Jun 16, 2014

Blog Tour: The Stepsister's Tale by Tracy Barrett

Welcome to the next stop in The Stepsister's Tale blog tour. I devoured this book within hours and if your a fan of fairy tales, retellings, or just awesome writing, then this is your book!


1. What are some of your favorite fairy tales? Do you prefer them dark like the Brothers Grimm? Or lighter like Disney?

I like the spooky tales that the Grimms collected and I especially love the even older versions that the Grimms sweetened up for the sake of the children who were reading the stories. Those earlier tales are really crazy, more like nightmares than stories.

2. I love the idea of making people love characters that are traditionally hated. What made you write THE STEPSISTER'S TALE?

The stepsisters in every traditional version of the story that I could find (and I found lots of them!) and even in almost every retelling, are caricatures of evilness while Cinderella is impossibly good and sweet and beautiful. Granted, a few truly evil people exist and so do some saintly ones, but I don’t find stories about people at those extremes terribly compelling, especially when no reason is ever given for their extreme personalities. This is probably one reason why Ella Enchanted is so wonderful—we learn just why Ella is ridiculously obedient. That humanizes her and we care more about her. At least I do!
            Blended families are very tricky, and Isabella in The Stepsister’s Tale isn’t the first stepchild brought into a new home who thinks that everyone is cruel to her and that she has to do more than her share of the work. I thought it would be fun to explore the other side of the story. Suddenly acquiring a stunningly beautiful family member couldn’t have been easy on her stepsisters either!

3. What other fairy tales would you like to rewrite?

My next book—also with Harlequin TEEN—has the working title of Fairest: The Stepmother’s Tale. I bet you can guess what fairy tale it’s based on!

4. Any summer vacation plans or books you're excited to read?

I want to cry whenever I think of all the books I’m excited to read, because I have so little time to read them!
            I don’t really take a summer vacation because now that I no longer have a day job (I was a college professor for a long time) I’m free to travel when other people aren’t around. My husband and I are planning a trip to Sicily in the fall.

5. What is something that people would be surprised to know about you?

I used to be a skydiver! In fact, that’s how I met my husband (on the ground, not in the air—it’s a little hard to get to know someone when you’re falling at 120 miles per hour). He was a big famous skydiver who helped me pack my parachute, so I guess you can say that I literally fell in love!

About the Book:
What really happened after the clock struck midnight?
Jane Montjoy is tired of being a lady. She's tired of pretending to live up to the standards of her mother's noble family-especially now that the family's wealth is gone and their stately mansion has fallen to ruin. It's hard enough that she must tend to the animals and find a way to feed her mother and her little sister each day. Jane's burden only gets worse after her mother returns from a trip to town with a new stepfather and stepsister in tow. Despite the family's struggle to prepare for the long winter ahead, Jane's stepfather remains determined to give his beautiful but spoiled child her every desire.
When her stepfather suddenly dies, leaving nothing but debts and a bereaved daughter behind, it seems to Jane that her family is destined for eternal unhappiness. But a mysterious boy from the woods and an invitation to a royal ball are certain to change her fate...
From the handsome prince to the evil stepsister, nothing is quite as it seems in Tracy Barrett's stunning retelling of the classic Cinderella tale.

About the Author:
Tracy Barrett is the author of numerous books and magazine articles for young readers.
She holds a Bachelor's Degree with honors in Classics-Archaeology from Brown University and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Medieval Italian Literature from the University of California, Berkeley. Her scholarly interests in the ancient and medieval worlds overlap in her fiction and nonfiction works.
A grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to study medieval women writers led to the writing of her award-winning young-adult novel, Anna of Byzantium (Delacorte). Her most recent publications are King of Ithaka, a young-adult novel based on Homer's Odyssey; and the fourth book in The Sherlock Files, The Missing Heir (both Henry Holt). In September, Harcourt will publisher her young-adult retelling of the myth of the Minotaur, Dark of the Moon.
From 1999 to 2009 Tracy Barrett was the Regional Advisor for the Midsouth (Tennessee and Kentucky) with the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. She is now SCBWI's Regional Advisor Coordinator.
Tracy has taught courses on writing for children and on children's literature at various institutions and frequently makes presentations to groups of students, librarians, teachers, and others.
For an example of Tracy's presentations at writers' conferences, please see this article from Clarksville Online.
She recently resigned from Vanderbilt University, where she taught Italian, Women's Studies, English, and Humanities. Click here and herefor articles about her double life as professor and writer.
She occasionally manages to combine her two "lives" as in her presentation at a conference on the Classics in children's literature in Wales in July, 2009.

a Rafflecopter giveaway



  1. I really want to see how different Cinderella is in this book.

  2. I am addicted to re-tellings. They have been some of my favorites reads!! I loved Cinder :D

  3. Even though most fairy tales are pretty black-and-white, I like characters are nuanced, just like real human beings. Most have a little evil in them, along with some good. Great interview!

  4. My favorite Cinderella story is Cinder. It is such a unique idea!

  5. I love Cinder, I love fantasy books and fairy tales especially modern retellings! I have wanted to read this book for awhile and have had it in my to read list, thank you for the chance to win it! ;)

  6. I'm reading this one soon - I love the unique twist on a classic story!

  7. Great interview, ladies! I also love seeing all these retellings about hated characters even in movies. It's a fascinated POV - at least for someone like me who's fascinated by evil haha. And wow a skydiver! I've alwys wanted to try but my fear of heights makes this impossible lol!

  8. I love how original this one sounds!

  9. I cannot wait to read this one and I also can't wait for Fairest :) I love retellings, especially ones that don't follow the traditional story to a tee so both of these sound phenomenal!!!! Awesome interview!

  10. Alisha Sienkiel in rafflecopter

    My favorite Cinderella story is definitely Cinder. Thanks so much!!!

  11. Beyond excited for this!! I love the cover and the concept behind the retelling!! I also LOVE the original Grimm tales


I hope you know that every time you comment, an angel gets its wings.

OK, not really, but thanks for popping by!