Author K.S. Trenten has popped over to tell us who’s the fairest of them all in her reinvention of the Cinderella story for the NineStar Press anthology, Once Upon a Rainbow, Volume 2.
I’ve been thinking about desire, what makes a person desirable for quite some time.
Certain images are used in the media, marketed as desirable. A massive, bare male chest. Prodigious feminine cleavage. Bare skin, ripped shirts, and slitted skirts.
There’s a very different aesthetic in certain types of Japanese manga and anime, an aesthetic which hooks me and reels me in. It’s an aesthetic that gives characters an androgynous, almost angelic perfection beyond gender.
The latter works much better on hooking me. The former has captivated countless readers.
This got me thinking about how different notions of desire could be. Lately, I’ve had a mischievous impulse to explore eccentric tastes, ideas of beauty that most people would raise their eyebrows at. This impulse inspired me to write ‘Seven Tricks’ but I’d explored this theme in an earlier story, ‘At Her Service’.
One wouldn’t think of a bony ankle as being sexy. The old ‘Cinderella’ image of the wicked stepsisters, trying to cram their enormous feet into the tiny slipper isn’t meant to be attractive.
We’re supposed to laugh at it. What if someone didn’t? What if that someone enjoyed tickling and squeezing her mistress’s big, bony foot into a small glass shoe? How could I make it a sensual experience? How could I relay how she felt, touching that foot?
I was already thinking she, because ‘At Her Service’ was originally intended to be a f/f story for a fairy tale anthology. I’d started writing the story which would become ‘Fairest’, when inspiration for another submission struck.
I was trying to reinvent classic fairy tales without the prince. In Cinderella, Snow White, and Sleeping Beauty, the conflict is between the main character and a woman who torments her, hunts her, or curses her. Sometimes she’s a wicked stepmother. Sometimes she’s a evil queen. Sometimes she’s a witch or faerie.
What if she was something else entirely to the main character?
I love fusing romantic tension into a conflict between two characters. Once I had the initial idea of the slipper, the rest of my story began to blossom around Cinders and her mistress.
Cinders would be a girl very much like I once was. A klutz, perfectly hopeless at housework. There was only one thing she had any skill at, coaxing her mistress’s feet into the glass slippers. She’d pour all of her repressed passion for her mistress into this act. For this Cinderella was going to be infatuated with her lady, not some prince she met at a ball.
I couldn’t dismiss the prince, though. I found myself thinking a lot about him, the power of the myth surrounding him (see my interview with Matt Doyle). Exploring that legend provided another source of inspiration for the story.
Ultimately, I wanted Cinders not to be interested in him. He’d court her, try to tempt her, but he’d be unable to offer her what she really wants.
Not every girl can be swept off her feet. Some are more than happy to simply admire another girl’s ankles.
Cinders is one of them.
Thanks for joining me at my place today, K.S. Trenten. You can check out some wonderful twists on classic fairy tales, including the story At Your Service, in Once Upon a Rainbow Volume 2.
Then go and check out her blogs. Yes, blogs, plural. Also known as the Cauldrons of Eternal Inspiration.