often!
Why do you think fairy tales remain relevant today?
People live in a different world today than they did when the Brothers Grimm where collecting their stories, but people are still people. Hope, love, joy, growing up, death, loneliness, jealousy – the list goes on; feelings haven’t changed, just the setting.
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?
I had a fat little book of Disney versions of fairy tales as a kid. I don’t remember being particularly interested in them, although I do remember finding Cinderella’s mice/doormen transformers far more interesting than the Prince. I didn’t really discover fairy tales until I read ‘Women who Run with the Wolves’ in my twenties. My main takeaway from that was that the original fairy tales are quite different from the Disney versions. The original folk tales reflect the unfairness in the world encompassing torture, lust, obsession, etc, in a way the Disney versions actively avoided. I found the darker older versions disturbing but far more interesting and real.
What is your favourite fairy tale retelling by another author? Why is it a favourite?
All fairy tales are retellings really, but my first experience of a deliberate re-mix was Roald Dahl’s parody Revolting Rhymes. I was about nine years old when it was released and it was quite a revelation to me that these predictable stories for little kids could be turned on their heads so hilariously. The mildly disobedient yet well-meaning Little Red Riding Hood of the original turned into a quick thinking chick who “whips a pistol from her knickers,” not only rescuing herself but making sure everyone notes her “lovely furry wolf skin coat” afterwards. I still love reading that version to kids.
Can you tell us a little about your re-told fairy tale?
My story ‘Ship Rat and Black Robin in Partnership’ is a retelling of ‘Cat and Mouse in Partnership’. I have tried to keep the language consistent with the Grimms original, but set it in New Zealand with New Zealand fauna, reflecting New Zealand issues of colonisation, conservation and even domestic violence.
A taste of Megan's story...
Once upon a time a certain ship rat had made the acquaintance of a black robin, and had said so much to her about the great friendship she felt for her, that at length the robin agreed that they should live and keep a nest together.
“But we must make a provision for winter, or else we shall suffer from hunger,” said the ship rat, “and you, little black robin, cannot venture anywhere, or you will be caught in a trap some day or be eaten by a stoat or the vicious karearea.” The black robin listened to the ship rat and reassured her that as children of Tane the forest would always provide for them, as long as they were careful. At the ship rat’s insistence the robin agreed to hide herself away in safety and leave the food collection to her brave and clever friend. But it was not long before the ship rat had a great yearning for something more substantial than the grubs and beetles she brought back to the nest.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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