Welcome to author Hayden Thorne, who’s joining us today to celebrate the re-release of her fairy tale Rose and Spindle. She’s chatting about the origins of the story and its tropes, and there’s also a giveaway after the excerpt, so be sure to check out the details in the Rafflecopter widget below!
When I first wrote this book way back when, once upon a time, I wanted to start a series of fairy tale adaptations in which side characters take center stage, and their stories are defined by how these fairy tales affect their lives. For instance, in Rose and Spindle, we’re focusing on two princes whose lives are directly affected by what happens to Roderika, the princess we refer to as Sleeping Beauty. In Gold in the Clouds (2nd edition release next month), it’s Blythe, who’s the best and only friend of Jack Wicket, a.k.a., of Jack and the Beanstalk fame.
Rose and Spindle goes nuts over the enemies-to-lovers trope, and my intention here isn’t the romance itself, but the journey leading to it. So by and large, Hamlin and Edouard come together, fight, move apart, come together after an interval of a few years, fight, and then move apart. Shampoo, rinse, repeat while throwing a wrench into things every single time they see each other again.
The boys start out hating each other, but as they grow older, they suddenly face uncomfortable truths about their mutual attraction to each other. They’re young men, though, in their mid to late adolescence until their early twenties, and with the growing attraction comes complete confusion and a clumsy defaulting to arguments and snark whenever they cross paths. It’s their way of dealing with a baffling development in their relationship, but they’re growing up and learning more and more about themselves and each other.
I also wanted to emphasize that the two don’t grow up in a vacuum. They’re surrounded by a rich and colorful world that’s peopled with royalty and talking animals and vindictive witches, and it’s this world that enriches their lives, shapes their values, and ultimately forces them to make hard decisions about their future together. So when you pick up this book, you’ll be reading chapters delving into Hamlin and Edouard’s private lives as princes, their relationships with their families (particularly the women in their lives), and in Hamlin’s case, a talking raven who’s his protector and mystical companion.
Rose and Spindle is very much a kind-of-rom-com with more on the comedy and the coming-of-age and a little less on the romance since, as I’ve noted, the purpose of the book is all about the journey from hating each other to loving each other for a hundred years and beyond. In addition to the relationships, I’ve also toyed with the medieval fairy tale setting, where castles and kingdoms are treated like the suburbs, and a castle isn’t any different from a modern house. Illuminated manuscripts get a twisted treatment, and the idea of Sleeping Beauty being gifted with beauty, talent, and other perfections suffers from a more realistic take. In brief, how would a princess who’s actually born to be mediocre in everything develop all of these superficial perfections? Poor Roderika.
The idea of a series based on fairy tales and the side characters who get sucked into them have never been retired. It’s been a few years, yes, but I’m still open to picking up where I left off, though this time around, any future characters will be young adults and not teens. Here’s to hoping!
About the Book
Boy meets boy. Boy hates boy. Each swears never to have anything to do with the other, forever after.
Unfortunately for Prince Hamlin and Prince Edouard, history has a bad habit of repeating itself, and worse, each time the two boys run across each other, things get a touch muddier as well. Destiny and free will go head-to-head, the princes’ dilemma echoing the more baffling curse that’s been placed on Edouard’s young cousin, Princess Roderika. Doomed to prick her finger on a spindle on her fifteenth birthday and fall asleep for a hundred years as a result, Roderika’s rapidly dwindling time becomes an inescapable tapestry into which Hamlin and Edouard’s own fates are woven.
With the help of a magician princess and a crotchety talking raven, Hamlin and Edouard not only have to outgrow prejudices, but also find the courage and the will to define their destinies, even if it were to take them a hundred years.
Buy Rose and Spindle: Universal Book Link
From Chapter 3:
(the boys are children in this scene – 4 yrs and 7 yrs)
Hamlin awakened in a strange room and on a massive, exquisite bed. He blinked away the remnants of sleep, rubbing his eyes with his knuckles and yawning a few times. When the haze cleared, he found himself staring at a luxurious canopy above him, dark blue velvet fabric that tumbled to the floor in a thick, rich curtain.
“Mama?” he called out.
“She’s not here,” a voice replied.
Hamlin struggled to sit up and looked around him. He was in a bedroom of considerable size, stone walls nearly hidden behind many pieces of furniture of dark, polished wood and rich fabric.
“If you’re hungry, you’ll have to wait—like everyone else,” the voice continued.
Hamlin turned in the direction of the window, where a boy stood, peering out. “I’m not hungry,” he replied. Not anymore, anyway.
The other boy merely stared at him for a moment and then turned his attention back outside. He shrugged and let the conversation die away.
Hamlin crawled off the side of the bed and slid down. A minor surge of panic at the idea that his mother wasn’t anywhere near immediately dissipated, to be replaced by growing curiosity toward the other boy. He recognized him as the dark-haired snob who’d sneered at him in the throne room, but Hamlin, urged on more by simple interest than by resentment at being called a name, walked up to the other boy. Wide-eyed, he stared at the other, unabashed and even slightly amused.
