What an apt day to share a new book in the Fairy Tales for the Fearless series! First came Rabunzel, then CinderGorilla and now we have Snowy White! The dynamic duo behind this series are Gareth P Jones and Loretta Schauer!
As part of the Tell a Fairy Tale celebrations, I am thrilled to share a Q&A with Gareth P Jones!
Fairy tales for the Fearless is an epic idea for a series of picture book. Where did the inspiration for this series come from?
It all started with a silly idea of mine based on one of my daughter’s toys. She had a rabbit in a princess dress which made me think of the name Rabunzel. The first story came from there but I never dreamed it was any more than one book. It was the publisher who saw something in it and asked for it to be a series.
Do you have more planned for the coming months/year?
Loretta and I will definitely be doing one more book together – which I find very exciting because I’m a huge fan of her artwork, but we haven’t decided what it will be yet.
Having written both fiction titles and picture books, do you find one to be more challenging over the other?
I find picture books much harder in general. Trying to tell a story in such few words is hard – and I’m not a very visual writer. But occasionally the stories come easily. Rabunzel flowed quite readily onto the paper, but getting Snowy White in order felt like trying organise cats… which makes sense, now I think about it.
National tell a fairy tale day is today. Do you have a favourite fairy tale?
I like the really weird ones like Rumpelstiltskin or the Pied Piper of Hamelin. I’m also a fan of those folklore stories about people (usually called Jack) either being tricked by – or tricking – the devil. I can’t see our publisher going for a retelling of one of those for for this series, though.
Aside from laughter, what do you want readers to take away from reading this series of book?
Each story has a moral but the central message of all the books is that the female protagonists are not the victims and there to be rescued by handsome young princes. Rescue yourself. Believe in yourself. Sort out your own problems. I like Snowy White particularly for this because when she arrives she is new in town but she doesn’t try to fit in and instead dedicates her time to looking after her environment.
When planning the titles and books, was it easy to determine which animal would take the lead role?
Rabunzel, yes. CinderGorilla was suggested by a friend. Snowy White was various animals (owl, snowy leopard etc.) before we settled on a story about cats.
Loretta’s illustrations are brilliant and really bring your words alive. Were you aware of her talents before this series?
No, but I’ll always be grateful to Farshore for putting us together. I am in awe of her talent and she never seems phased by anything. It’s also nice because, while the first book involved her illustrating my words, now the books feel properly collaborative. For example, it was her idea to put Snowy White on a skateboard.
Are you able to hint at the next title in the series?
I’m afraid I can’t say. We have a number of ideas but we haven’t decided what will be next yet.
What are you waiting for? These three brilliant books are available now all published by FarShore Books!