“Inspirations and Influences” is a series of articles in which we invite authors to write guest posts talking about their Inspirations and Influences. In this feature, we invite writers to talk about their new books, older titles, and their writing overall.
On November 3 (tomorrow!) we will publish The Case of the Little Bloody Slipper by Carlie St. George–the first in The Spindle City Mysteries, a series of interconnected novelettes that will be published between now and December 15. Today, Carlie St. George is here to talk about the inspiration behind the first story.
Give a warm welcome to Carlie St. George, everyone!
There are no more new stories. Or maybe there just aren’t any new debates; I’m relatively sure that argument’s been going around since God told Noah about the upcoming flood, and Noah was like, “Wait, didn’t I already read this in The Epic of Gilgamesh? Man, I wanted to be original.”
The thing is, I don’t know if there are a finite number of plots or not. Maybe. Maybe we are doomed to tell the same old tales over and over again— but I just can’t seem to get all that worked up about it because I like re-telling old stories. I like turning them on their heads, shaking them around, finding new ways to understand them. I find value in the deconstruction. Also, I can talk tropes till I’m blue in the face.
The Case of the Little Bloody Slipper started out as a random thought on a long bus trip (you know, from the prince’s point of view, Cinderella is kind of a mystery) and a sudden picture in my head (a bloody glass slipper, forgotten on the steps). And that was enough to set my imagination on fire because I was suddenly combining two of my very favorite things: fairy tales and detective stories.
But that alone probably wouldn’t have held my interest for long because it’s not enough, I don’t think, to simply transport old stories across time and space. A new setting is cool and all, but it’s not really exciting in the long run. Transformation is exciting. You have to allow old stories to change. After all, that’s really the only way to make those stories yours.
I wanted to write a story where women had power but had to wield it carefully, hidden behind subterfuge and shadow. I wanted to write about women who weren’t just sitting around, waiting to be rescued; they might need rescue, occasionally, but they couldn’t be helpless on their own. I wanted to write about women who chose to use beauty to get what they wanted, and also women who chose not to use beauty, and women who didn’t have beauty to use. I wanted to write about all kinds of women with all kinds of weapons at their disposal: money, blackmail, whispers, violence. And okay, I wanted to play with all those old tropes too: disreputable gumshoes, dangerous button men, handy girl Fridays, and mysterious femme fatales.
Now, I got lucky because The Book Smugglers gave me the opportunity to write three of these stories, and believe me, I’m unendingly grateful. But I know I wouldn’t have been able to write any of them if I’d stuck too close to the original narrative. I think that’s one of the big problems with remakes today, Hollywood or otherwise: there’s no inherent problem with remaking a work; it’s just that you need to do something interesting with it, and man, there’s a limit to how many times I can watch Romeo & Juliet without the creators changing something fundamental. Juliet’s a robot? Neat! But that’s just a premise if you don’t actually do something else with it. You can’t be afraid to find your own endings. If you start an old story in a new world, that world should change the story— or really, why bother transporting it at all?
So, that’s what I tried to do here, to take this old fairy tale and find myself in it, to let it to grow into something new and entertaining, something that I, myself, would want to read. Hopefully, you’ll find it entertaining too.
Hopefully you haven’t heard this one too many times before.
How to Get the Story
The Case of the Little Bloody Slipper will be published officially on November 3, 2015. You’ll be able to read the story in full for free here on The Book Smugglers, but we’ll also have a DRM-free ebook (EPUB & MOBI) that contains the story, a Q&A and an essay from the author, as well as fun extra materials about the series available for purchase on all major ebook retail sites.
Preorder the Ebook
Need a copy *right* now? Want to read it *today*? You can buy it directly from us!
Add the book on Goodreads, and read The Case of the Little Bloody Slipper for free online on November 3, 2015.