“What?” the irritable creature retorted, turning to glare at him. “What are you staring at?”
“You. Do you live here?”
“I do, yes. I’m Roderika’s cousin, and this is my room—well, not my real room, but the one I’m given whenever I come to visit.”
Hamlin looked around him vaguely. “Oh.”
“Yes, ‘oh.’ You’re a guest, and I have to let you rest here while everyone takes care of the princess.”
“What’s your name?”
“Edouard. You don’t need to give me yours. I’m not interested.”
Edouard sighed and shook his head, muttering something under his breath as he looked back outside. He seemed both bored and irritated—as though being kept in his room while the rest of the castle carried on with activity ate away at him. Hamlin watched him lean against the window, crossing his arms on his chest the way adults did. He watched Edouard scowl and look impressively thoughtful at whatever it was he was observing from his bedroom.
Hamlin also saw how tall Edouard was compared to him. The other boy cleared the window ledge without any help from smaller pieces of furniture (though he had to crane his neck in order to see whatever he was looking at outside). Hamlin hopped until he was dizzy trying to see out the window, and even then, he could only catch bits of the outside sky.
“What’s happening out there?” he asked, panting.
“A bonfire,” Edouard replied, and he went no further.
Hamlin pursed his lips as he regarded the other boy. It was proving to be quite the chore, tearing answers out of this proud statue. “What bonfire?” he demanded.
At this, Edouard sighed heavily and turned to glare at Hamlin. “Where on earth were you when that cranky witch came?” he snapped. “Everyone saw what happened! Were you off crying in the corner or something?”
“What bonfire?” Hamlin repeated with greater emphasis. He hated it when people answered questions with questions.
“A curse, you idiot! A stupid witch showed up, called everyone names, and put a curse on Roderika! Now all the spindles in the kingdom are being burned outside, and that’s what the bonfire’s all about,” Edouard said, stamping his foot.
Hamlin blinked. Then he frowned. That didn’t make any sense. What did a spindle have to do with a princess who stank up her crib? He’d heard about spindles before—yes, from that same nurse who’d lied to him about frog princesses, curse her. Unless she’d lied to him again, how would people make yarn for clothes if spindles were now forbidden?
“What did the witch say?”
“We’re all trying to prevent a curse from coming true, though it’s stupid because curses aren’t real,” Edouard replied, and he spoke slowly, enunciating clearly as though talking to a dribbling idiot or perhaps someone who was hard of hearing. “If you were paying attention to what happened earlier, you’d know. But you didn’t, and I’m not about to tell you the story from start to finish. You figure that one out on your own.” With another contemptuous sniff, Edouard turned and looked back outside, leaving Hamlin to stare at him, baffled as ever.
He couldn’t understand why the other boy didn’t like him. He’d never met him before, and if anything, it was Edouard who behaved badly toward him first, walking past him in the throne room and calling him a name. That would be a dreadful breach of etiquette in Hamlin’s father’s kingdom.
For his part, Hamlin didn’t know what else to do or say, but he recognized insufferable pride when he saw it and, as a prince, he wasn’t going to stand for it. Narrowing his eyes at Edouard, who continued to ignore him, Hamlin moved closer to the other boy and stomped on Edouard’s foot, earning a loud yelp of pain.
“You’re rude and ugly,” he retorted, watching Edouard hop around and howl, holding up his injured foot.
Hamlin was going to turn his nose up at his antagonist and exit the room with dignity, but all plans were immediately and effectively thwarted when Edouard pounced on him, yelling and pushing him to the floor, defending his slighted honor with wildly flying hands that punched and tore at Hamlin’s clothes.
It wasn’t until later, after being pried apart by a couple of frightened servants who’d been drawn to the room by their furious shouts and the sounds of upended chairs and stools, that Hamlin understood just how infuriating and petty Edouard was, and that the other boy wasn’t going to be his friend no matter what.
About the Author
I’ve lived most of my life in the San Francisco Bay Area though I wasn’t born there (or, indeed, the USA). I’m married with no kids and three cats and am a cycling nut. I started off as a writer of young adult fiction, specializing in contemporary fantasy, historical fantasy, and historical genres. My books ranged from a superhero fantasy series to reworked and original folktales to Victorian ghost fiction. I’ve since expanded to New Adult fiction, which reflects similar themes as my YA books and varies considerably in terms of romantic and sexual content. While I’ve published with a small press in the past, I now self-publish my books.
Connect with Hayden: Twitter
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5 thoughts on “Guest Post, Excerpt, and Giveaway: Rose and Spindle by Hayden Thorne”
I like MM fairy tale retellings!
Twisting fairy tales is a lot of fun. Good luck with your new book!
I like most fairy tales. I liked the retelling of Beauty and the Beast.
My favourite fairy tale is beauty and the beast
Hate to love. The most passionate of all romances!
Fairy tales…my favorites…Cinderella, Snow White and Sleeping Beauty.
Does the Prince and the Pauper count?