Thursday, November 7, 2013

"Cruel Beauty" Book Trailer & Behind-the-Pages with Author Rosamund Hodge

NOTE: The trailer AUTOPLAYS! Argh!
I really hate autoplay functions so apologize for this. I've been into the HTML but can't figure out what to change/delete so it doesn't do it. I'm going to leave it like this for a bit while I try to figure out something else. In the meantime it's very annoying (sorry!) but until they upload the trailer to YouTube we're stuck with this. Very sorry!

Now that I've finally read a little about the book from the author, I'm actually interested. I've seen so many variations on Beauty & the Beast be published for the YA demographic but rarely do they seem to have a unique take, so unless they are a favorite author of mine to start with or one of those poetic and edgy authors who handles words as well as Francesca Lia Block, my eyes to to glaze over quickly.


Ms. Hodge not only finds a way to make Beauty more interesting (to me) but has found a way to blend the dichotomy of Beauty and the Beast and Bluebeard, into a single, smooth narrative. Color me intrigued.

The book keeps catching my eye because of the ridiculously stunning cover (genius really), so when I saw an author interview posted I quickly skimmed, then went back and read it properly when I realized what the premise actually was. I think it might be worth picking up when it's released in January 2014.

Here are some excerpts in which the author shares what drew her to a Beauty who was cruel:

Rosamund Hodge
I never thought I could retell Beauty and the Beast. I liked it. I read Robin McKinley's Beauty and watched the Disney movie, and I enjoyed them both. But the story felt finished. Complete. What drives me to write retellings is finding the holes, the mysteries that don't add up. Beauty learns to love somebody who looks like a monster and Beast learns to love despite the monstrous parts of himself. It's a moving story, but what's to retell? 
by Erik Dreyer
When I read (East of the Sun, West of the Moon), it was like lightning in my mind! Suddenly Beauty and the Beast wasn't a static and separate little unit; it was one thread in a tapestry of stories where brave young women travel to strange places and marry men who are really monsters, or monsters who are really men. 
And then I thought: Who says there is only one monster? 
What if the brave young woman is one, too? (a la Mean Girls) 
Loving a monster when you're beautiful and sweet and kind — that's a good story to read. Finding the courage to love a monster when you feel just as ugly yourself? That's the kind of story I want to tell...
You can read the rest of the (much longer) article HERE.

There's another interview post on Ms. Hodge's website HERE which asks a question fairy tale folk in particular should be interested to hear:
CRUEL BEAUTY is loosely based on the classic stories of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST and BLUEBEARD. Did you read a lot of fairy tales and fantasy growing up? How did they influence your writing? 
by Twinnovations
Sometimes I hardly read anything else! I also devoured a huge quantity of mythology, which has deeply influenced my writing. (In fact, Cruel Beauty is based almost as much on the myth of Cupid and Psyche as it is on Beauty and the Beast). 
What I love the most about myths and fairy tales is how you are never just reading a story. You are reading the hundredth iteration of a story that’s been told for thousands of years. And when stories are told and retold for that long, they acquire a life of their own. They follow a peculiar, dream-like logic that doesn’t always make sense, but feels like it would make sense if you could just peel back a few more versions of the story. You can feel the bones beneath the skin. You look at the story, and it looks back at you. 
And a good fairy tale retelling taps into that sense of story-behind-story. It feels inevitable. You read it and you think, Yes, obviously, this is what happened. This is what it means. Writing a fairy tale retelling feels like discovery, not invention. Why did I combine Beauty and the Beast with Bluebeard? Because I was thinking about those stories one day and I realized, Beauty married the Beast in order to kill him. She’s afraid she will die like his previous wives. That’s what happened. How else could it be?
A cruel Beauty reminds me a little of issues in Pride and Prejudice but this looks like it will be much edgier, what with the assassin training, Bluebeard references and all!

Take a look at the book trailer:

I HAVE DELETED THE TRAILER AS I CAN'T GET IT TO STOP AUTO-PLAYING, WHICH IS BEYOND IRRITATING! To see it, please click the link below and scroll down to the end of the article to view it.
My apologies for any inconvenience regarding the auto-play function for the past half day and now the need to go see the trailer on another page. Hopefully one day I'll be able to update this and embed a trailer you can choose whether to view when you're ready to, or not.
 Rosamund Hodge will also be releasing a novella, Gilded Ashes, retelling of Cinderella in April (which you can see a glimpse of at the end of the trailer). To me, this is even more intriguing than the Beauty and the Beast blend. See what she says about it:
Tell us about GILDED ASHES, your digital novella set in the world of CRUEL BEAUTY. 
by Cindy Bean
It’s a retelling of Cinderella, which is a fairy tale that most people feel needs an explanation. Traditionally, Cinderella is sweet, obedient, and cheerful despite being relentlessly abused. Why doesn’t she rebel against her wicked stepmother? Why is she happy? 
I started thinking about the Brothers Grimm version of the story, where Cinderella doesn’t have a fairy godmother; instead, it’s the ghost of her dead mother who gives her the dress and sends her to the ball. I wondered, why would a mother haunt her daughter? To protect her, of course.  And suddenly it all became clear: Cinderella’s dead mother haunts the house and destroys anyone who makes her daughter cry. So no matter what her stepfamily does to her, Cinderella has to smile and be happy. Or all of them will die. 
But, of course, everything gets a lot more complicated when she falls in love.
See what I mean? I like the way this author thinks.

Even though I'm not a big YA reader, both of these are now officially on my to-be-read pile.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this! Added it to my goodreads Want to Read list.