If you haven’t heard about the After Happily Ever After anthology, this interview series is a front row seat into the creative minds of the authors who have re-envisioned the fairy tale world beyond the final credits. Somer Canon adds her unique brand of fiction through a retelling of the Snow White fairy tale, and keep reading because there’s a Halloween treat at the end!
You have a fun, quirky bio that plays on the contrast between the normalcy of the suburban life you find yourself in and the deeper facets of your creative self-expression. Would you like to give us a glimpse into how the “mini van revving suburban mother” who plays “video games that sate her need for blood, gore, and things that disturb her mother” got her start on this writing journey?
I’ve always been a writer by one means or another and I’ve always been a horror fan! I think if I’m at all unique in that, it is that the people who made me a horror fan were my own mother and my grandmother. I tease about my mother because it sounds better, but she was a huge influence on me as a child in watching horror. I was one of those kids who could watch nearly anything, something that would be considered criminal now. I grew up seeing female horror fans as a completely normal, everyday thing. Now my kids see it as well and it’s as normal as beige paint to them. I’m still a lame, boring parent in their eyes, but I am passing down a little bit of my love of the genre to them. They’re still young, so they’re still being immersed.
How does the creative process work for you?
I have notebooks stashed all over my house, so when an idea hits me, I can write it down while it’s still a fresh and exciting idea. Some of those ideas turn stale once I’ve come back to them, they don’t all work out, but the ones that I do like end up in the Main Idea Book. As it is, this book is nearly half filled with random thoughts, ideas and quotes for future stories.
Because I’m a mother to young children, it’s not so easy for me to find consistent times to do my writing. I steal minutes where I can. I listen to music and I try to drown out the noises of my ever-kinetic offspring and I get as many words down as I can. I’m a “pants-er” so I don’t outline my stories, I go into it with a basic idea and then start from the ground up. I like how sometimes a story works out in a different way than I had originally thought. It’s nice to make something that becomes its own creature that can surprise me.
Do you have a favorite fairy tale? What is it about fairy tales that draws your interest?
I have an illustrated book of some of the original Grimm’s fairy tales and I used to love looking at the pictures. Those stories are morbid and always end horribly! As a horror fan, it’s an obvious attraction. I would have to say that my two favorites (not necessarily Grimm) were The Little Mermaid and Rapunzel. I never related to those princesses and their charmed love lives, so the Disney versions always sort of bugged me. But the original ones, where the love is tragic and unfulfilled and the prince ends up getting his eyes gouged out by the thorny vines…just WOW! They usually don’t end with people smooching, silhouetted by the setting sun and a happy tune seeing them off. There is a grotesque ending, usually with someone dying a rather gruesome death. I’m not opposed to happy endings, but a good dark ending will always make my black heart go pitter-patter.
You chose an interesting vision of Show White and the Prince, years into the future. It sounds like a pragmatic — and at times dramatic — exploration of the realities of marriage and how we navigate the experience in the aftermath of what can often be a heady honeymoon period. Why Snow White’s story as opposed to others, to showcase this often overlooked aspect of romantic — or not so romantic — life?
Snow White was the first Disney “princess” movie. As a child, I always found the movie a bit corny for my liking (I was a difficult one!). I mean, Snow White and the prince really didn’t know each other before he rescued her from the curse of her evil witch of a stepmother. And they were supposed to live happily ever after? No way! I know this happens a lot with the “princess” movies, but I always loved the villains in these movies. This villain was a powerful witch who had this crazy cool magical mirror, something that would have endured after the witch’s demise. I really wanted to write about the mirror, so that’s why Snow White ultimately got chosen because the marital strife thing could have been applied to so many fairy tales where the prince and princess are still teenagers, barely know each other, and are bouncing around singing of true love before they’ve even lived together! As a married woman, I’m quite familiar with the difficulties of maintaining a relationship with one’s spouse and how the disinterest of one can obliterate any wedded bliss held onto by the other. Marriage isn’t always easy…or fun. After the happily ever after, it’s time to get real!
Do you have any exciting future projects in the works you can share with us?
I just put out a Halloween short story, as a gift to my readers. You can find it here (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01M6YMQ75/). I continue working and as I have some works making the rounds with publishers, I sincerely hope that I can share many more stories with the world!
Somer Canon is a minivan revving suburban mother who avoids her neighbors for fear of being found out as a weirdo. When she’s not peering out of her windows, she’s consuming books, movies, and video games that sate her need for blood, gore, and things that disturb her mother.