Cinderella with a difference
16th May 19

Cinderella with a difference

CINDERS AND SPARKS is a fabulous retelling of the Cinderella story but this time with a sassy young Cinders who has no intention of spending the rest of her life locked away in a castle....! Author LINDSEY KELK tells us more!

Look out for a talking dog, a prince who wants to be a baker, and some rather magical washing up...

We asked author LINDSAY KELK to tell us more!

Q: This is a fab retelling of the Cinderella story. What drew you to drawing on fairy tales for this story?

A: Thank you so much! The original idea came from my amazing editor, Nick, who wanted to retell the story of Cinderella in a cool, funny way.

I've always loved fairytales and I really enjoy retelling older, established stories in a way that makes them more relevant to our lives today and so I jumped at this.

Creating all the other characters as well as the world they all lived in was such a pleasure. I loved being able to let my creativity loose.

Q: ...and why Cinderella?

A: Cinders had a rough start in life. She lost her mum, doesn't get on with her step-family and then she's packed off to marry a prince.

That ending never really did it for me. I wanted to tell a story where Cinders is master of her own destiny and her 'happily ever after' isn't reliant on a man or anyone else. I really wanted to put the power back in her hands and see where she went with it.

Q: What jumped out at you first about Cinderella's character when you started to write her story?

A: In the versions we're most used to seeing, Cinders is very passive, very sweet and submissive. When I was a young girl, I was none of those things!

I wanted this Cinders to feel more like someone we would recognise, someone who might mutter under her breath when she's made to do chores she doesn't fancy.

Her most dominating characteristic is her curiosity. My Cinders wants to know more about everything - who she is, where she's from, how the world works. She could marry the prince and have a nice life but that's too limiting for her. She wants more from life.

Q: Your heroine is driven by food - cakes especially. Are you a foodie? What is your 'go to' snack?

A: Unfortunately cake doesn't give me magic powers which is a real downer but yes, I love food. When I'm writing, I'm a real sugar fiend; Percy Pigs, Haribo, Skittles, M&Ms, you name it, I'm inhaling it. But in general, I am an equal opportunities eater, if it's delicious, I will scoff it.

Q: Sparks the talking dog is fabulous, why did you decide to make her companion a dog?

A: I wish I could take credit for him but Sparks is another one of Nick's genius ideas. I really loved the idea of Cinders having a talking dog but taking that idea and turning it on its head a bit.

Most dogs in children's books are excitable and giddy whereas Sparks considers himself a little bit above it all. Or at least he does until he's desperate for a plate of sausages. Above all else, he's incredibly loyal to Cinders, although to be fair, he hasn't had to choose between his best friend and a plate of chipolatas yet.

Q: There are also a number of other fairy tale and nursery rhyme folk in your story - any favourites?

A: Very hard to choose but I do have a soft spot for the witch whose house was eaten by Hansel. In our story, her name is Veronica and she's a very nice person in general. Would you be annoyed if some random boy came round and started eating your house? I think I would be.

Q: Why did you decide to make the prince's ball so boring?

A: I live in LA and there are a lot of ideas about what it's like here that really aren't true.

When I first moved, I was invited to lots of parties in West Hollywood and Beverly Hills with loads of rich, famous people in attendance and I was beside myself. Only when I arrived, they were all incredibly boring. No one was eating, everyone was looking over your shoulder for a more important person to speak to and they ended ridiculously early.

I imagined the palace ball a little bit like that. Everyone wants to be at the cool party because cool people are going to be there but when actually arrive, it's no fun. Cool people are not fun. Fact.

Q: And rather than a 'happy ever after', this story is about Cinderella seeking her fortune. Was the grand ball always only going to be part of Cinders' story?

A: The story is about Cinders discovering who she really is and what she's capable of, the party was never anything more than a blip, which, when you think about it, is right.

She's so young, it seems crazy to think this one party where she met some boy be the most important moment in her life.

There's also a message about accepting people who are different from you that runs through all the books. Given her heritage and you know, having a talking dog, Cinders is pretty open-minded but the same can't be said for everyone in the town. I think that's an important story to tell right now.

Q: What next for Cinderella and how many stories are you expecting to write about her?

A: The story was always intended to be a series and the next two books are out in October 2019 and February 2020. You can very much expect to see Cinders continuing on with her quest of discovering more about her family and her powers for at least six books.

Q: What did you think of Pippa Curnick'sillustrations, do any of the characters stand out for you?

A: I love them so much, they're exactly how I'd envisioned Cinders. I do of course have a soft spot for my girl but I really, really love how she's drawn Mouse, the mouse-turned-horse that carries Cinders off on her adventures. He's one of my favourite characters.

Q: Where is your favourite place to write?

A: I mostly write in my office at home. We just moved so I've upgraded from working in an actual cupboard to having an entire room to myself! It feels very extravagant but I've got a gorgeous view of the garden and I'm very happy.

Q: And what are your favourite escapes from your desk?

A: Too many to mention. Disneyland is only 45 minutes from my house so it seems rude not to go as often as humanly possible. I'm also only 30 minutes from the ocean, two hours from Palm Springs and a 50 minute flight to Vegas so just between us, it's very difficult to stay focused sometimes...

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