I have always been a great believer in serendipity. It's as if the universe sees a lacking, or a longing in me, and nudges something I need towards me.
This time serendipity has brought about the most magical conjunction of events, which is going to result in a most beautiful book.
As you probably know, I have long been interested in long-forgotten fairytales and fairytale tellers, and many of my books have been inspired by a desire to save them for obscurity.
After I finished my Doctorate of Creative Studies in fairy-tale studies, I wanted to buy myself something really special to celebrate. A twitter friend posted the most beautiful picture of a fairy-tale-inspired art work by Lorena Carrington, and I clicked the link which took me to her blog, The Bone Lantern. I read some of her blog posts and looked at some of her exquisite photographic art, and just fell in love with them. She must be a kindred spirit, I thought, to produce such beautiful work. I emailed her to see if I could buy one of her pieces (& ended up being this gorgeous print - it now hangs in my hallway).
I also asked her if I could interview her for my blog, always being interested in profiling the work of other creative artists.
We emailed back and forth, sharing our love of art and fairy-tales and gardens and books, and finding out we had so much in common. She told me that she dreamed of putting together a gorgeously illustrated anthology of little-known fairy tales with strong, brave heroines, and had begun illustrating a few of her favourites already. I told her that I was interested in doing the same thing. Perhaps we should do one together, we thought.
Both of us were busy with other projects but, whenever we could, we tossed around ideas and stories, and played with images and possibilities. Together we built up an idea of what we'd like to do ... maybe, one day.
I was hard at work researching & writing my novel about the Pre-Raphaelites but, as soon as I had delivered the manuscript to my publishers, I thought again of this idea of creating something with Lorena.
I reached out to the universe (i.e. I posted on Facebook):
One day I'd like to write #fairytale retellings of little-known tales with brave, clever heroines for teenage girls to read. Would anyone like to publish stories like that?
And the universe sent me Monique Mulligan of Serenity Press, who replied: Yes!
And so I'm thrilled to announce that Serenity Press will be publishing our fairytale collection Vasilisa the Wise & Other Tales of Brave Girls in 2018.
I will be re-telling seven extraordinary little-known fairy-tales (including one written by Charlotte-Rose de la Force, the true-life heroine of my novel Bitter Greens), and Lorena will be illustrating them with her beautiful art.
Never tell me magic does not happen!