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. In Candace Gleave’s “The Emperor’s Pig Princess”, a wary emperor sheds swaps his clothes for the challenge of matrimony.
Every writer comes from a different background, and most end up taking a winding path to where they eventually end up. How has the writing journey taken shape for you? How did you start?
It all started with a movie…. Romancing the Stone. The opening cinematic, the gritty western, love, loss, and of course the handsome cowboy Jesse…. Mmmm. The storytelling is through the heart and passion of the writer, you seen Joan Wilder at her type-writer, finishing up her book, in tears. That’s passion… that’s what I wanted.
This romantic dream of being a writer embedded in my tiny 8-year-old brain and has never left… It’s something that has always been a part of me, the nagging, the desire, the inner pull… and I absolutely love it.
You’ve chosen the tale of “The Emperor’s New Clothes” with a new challenge for the Emperor — the prospect of matrimony. Is there a particular aspect of this tale that attracted you? How did you come to choose this one and generate this idea?
The Emperor’s New Clothes is a fantastic story. The deeper origins of wanting to believe in something bad enough, that you trick yourself into actually seeing it. This deception, pride and vanity is what ultimately made me choose this story. Not only did the emperor walk around naked, but he did it with his head held high. That’s confidence… and true, I envision a very good looking emperor, don’t we all. So taking this confident, somewhat arrogant man, and helping him search for a wife was too good to pass up.
Do you have a favorite fairy tale you’d like to share with us?
Peter Pan. The story of Peter Pan has deeper undertones that are often overlooked. I think there is a romantic longing inside of everyone to preserve the innocence of childhood. Imagine, living in Neverland, the adventures, thrill, and never worrying about the ugliness of reality.
“The Emperor’s New Clothes” is very much a story about human nature, and to some extent, the ways we lie to ourselves and the lengths we will go to in order to save face and not confront a mistake. Have you ever come across an Emperor in your own life?
No, never seen a naked emperor…. My life is so unfilled. Human nature is really fascinating, especially when we want something really bad, we tend to lie. Writers make excellent liars, haha, not sure what that says about us…. I think Oscar Wilde said it best, “Lying, the telling of beautiful untrue things, is the proper aim of Art.”
Now that your work is appearing the After Happily Ever After anthology, do you have something else you’re working on for the future that you’d like to share?
I’m always dabbling with short stories… the little darlings will get published in their own due time.