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. Claire Davon gives peas a chance in her revamped version of The Princess and the Pea.
Your bio lets us know that you’re passionate about writing, and this passion comes through in your enthusiasm for story — no matter the genre! Why is this so? How many different genres have you dabbled in and is there one you prefer more than the other?
I think of myself as a genre writer, but what that basically means is that I love writing in fantasy, romance, science fiction and horror. I don’t know that I prefer one over the other although all of my novellas and full length novels to date have been some form of romance, whether contemporary, time travel or paranormal. A lot of times the muse comes out of whatever I am thinking about at the time or where a call for submission takes me. Sometimes I write a story and find a call that fits and sometimes a call inspires me to write a story. For instance, when I saw the call for After the Happily Ever After I started thinking about the different fairy/folk tales in their original forms and where that would lead when the original tale was done. Pea Soup grew out of that.
Fanfiction is increasingly being the way that people are exposed to fiction and inspired to join the ranks of writers. Tell us how your journey down the writing path took form, and is it still evolving?
A lot of what I did for fan fiction “back in the day” came out of my desire to see the tale continue and/or being unhappy with the way a storyline ended. For instance I used to watch soap operas and if a character that I liked was written off then I would design my own story about what happened next. And if the female character happened to resemble me, well… I think that fan fiction is a great way to explore your creative side since it’s a universe someone else already created for you that the writer gets to play in. I felt very passionately about these characters and did not want to let them go. It was also wish fulfillment for me, and a desire for a certain outcome. Some of those original stories are ones that I am revisiting in a completely changed form (while keeping the spirit of the initial story) to be my own. These days I want to create my own universe rather than play in someone else’s.
You’ve chosen to tackle the Princess and the Pea in this anthology. And you’ve given the princess an interesting spin as a former barmaid turned aspiring royal. Tell us how this came about, and are there any interesting jobs you’ve held before you reached the place you are now? Do tell.
I’m one of those people who gravitates toward the unusual, so when I saw this anthology call I wanted to explore a fairy tale that wasn’t one of the main ones such as Cinderella or Little Red Riding Hood. There wasn’t any one thing that made me select this fairy tale other than it being one that I didn’t think a lot of people would choose. When Hecelin/Giselle sprang to mind I knew that this was the fairy tale that needed a continuation/a bit of a retelling. Further to question #2 above, when you think about it these continuations are their own form of fan fiction, albeit for much loved tales that have been around for hundreds of years rather than writing about the Cassadines from General Hospital in the 1980s (who, me?).
Do you have a particular fairy tale that speaks to you? Which is it?
There isn’t one in particular per se, what interests me is to dig back into the origins and/or the first versions of these tales and see how they changed over time. Especially when the first tellings were decidedly more gruesome than today’s versions. I went looking for such a version when I investigated The Princess and the Pea but that tale was a bit newer than others and didn’t have some of the gore associated with early Grimm versions (cutting Little Red Riding Hood out of the wolf’s stomach…brutal!). It’s the chronology of the telling of a tale that fascinates me rather than one in particular.
While you’re busy conquering so many genres in the writing field, is there anything special you’re working on, that you’re hoping to share soon? Future projects on the line?
Why yes, yes there is! On the novel front the second book in my Elementals’ Challenge series, titled Air Attack, is being released by Samhain Publishing in late March. This paranormal romance series is near and dear to my heart and I am most excited for my readers to experience the continuation of this series. I am also going to be self-publishing a fantasy/paranormal romance novella that I hope will also be the start of a series sometime later this year. As always I am writing short stories in all those genres I love so much and am subbing them far and wide. A reprint fantasy short story is being turned into a podcast but I don’t yet know the release on that.
Claire Davon has written on and off for most of her life, starting with fan fiction when she was very young. She writes across a wide range of genres, and does not consider any of it off limits. If a story calls to her, she will write it. She currently lives in Los Angeles and spends her free time writing novels and short stories, as well as doing animal rescue and enjoying the sunshine. Claire’s website is www.clairedavon.com.