I live!!! Thanks for your patience, Champions. You unlocked the final extra–a Grim Reveal,click here for the PDF file!–roughly two days ago. I apologize it’s a little late. I’m actually on vacation (expect to see photos!) and I’m actually sick right now as well. (I know. It seems like whenever I launch a book I get sick. Might be a co-relation?) A huge thank you to everyone who reviewed–thanks for the feedback and the help. And also, just a reminder, Today is the LAST DAY you can get Beauty and the Beast for free! So download a copy and tell anyone you know who might like one!
About the final extra. As I noted on the original announcement, it’s actually a general Timeless Fairy Tale story, and is told from the point-of-view of Odette of Swan Lake. The story will eventually be expanded upon and will show up in Angelique’s trilogy, but in the meantime I hope you enjoy the plot twist it delivers! Now, on to the post!
Normally I like to devote a whole post to the morals of the original fairy tale, but I’ll be honest…it’s pretty thin in Twelve Dancing Princesses. In fact, when I was researching the story I came across only a few resources that cited morals, and the best of them involved the German version with the soldier, not the French version with the gardener’s boy.
One proposed moral is that parents need to let their children grow up, and they cannot grasp them too tightly. This is displayed in the way the king/duke locks the princesses into their room and they still get away at night to do whatever they want.
Another proposed moral is something along the lines of listening to elders. Though many princes and nobles try, it is the wounded, middle-aged soldier who succeeds, and even that’s only because he listened to an old wise woman.
Some say that the French version encourages suffering and patience for the sake of love. (Why else would a shallow-boy have put up with the bratty youngest sisters’ antics?) But as I read over all of these…none of them really appealed to me.
So before I even crafted Quinn, before I even introduced the elves in Swan Lake, I looked at my series (including all my planned books) and contemplated what I wanted a main theme to be for 12 Dancing Princesses. Often in my stories you’ll see lots of themes of friendship, loyalty, and sticking together. These things are great and important. (No matter who you are, you NEED support!) But there is a problem with that…sometimes we get so caught up in our friendships we make poor choices because of those important relationships. We allow others to influence us to do things we wouldn’t normally do or say because they’re our friends. So I decided 12 Dancing Princesses would be the story where I flaunt friendship…and then shatter it by making Quinn choose to do the right thing rather than choose to follow her companions.
One of the hardest things to do is to step away from your friends and family and do the right thing. It takes a lot of courage, because even if what you stand for is correct it doesn’t guarantee that your friends will understand and accept your decision. Personally, I’ve had several relationships crumble because friends have asked me to do things that I know are wrong. It’s hard, and it happens more often than you would think, which is why I felt it was important to address with this particular tale.
Which launches us into my retelling! As I mentioned in a prior post, for my retelling I decided to stitch the two versions together. Quinn represents the German tale, and Roy the French version.
There’s a few obvious hints. Quinn is a soldier, she takes the silver tree branch as evidence, she receives the cloak from Angelique whom she initially thinks to be an old woman (And yes, for you Stil fans out there, the cloak originally belonged to Rumpelstiltskin. It’s the one Pricker Patch ripped that he gives to Angelique after Gemma gives him a new cape.) and she approaches the venture more from a “we’re going to fix this” perspective than a lovesick motivation.
Roy on the other hand is the gardener’s boy (or at least he pretends to be), he hides the twigs from the beautiful trees in the bouquet for the eldest princess (eldest not youngest, because the youngest twins aren’t even teenagers yet, ewwwww!) and he appears to be stupidly in love/motivated by the chance to marry a princess.
You can see a nod to the tales in the way the princesses drug their victims (German) and that those who succeed in following them are cursed as well (French.) The silver, gold, and diamond trees are featured in my story and both the German and French version as well, but I chose to have the princesses cross a river rather than a lake (featured in both original versions) to get to the elves because I thought a river would be a better divider between the elf and human lands.
Additionally, my story includes the grand parties featured by both stories, and the philtre that serves as a plot point in the French version. (The curse being caused by the food and drink was also a subtle nod to the French version’s philtre.)
Even my choices of making the elves the hosts of the celebration was taken from one of the many other variations of the Twelve Dancing Princesses, in which the parties were hosted by fairies. (Pretty sure Emerys would slug me, though, if he knew he was the substitute for a fairy king.)
And that is the tale of the Twelve Dancing Princesses. I hope you enjoyed it, and that the story made you laugh and cheer. There’s only one fairy tale left in this current arc of the series before I launch Angelique’s trilogy in 2019, and that is Snow White. I will continue to write fairy tales after Angelique’s trilogy (you can look forward to books about The Queen of Hearts, The Girl in the Glass Coffin, Rapunzel, Little Red Riding Hood, and more!) but most of the fairy tales will be like the Snow Queen books. They will influence the events of the world, but they will be stand-alone and less connected.
Thank you for reading, Champions, and thank you for all your reviews–I really appreciate the time you took in making them. Enjoy the last short, and have a lovely day!