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VASILISA THE WISE & Other Tales of Brave Girls

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

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!

Heather commented on 08-Nov-2016 02:58 PM
Wow! I love those sorts of serendipitous stories. :) And I love the tale of Vasilisa - really looking forward to reading this one. :)
Anonymous commented on 08-Nov-2016 10:49 PM
Oh I can't wait for this! Looks delicious. Something to look forward to share with my little girl.
Carole Weave-Lane commented on 08-Nov-2016 11:21 PM
I think you are always looked after Kate......
Judie commented on 09-Nov-2016 11:32 AM
Inspirational - look forward to reading this wonderful book
Kate Forsyth commented on 14-Nov-2016 12:01 PM
Thank you all so much for your lovely comments! I'm really excited about the project - I think it's going to be so beautiful :)
Lyndal commented on 14-Nov-2016 09:36 PM
A wonderful keepsake to treasure. I do hope it will come in a sumptuous hardback edition, gold embossed, no less! :)
Pamela Cook commented on 14-Nov-2016 10:33 PM
Lovely serendipitous tale. A book all three of you are passionate about and I'm sure it will show in the final product. Looking forward to seeing it.
sue knight commented on 18-Nov-2016 06:46 PM
Cant wait to read these, sounds like a great partnership. I still have my Meg's Fairy tales book from when I was little and I still look at the illustrations in awe.
Kate Forsyth commented on 20-Nov-2016 11:38 AM
Isn't it wonderful when things just seem to happen like magic? I'm enjoying working on these stories so much - and I know Lorena's artwork will be sublime!
Maureen Eppen commented on 13-Feb-2017 10:19 PM
Can't wait to see the collaboration between such amazing creative talents.
Léa Chaillou commented on 30-Mar-2018 01:47 AM
What a beautiful collection! Mary de Morgan's Toy Princess was just wonderful. I must read her other tales!

I already knew The Rainbow Prince (actually I discovered it at the same time as Bitter Greens!) and The Singing, Springing Lark, of course, but I really enjoyed the way you retold it.

But I definitely think "A Bride for me before a Bride for you" is my favourite. It actually reminded me of an old Breton folk tale, though both stories are rather different.

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