Welcome to my stop for the Beautiful Beautiful blog tour, hosted by IFB Tours. Click on the banner above to follow the tour. Below you'll find a great interview with Heidi Garrett, as well as my review. Don't miss the giveaway at the bottom of the post.
Once Upon a Time Today #1
Fairy Tale/Contemporary Romance
Available at Amazon * Amazon UK
Blurb (from Goodreads)
Every night, Kerrin tells her daughter a fairy tale. Mirabella's favorite is "Beauty Beauty"--the story of when her mother met her father. As Kerrin spins the tale wrapped around the most dark, and equally light, period in her life, she considers these questions:
What is beauty? When is it nourishing... And when is it treacherous?Years of struggling on the indie film circuit are about to pay off for Kerrin Mayham. She's the frontrunner for the Golden Pinnacle's "Director of the Year." Winning will mean generous financial backing for her next project, and the most beautiful men in the industry will compete for the leading role. Her integrity and sense of self will be challenged. Because when it comes to casting Demion Glass, Kerrin will have to confront her personal demons--and an emptiness that has haunted her for years. (Adult language & situations, no explicit sex)
The core story in Beautiful Beautiful is a retelling of the Hans Christian Andersen tale "Beautiful," and the first release in Heidi Garrett's Once Upon a Time Today collection. In these stand-alone retellings of popular and obscure fairy tales, adult characters navigate the deep woods of the modern landscape to find their Happily Ever Afters.
Interview with Heidi Garrett
What inspired you to write Beautiful Beautiful?
Two things came together: My desire to do a collection of contemporary fairy tale retellings, and my own obsession with beauty. I love beautiful people and beautiful things, but I’m very aware that our perception of beauty is individual. And I have no doubt that beauty can be a mask...
What’s your favorite fairy tale?
The Red Shoes. One of the original short story fairy tales I wrote and published as a prelude to the Once Upon a Time Today collection, The Girl Who Dreamed of Red Shoes, incorporates that fairy tale within it. The first time I heard the story on an audiobook produced by Clarissa PinkoIa Estes, I was spellbound. It was such a different way of seeing the world, and it fed such a deep and hungry place in my soul. It was a real turning point for me.
Tell us about the main character in the story. Who is Kerrin Mayham?
Kerrin comes from the kind of family that leaves emotional damage. Although she has a grandmother who nourishes her spirit, her father is absent, and her mother is somewhat broken. She’s grown into a strong and independent, yet vulnerable woman, who’s thrown herself into creative work as a sanctuary. That way of living has served her, but it’s also shielded her from some personal demons.
What are a couple of your favorite books/authors?
I love everything Alice Hoffman writes. The Story Sisters is one of my favorite books of hers. It breaks your heart and puts it back together again. I also have fallen in love with Gabriela Garcia Marquez. I never really appreciated short stories, until I read Leaf Storm. Each story is set in the fictional Colombian town of Macondo, and the collection as a whole is a work of art.
What do you do when not writing?
I read:) Watch TV (Yes!) Even though I lived for many years without a television, the DVR, and some of the great shows that have come out in the past decade, have transformed me from being anti-TV to having my favorite shows, that I always look forward to watching. I also enjoy cooking and gardening. Spending time with my husband and cats. All in all, my daily life is pretty low key.
What’s next for you as a writer?
Completing Half Mortal, The Queen of the Realm of Faerie Book 4, and writing the next novella in the Once Upon a Time Today collection.
Do you have any advice for new writers just entering the shark infested waters?
Wow. It’s really tough. The standard advice holds true: Write the best book you can. Get a great cover. If you’re going to go the self-publishing route, then learn everything you can about the process. Twitter is a great resource for that, because there is a tremendous writing community on Twitter.
As far as connecting with readers, it’s very important to know who you are as a writer, to understand what makes your work unique, but also accessible to readers. For me, coming to that understanding has been a process—an ongoing one—and a very profound one.
An interesting thing about self-publishing: It’s a great vehicle for personal growth. I’ve been one of those people hindered by ideals of perfection—the need (fantasy) to be perfect. However, self-publishing entails so much learning, I think it might be impossible to do everything right the first time out. The whole journey has helped me become more self-accepting. Which doesn’t mean I don’t write and publish the most professional books possible. It means that it requires endurance, and as in all long-term endeavors, our humanity asserts itself. In that way, self-publishing has allowed me the opportunity to become more genuine with myself and others. It’s a gift that I cherish, and one I never expected.
This or That
Paper or ebook? Ebook! The Search function sold me!
Forests or Mountains? A forest in the mountains… with a gorge, and a river:D
Elves or Faeries? Faeries… unless it’s Legolas!
Morning or Night? Early morning, late at night!
Angels or Demons? I think I really prefer Angels who are Demons, and Demons who are Angels...
Snow or Sun? SNOW!
City or Country? For logistics, the city, but for tranquility, the country
Chocolate or Vanilla? Chocolate!
Beach or Pool? Beach
Brothers Grimm or Hans Christian Andersen? Hans Christian Andersen
My Review: I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
My review will be short and sweet, just like this novella. I loved the opening scene where Mirabella plays with her father and mother. From the very beginning, we know that Kerrin ends up with an awesome guy named Mark, whose wonderful nature shines through in his interaction with his wife and daughter.
The story alternates between Kerrin telling her daughter the Beauty Beauty story, and following Kerrin through the actual events that inspired her fairy tale retelling. I thought the back and forth would be distracting but it wasn't. In some ways, it reminded me of The Princess Bride, but the scenes with Kerrin and Mirabella are sweet and much more frequent. Not only that, but it's hilarious to see Kerrin's fairy tale take on the events.
I just love modern fairy tale retellings, and this one didn't disappoint. Kerrin is such a sympathetic character, making it easy for the reader to jump on her side from the beginning. Ms. Garrett does a great job taking an important event from Kerrin's life and breathing life into it with just the right amount of backstory. The conversations between Mirabella and Kerrin were simply adorable; I loved them. I do wish Mark was featured just a little bit more in the novella. He's an interesting character in his own right.
Bottom line, if you're a fan of fairy tales, this is a must read. But beyond the fairy tale aspect, Beautiful Beautiful is an enjoyable story with just the right amount of intrigue and romance that will leave the reader feeling happy at the end.
About the Author
Heidi Garrett is the author of the contemporary fairytale novella collection, Once Upon a Time Today. In these stand-alone retellings of popular and obscure fairy tales, adult characters navigate the deep woods of the modern landscape to find their Happily Ever Afters.
She is also the author of The Queen of the Realm of Faerie series, a fairy tale/high fantasy mashup about a young half-faerie, half mortal woman who must save both the Enchanted and Mortal Worlds.
Heidi was born in Texas, and in an attempt to reside in as many cities in that state as she could, made it to Houston, Lubbock, Austin, and El Paso. She also spent a decade in southern California, but was disappointed to discover it seldom rains there. Now Heidi lives in Eastern Washington state where she's content experiencing the four seasons with her husband, their two cats, her laptop, and her Kindle.
Being from the South, she often contemplates the magic of snow and hopes to remind readers that: Once Upon A Time You Lived in an Enchanted World Too…