Stephanie is one of the eight authors who contributed to Novel Hearts, with her short story ‘The Twistedly True Nightmare of Ruby Hood’. We had a little chat and here’s what she had to say about her story:
- Tell us a bit about your short story The Twistedly True Nightmare of Ruby Hood. What novel is it from? What characters does it focus on?
It serves as a prequel for my debut novella, “The Twistedly True Tale of Ruby Hood”. This story, as with the novella, focuses around one central character, Ruby Hood, and her life in Woodsville. In the ‘Nightmare’, the reader meets some central characters, but they are…um…a bit different than the true characters. I can’t tell you how or why…it would give too much away.
- Now that sounds intriguing. I loved the characters, so how did you come up with the idea for this short story? Was it something you had already considered through writing the novel?
No, I hadn’t considered it writing it before; it wasn’t even a blip on my radar. I planned, plotted and designed this story specifically for the readers. I wanted to do something for the “Novel Hearts” Anthology, but I wasn’t quite sure how to do it without giving anything away or taking away from the original story. I don’t want to say too much, but in the short story nothing is what it seems.
- I really loved that nothing was expected. Is The Twistedly True Tale of Ruby Hood, part of a series?
It is part of a series. I’m working on part 2 now. The working title is “The Twistedly True Tale of Ruby Hood: After”. Again, I can’t tell too much about the ‘AFTER’ part. I will say it continues after Ruby suffers significant loss and discovers her true calling. I have ideas for a whole series; the ideas just sort of swirl in my head. I have a third forming and who knows from there.
- Great! I love a good series. It’s always great to see a character evolve. The Twistedly True Tale of Ruby Hood is such an awesome title. How did you come up with it?
Thank you, it took forever! I knew I wanted to write a story loosely based on a fairy tale and quickly decided on “Little Red Riding Hood”, but I didn’t have any idea after that. I am a character driven writer. I HAVE to have my characters first, then the story follows. The characters and the title were developed on multiple long walks through the park with my black labs. It took several weeks of me talking and ranting to myself as I corralled the ideas running through my head, but once I had the main characters: Ruby Hood, Dylan Hunter, Kent and Kayla Wolf (brother and sister), Lilly Fair and Grams, of course, the title flashed like a brilliant neon sign.
- LOL. Sounds fun. Who is your least favorite character from this story? What makes them less appealing to you? What do you hope to convey to the reader through them?
I don’t really have a least favorite as a writer, but as a reader, I despise Kassandra Wolf. She is the one I hope readers will LOVE to hate! She’s Kent’s mother and wife of the mayor. Mean and nasty are some politically correct polite words to describe her. She is only mentioned in the ‘Nightmare’, and we only meet her briefly in the novella, but I have many things planned for her. I hope the readers see her as the ultimate villain, BUT I will say, in my stories things aren’t always what they seem.
- And that makes them exciting. I’m sure we’ll all hate Kassandra 🙂 What are we going to see from you in the future? Anything completely unexpected?
I still have a novel series sitting and stewing on the back burner, which I hope to finish someday. It’s in the middle of a gargantuan overhaul at the moment and a bit of a mess. Hopefully, I have many unexpected (good) things in my future. Maybe I’ll even surprise myself!
- Let’s hope so. Getting personal, are you a Vanilla or Chocolate kind of a girl?
Chocolate and lots of it! I really wish someone would invent (or find) a delectable calorie-free chocolate!
- Me too!
- What do you think most characterizes your writing?
I like to think I have believable characters with an unexpected storyline, but it doesn’t really matter what I think of my writing. It really depends on whether or not I can draw the reader in to an engaging spelling-binding tale, which of course, is what I hope to do!
- I asked Stephanie to think of any questions that she wished people asked about her story, but never did. This is what she came up with –
Most fairy tales come with a lesson or moral. Does “The Twistedly True Tale of Ruby Hood”?
Being a teacher, I look for lessons everywhere, even in the mundane day to day stuff. I like to think that there are many lessons embedded in ‘Ruby Hood’. I guess the most important thing I hope the readers see is a strong and resilient young woman. Life isn’t fair and smacks her square in the face. She has breakdowns (and she is certainly entitled) and she cries. But she NEVER lets life’s unfairness stop her. She pulls on her big girl pants and handles life. I hope that’s what most people see, aside from a great story, of course.
- Have you ever stepped out of your comfort zone and discovered a whole new genre? How did it turn out?
You sound like my Mom. ‘Sweet cheeks, when are you going to write something other than paranormal fantasy?’ No, I really haven’t. I have parts of a realistic fiction started…a crime drama about a sexy FBI agent and his high school crush Jenn (it doesn’t even have a title), but there just hasn’t been enough time to devote to it recently.
I also have parts of an elementary age trilogy based around a displaced little fairy princess, Vivi. Fairy Princess Vivi tumbles through a portal from her realm to ours. She’s desperate to get home, but first she must pass elementary school. The working title of book one is “A Rip in the Realm”.
I hope to be able to spend some time on both of them over the summer. At this point teaching pays the bills, so my writing time is somewhat limited during the school year.
- I get that. Finding time to write, especially without distractions is near impossible. I can’t wait to meet your sexy FBI agent 😉
- If your book were made into a movie, who do you picture playing each characters part?
Goodness, I can only hope to get that far! Grams would be easy: Betty White, no question about it.
I would love to see a blonde Emma Watson as Ruby Hood. She’s so talented and she has those intense dark eyes, like Ruby. A dark haired stunner like Katerina Mikailenko or Vanessa Hudgens as Kayla Wolf. Zac Efron would make an excellent Dylan Hunter. And Ian Somerhalder as Kent Wolf…those eyes! Again with the eyes…the windows to the soul.
- Betty White is great! I could see her playing a totally awesome Grams. Your choices are amazing. And I have to say, if my book made it to film, Ian Somerhalder would be on my list too.
- And now, before you go, how about a snippet from your book that is meant to intrigue and tantalize us:
“Grams, are you ill? Why are you in bed?” The young woman asked worriedly, setting her bag down on the oversized chair next to the bed.
“Oh, just not feeling like myself today, honey.” The old woman gasped into a fit of coughs.
“Grams, what big ears you have!” exclaimed the young woman, with concern creeping into her voice. The floor board creaked as she stepped further into the bedroom.
“All the better to hear you with, hon,” croaked the old woman.
“My what big eyes you have!” proclaimed the girl in awe as she inched forward for a closer look.
“All the better to see you with, darling!” The old woman wheezed, inching the covers up to her face.
“And what big teeth you have!” Hypnotized by the lady in the bed, the young girl could barely utter the words.
“All the better to EAT you with, you rotten little girl!” She spoke, smiling manically. The woman’s eyes darkened seconds before she lunged toward the girl.
Petrified, the girl froze and uttered a tiny whimper of fear.
Bolting upright from the atrocious nightmare, she sat drenched in sweat shaking uncontrollably. Anguish welled up inside her as the young woman cried out into the darkness of the room running her hand through her soaking tangled tresses. She collapsed back into the safety of her bed and quietly sobbed herself back to sleep. She never even heard the tormented howl off in the distance.
~Prologue from “The Twistedly True Tale of Ruby Hood”
Thank you so much for this opportunity! All the best and Happy Reading!
On behalf of Elaine and your readers, thank you!
You can read Stephanie’s short story, ‘The Twistedly True Nightmare of Ruby Hood’ in the Valentine’s Anthology Novel Heart. My review of Novel Hearts, and thus Stephanie’s short story, will be up tomorrow.