When fantasy author Jim Hines’ daughter was four years old, she loved princesses to the point that Hines felt like his home had a “Tribble-like infestion” of princess-related merchandise “drawn in poses I can only describe as ‘simpering” he told SciFi Wire.
Hinest wanted a better princess. Or at least some “who could get out there and kick butt with the best of the men.” That desire led to Hines’ latest novel, “The Stepsister Scheme,” a fracture fairy-tale with three “kick butt” princesses” intended as “a cross between the old (pre-Disney) fairy tales and Charlie’s Angels.”
Several months after Danielle (Cinderella) marries her prince, one of her stepsisters tries to kill her. A servant girl named Talia saves her life, but the stepsister escapes.
“Talia is more than she appears, of course, and Danielle soon finds herself introduced to Sleeping Beauty and her friend Snow White, both of whom work for the queen,” Hines said. “They learn that the stepsisters have kidnapped Danielle’s prince, and now the three princesses must face cranky trolls, witches and darker creatures of fairy lore as they work to unravel the stepsisters’ plot and save the prince.”
Hines said that finding the right balance was key to the story.
“I knew that I didn’t want to avoid the darker aspects of the old fairy tales, but I also wanted to keep the book fun,” he said. “Discovering the voice of each characterâ€”transforming them from fairy-tale archetypes into genuine, believable peopleâ€”was the key to making the book work.”
The first book was recently published and there are two more installments on the horizon. “The Mermaid’s Madness”, is due out in October and third novel, “Red Hood’s Revenge,” will be out in 2010.