Hi folks, today I want to introduce you to an author whose work I have read, reviewed, and thoroughly enjoyed. Please welcome Alberta Ross.
Now Alberta, tell us about your fascination with fairy tales.
How many of us developed our love of words, imagination and desire to read on the strength of those folk tales gathered, collected and read to us as small children. For some of us the desire to read translates into writing, to create our own worlds of fantasy.
Six decades plus ago my fairy tales were truly horrendous, not just in the content but the, sparse, illustrations in our books were, on the whole, black and white reproductions of wood cuts. Disney had begun to dress favourite tales up in pink gossamer but he hadn’t reached my neck of the woods in any real way. I cut my teeth on grim and loved every word.
But, and there is always a but in my life:)
I am a child of justice and fair play, my normal childish desire for it strengthened by my father’s legal training. The one thing that most of the fairy stories aren’t is ‘just’ – well not in the sense of justice for all parties.
Of course fairy tales were folk tales first, not children’s tales. They were the tales of the common people, told among themselves. Tales told to reinforce, educate, justify, entertain themselves, moral tales to keep us in our place and teach us to accept our lot. Tales told to record the innate injustice of poverty, hunger and age (young and old). Tales to rail bitterly against the ‘throw away-ness’ worth of their lives, to explain the unexplainable, to pass the blame of life onto others. The common people lived dark insecure brutal lives and so their stories reflected this. Sometimes there would be a happy ever after story to offer hope to the hopeless. I didn’t know any of this as a child so I railed against the injustice of the stories.
My idea of justice was a trifle skewered, a trifle off center My idea of the underdog was often just that – the under ‘dog’ – I didn’t as a child feel great empathy towards people, but animals, well, that was a different matter all together. So let us take the wolf, a misunderstood, misrepresented and persecuted underdog if ever there was. I would argue with passion, to anyone who would listen, that it was unjust to kill an animal for doing what came naturally – eating.
People or pigs it mattered not. Why was it considered a ‘good’ ending to chop of the wolf’s head or boil it alive in a cooking pot, why acceptable to rip open the wolf or stuff it in a barrel and send it hurtling down mountain slopes to be battered into tiny pieces. It was WRONG, in so many ways. All the wolf wanted to do was secure a good meal. To my mind it was the people who were stupid and cruel. If they insisted on living alone in dark woods where wolves lived then- duh – they deserved to be attacked, if pigs insisted on living in insubstantial, sub standard hovels then – duh – they were ripe for the eating. Well, in my childish mind they were, reinforcing my low opinion of adults even more:)
NB – you see how odd my thoughts – talking wolves didn’t bother me a bit:) an authors brain even then!
So, wolves had a bad press – don’t even get me started on age-ism and specie-ism!
Well, that’s a different take, and frankly, one I have often embraced myself. Tell us what you have on the go right now.
Right now? Very well, here’s the official blurb and an excerpt:
The Fiddling Feline, the Flea and the Frog et al. by Alberta Ross
My new collection of Tales offers a handful of Once Upon a Time stories. Twisted, slightly shuffled to one side and wrapped in a modern day perspectives.
Find good and evil in equal measure.
Discover greed and vanity.
Cheer the lovelorn and boo the wicked.
Observe the shape shifters, princesses and talking animals.
Watch as revenge is sought for a past time and justice demanded for an ignored crime.
Ponder the truths that can be found in all fairy tales and myths.
Take nothing for granted, these well crafted tales may sound cosy as you begin, but watch out. As a summer breeze these redefined fairy tales can turn in an instant to a tempest.
Excerpts from The Fiddling Feline, the Flea and the Frog et al.
Adora chose the conditions. If she was going to marry, it was to be to someone who would die for her. Well not literally, you understand; what would be the point of a dead husband? She had thought for the longest time on what they had to do to win her hand. Came up with the perfect answer. She had bustled off to tell her younger sister.
Come on, all beautiful princesses have a younger sister; pretty enough but dimmed into insignificance by the brilliance of an older sibling. They are, of course, nicer in character; rather worthy in their actions. You know the stuff, feeding the poor, sobbing over dead fledglings and practicing to be a prop to their elderly fathers in their declining years. Well Princess Adora was no exception, she had one of them. Princess Jenny. Pretty plain name, for a pretty plain girl. If looked at quickly you would dismiss her as plain dowdy and of no great worth.
Jenny would sigh, as she sat on the castle window sills gazing out across the plains before. She would spin meagre dreams of future happiness, of a suitor of her own. She knew these were impossible dreams. Adora eclipsed all. Jenny would sigh as she looked at herself in her small mirror, she tried to find a trace of beauty and indeed sometimes she managed to find a smidge of pretty. ‘Pretty things do not always come in pretty packages’ her old nurse used to tell her favourite as she brushed the mid-brown undistinguished hair. ‘Beauty from inside will last longer than that from the outside.’ Or ‘ Your time to shine will come unexpectedly one day, you see if it doesn’t.’ Old nurses tended to speak thus.
from ‘Here a bite, there a bite, everywhere a bite, bite.’
Anyway. Castle, riches, a bride and an elderly king, as in-law, life was growing sweeter by the month. The boy wasn’t a good husband, he was a dolt, you know it. Where would he have gained any knowledge, any polish? I mean his brothers were good honest tradesmen, with some business guile, but they would be the first to admit they were not courtier material and their brother didn’t even have half their brain or gumption. If the whole court hadn’t been besotted by Sith the boy wouldn’t have been given the time of day or, if he had, would soon have been discovered as a fraudster and hung by his toenails until he deservedly died.
His bride was a shy, retiring sort of a girl; unsure and untried. Her groom, as I said, a dolt. He knew his ignorance and strove to hide his inadequacies with bravado, loud-voiced opinions and instant violence if any, especially his wife, disagreed. Well, that was life back then.
My books may be purchased
as print copies from
The Fiddling Feline, the Flea and the Frog et al will be available as e-book at beginning of December 2012
Thanks for that, Alberta. This is one that is at the top of my list to acquire. Now, since I know how shy you are, let me tell the folks all about you. 🙂
Alberta spent the first part of her adult life travelling the world, the middle years studying and now has settled down to write. From the first part she has endless photographs, memories and friends. From the second a BSc Hons, an MA and friends. Now in this part everything comes together.
Over the years her interests have expanded, as has her book and music collection. A short list would include reading (almost anything) science, opera, folk, gardening, philosophy, crazy patchwork, freeform crochet, ethics, social history, cooking (and eating of course) gardening, anthropology, climate change and sustainability.
Alberta says the best gift her parents gave her, apart from a love of reading and music, was an interest and curiosity in everything which, in itself, has become a total inability to be bored and for this she is always grateful.
Alberta can also be found on:
The Fiddling Feline, the Flea and the Frog et al is visiting other blogs over the next two weeks
There will be six e-book copies of The Fiddling Feline, the Flea and the Frog et al up for grabs at the end of this mini tour – winners will be selected randomly from those who comment. I can offer print copies only to UK residents.
Folks, if you haven’t read any of Alberta’s work, you’re in for a real treat. In the near future I will bring more authors to you that I think you might enjoy.