Tuesday, 29 July 2014

THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROSE: The Story That Surprised Me

I read a lot of books, and I try to write a lot of them. I've heard of authors who, while working on one project, are completely smote by another. And, though I've experienced that in a minute degree, never have I so completely as now.

Once upon a time--not very long ago, actually--I was struggling to come up with ideas for my other story, A ROSE FOR A DREAM. Nothing was clicking, and my brain was snagged by another concept. I wanted a more mysterious story than the ones I was currently working on--one that matched my love of CRUEL BEAUTY by Rosamund Hodge and THE QUEEN'S THIEF series by Megan Whalen Turner.

What do you get when you marry those two stories, and add a sprinkling of PERSUASION by Jane Austen?

THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROSE, the story that dropped into my lap.

Now, elements of this story stem from an idea for the Five Enchanted Roses contest I'd been kicking around with Hannah, but an idea I'd rejected initially. But as I started thinking about it more and more, the story suddenly struck me all at once. I'd been handling my main character all wrong--and, once I started seeing her differently, the elements I loved from Hodge's main character Nyx found new and different life in my main character Leta.

I can't say much more than that for fear of spoiling everything. So here's more about the actual story itself, as little as I can offer you:

Leta Ashworth's life has finally returned to some hint of normalcy now that her father has been released from prison. She and her family, though reduced to poverty, make the most they can out of their new, meager roles as fisher-folk.

But one day a familiar face rides through her village, and Leta finds herself facing a man with the potential to be her beloved--or a beast. Either way, his life may be in danger, and only Leta can save him.

 A retelling of Beauty and the Beast and Jane Austen's Persuasion, where neither the Beast--nor the Beauty--are truly what they 


To get a taste of the characters and setting, you may visit the story's

(from the beginning of the story)

Then, from the corner of her eye, she noticed a lone horseman riding through the village. Travellers were not uncommon, but this particular traveller was no stranger to Leta's gaze. She was the only one compelled to leave her station and watch the man as he rode along the dirt road, his cloak whipped about by the wind.

“Leta! Get yer hind over here!”

She turned back to her fish, but not before casting one last look over her shoulder. A knot of emotions twisted in her stomach, and the familiar sting of fish in her nostrils suddenly did not seem so comforting. Bile rose in her throat. To the astonishment of her fellow women, Leta, with a stomach better than any man in the village, sank to her knees and retched.