Of 1984, War of the Roses, and Fairytales

I find it fascinating to look at, and analyze the influences behind certain pieces of art, including books, movies, paintings, theatre, dance, etc.  What inspired the creator?  What were they thinking about when they created it?  It almost always results in a deeper understanding of the piece.  Well, having written and published my first novel, Turned/Red, (available on Amazon, B&N, Bookbub, Goodreads), I have a deeper understanding of what that means.

I had three influences when I sat down to pen my book: 1984, the War of the Roses, and Snow White and Rose Red.

In light of recent events, 1984 has skyrocketed in sales (perhaps an exaggeration).  Good.   It spawned my love of dystopian literature, tv, movies, everything.  Of course it would be in the back of my mind when I sat down to write my own alt-world dystopian story.  How can it not be in the back of every dystopian writer’s mind?  It’s the frame work, and if you haven’t read it, I challenge you to pick it up.   It was certainly the frame for Turned/Red, but only in frame.  I let it color the story, rather than drive it.  There’s no “Thought Police” or “Newspeak,” but there is the undercurrent of an oppressive government, the beginnings of fanatical rule of the government that is well underway by “Big Brother” in 1984.  And, of course, a rebellion.  A touch to allude to the genius that was Orwell.

Just as I let the War of the Roses flavor bits and pieces .  Yes, the names came from a fairytale, but it was no coincidence that “Red” and “White” stayed with the final cut.  The War of the Roses was a violent clash of power between the York (white rose) and the Lancaster (red rose) houses.  The Lancasters, and consequently Henry Tudor, won.  I’m a history nerd.  I couldn’t resist using it to highlight the conflict within a family in my own story.  It’s a rather complicated, but fascinating change of power.  All sorts of interesting tidbits to be drawn from actual events.

And, of course, the fairytale.  Snow White and Rose Red is quite a different tale than the one with the dwarves.  There’s still a Huntsman, but there are bears that turn into princes.  Not to mention: Snow has a sister: Rose Red.  Rose Red has always drawn me.  She’s described as being the extrovert of the sisters, and yet, she’s the one who doesn’t get the Crown Prince.  Snow does.  So what does that look like?  Here is where you get my Solene and Roselind.  Solene has it all, and Roselind has to make due with the hand-me-downs, yet both are cut from the same cloth.  You can see where this would be ripe with interesting roads to travel down.

All of this swirled and floated around my head until they demanded to be let out.  A Pandora’s Box, if you were.  I imagine every artist has had this moment.  A desperate need to create from the muses that sparked the idea.  It’s how you know it’s a good one.  How you know it’s the story YOU need to tell.

I can’t even begin to tell you the weird influences for the sequel, or my new paranormal-fantasy that is in progress…

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