Friday, December 19, 2014

Fairytales + Happily Never After: Guest Post from Jack Heckel

Today I have the pleasure of welcoming author Jack Heckel to the blog to talk to us a little bit about the changing nature of fairytale heroines and Prince Charming in his newest release, Happily Never After. As I'm a HUGE fan of anything relating to fairytales, I immediately added this book to my list. I hope you enjoy Jack's thoughts as much as I did!

Hi, this is Jack Heckel, author of Once Upon a Rhyme and Happily Never After. Before we get too far along, I’m incredibly excited to have this opportunity to do a guest blog for Supernatural Snark. In my series, The Charming Tales, I’ve taken fairytales and asked the question, “What if Prince Charming didn’t save the day?” That simple question has led to some interesting answers, especially involving the female characters in my books.

Although the books are called The Charming Tales, one of the main protagonists is Liz Pickett. She’s the older sister of Will Pickett, who becomes known as the Dragonslayer, when the Dragon in question accidentally impales itself on Will’s pitchfork. Although she’s very practical, she has a romantic heart and hopes that maybe she can find her own fairytale. In most fairytale stories, she would be set up to be the damsel in distress in need of rescue.

However, I believe that the role of the helpless princess or maiden doesn’t work in our culture. One of the things that I enjoyed the most in the movie, Frozen, was that neither Ana or Elsa needed someone to save them. They had their own strengths, from when Elsa decided to accept her abilities to when Ana was ready to make the ultimate sacrifice to save her sister. The global success of the movie speaks to the sort of heroines we expect in our stories.

For Liz’s part, she has a point where she is imprisoned and feels helpless, but it’s Elle, our version of Rapunzel, who helps talk her into not accepting her fate and doing something to stop the schemes of our lead villain. Once Liz gets her mind set, she starts on a path where she isn’t waiting for her fairytale ending, but where she’s determined to find it on her own. When she does find love, she has to take action to keep it. No spoilers, but the end of her story might not be how she would have written, but it’s one that she gets to choose.

As far as villains go, the primary antagonist of the books is the Princess Gwendolyn. She was the helpless prisoner trapped in the Dragon’s Tower, waiting for her Prince Charming to come save her. Unfortunately, he never came. Will Pickett, the accidental hero, saves her, and she later learns that he didn’t even kill the Dragon. She decides to seek her own justice by plotting to remove King Rupert and Prince Charming for never bothering to try and save her. While she does go a bit mad in the process, her desire to have a wedding and become the princess of legends may not seem too unreasonable considering what she went through. After all, isn’t that how fairytales are supposed to end?

Characters in fairytales tend to be flat and two-dimensional. They react in ways that we expect as they head off to their own ‘happily ever afters.’ It’s been a fun and fascinating journey to take those characters and add depth to them, placing them in positions that they wouldn’t encounter in the original tales and seeing what happens. One of the great things about these stories is that they are retold and changed by each generation. We live in an age where fairytales and myths are changing to reflect our world, from Maleficent even to the new Star Wars movies. I hope that everyone enjoys the journey and shares their own thoughts.

Thank you for stopping by Jack!

• • • • • • • • • • • •

The Charming Tales #2

Once upon, once again …

The dragon has been slain, but the problems have just begun for Prince Charming.

Disowned by his father, the King, and abandoned by his only friend, William Pickett, Charming must find a new path in life—but he's going to need a lot of help. His love, Liz, barely survived an assassination attempt; his former fling, Rapunzel, is in danger; and William is under an evil spell cast by Princess Gwendolyn.

The fate of Castle White hangs in the balance as Charming tries to find himself, while finding new allies along the way—including an odd number of dwarfs (or is it dwarves?) and a reformed beast. But he's running out of time to stop royally ruinous wedding bells from ringing …


• • • • • • • • • • • •

The Charming Tales #1

The dragon is dead. The princess has been saved. There is but one problem: Prince Charming had nothing to do with it.

In order to save his royal reputation, Prince Charming must begrudgingly enlist the help of accidental hero William Pickett. The two set out on an adventure that has them fighting trolls, outwitting a scoundrel, and drinking the foulest ale ever, collecting bruises to both body and pride along the way. Meanwhile, the rescued princess, Gwendolyn, turns out to be one dangerously distressed damsel, and an evil presence takes over Castle White in Charming's absence …

Enter this rollicking world and discover just what happens when a fairytale leaves the well-trodden path of "once upon a time."


  1. Oh how did I miss these books? Now I so want to read them!!!! It sounds so interesting and totally up for me! Thanks for sharing the post. I'll have to look closer at that.

  2. Hah, nice title! I love how immediately I can tell it's a fairytale of some sort. I'd be really curious to find out what would happen if Prince Charming didn't save the day, hah.

    Thanks for sharing, Jenny! <33

  3. OMG ,, this sound so interesting ,, dragons, prince and many other thing so interesting ,, I love fairy tales :)

  4. This is so awesome!!! I mean dragons and amazing characters! I totally agree with the author about Frozen! That movie is amazing not only because of the story, but also how both female characters are so strong. Great post! Thanks for sharing, Jenny :)

  5. I also love when authors play with fairy tales and turn them on their head. I clearly need to read these books! Can't believe I haven't heard of them yet. Thanks for introducing me to them. :-)

  6. I'm loving the recent trends in fairy tales books; unconventional, and no more weak heroines! I'm not sure how I missed Heckel's books when they were first released, but I am rectifying that now. Awesome guest post!

    Carmel @ Rabid Reads

  7. Oooh, I really love the sound of these books and I'm gonna be adding them to the wish list for sure!
    I love the idea of twists to fairy tales like these!
    Great post Jenny!

  8. I loved this guest post Jenny because I couldn't agree more, I love a strong heroine that doesn't need saving. Not to say she doesn't need help once in awhile but she doesn't need a white knight in shinning armor either to swoop in and save the day, she saves it all on your own and fights her own battles!

    Wonderful post!! I think I need to check out this book and read it!

    Thanks for sharing this Jenny and have a wonderful weekend!

  9. I'm all for strong heroines too, so I completely agree with the author. It's true that people are seeking more stronger heroines in life now and I couldn't be happier. Girls can be strong without depending on others and it's always such a great message to spread!
    Thanks for sharing, Jenny!

  10. Thank you for the wonderful post Jenny and Jack! I'm a big fan of all things fairy tale as well, so I'm very curious about these stories. I love a strong heroine, and this new trend to flip these tales and reinvent them with heroines that can be looked up to. Thanks for putting these on my radar : )

  11. Ahh sounds like fun. I like that it is different as far as the prince is go and how can you resisit a fairy tale?

  12. These do sound fun! I have read some other books where they turn the fairy tales around a little and I tend to enjoy them.

  13. Oh great post! I do love a good retelling and I just love it when authors put the faerie tales we know on it's ear! Plus, you know I love a strong female character!

  14. It's been a month and I just wanted to say thanks again for giving me the chance to do a guest post. I hope that everyone who decided to take a look at Once Upon a Rhyme and Happily Never After enjoyed them. It's great fun writing book 3, Pitchfork of Destiny.