“After the Ball” is in Innocence and Deceit, the second volume in the Ever After Fairy Tales anthology series.
Enter the magical, unpredictable, wonderful world of fairy tales!
Meet Pam McCutcheon!
Pam writes romance, young adult/new adult urban fantasy, and fantasy. She writes humorous romance in the Dogwood series, which she collaborates on with a number of her author friends, and which allows her to combine her love for writing with her love for dogs.
“After the Ball”
Cinderella’s stepmother gets the chance to tell her side of the story….
Griselda seethed in silence. She and her poor, mistreated daughters were forced to stand humbled before the few members of the court while her stepdaughter was allowed to sit in the royal presence. It was so unfair. Cinderella had captured the prince’s heart with her evil, deceitful spells and Griselda’s daughters were left with nothing but ashes. Worse, they had to stay mute behind their mother and watch as she was unjustly humiliated.
Griselda raised her chin. “I have done nothing wrong. What am I accused of?”
The elegant dark-haired queen, who still retained the beauty she had been famed for in her youth, frowned. “You are accused of being a bad parent to an orphaned child left in your care, of treating a gentlewoman like a servant, and of being cruel to a gentle soul.”
Griselda almost snorted in disbelief. Cinderella, a gentle soul? The conniving chit was more wily and crafty than anyone she knew. And being a bad parent was no crime, or half the parents in the kingdom would be in the dungeons.
“She has bewitched all of you,” Griselda said scornfully. None more so than the prince, who stared, besotted, at Cinderella’s glowing beauty. And where, pray tell, did they think she had acquired her good looks? She certainly hadn’t looked like that before the ball.
—from “After the Ball” by Pam McCutcheon
“After the Ball” is a fun look at the story of Cinderella from the point of view of Griselda, Cinderella’s stepmother. What was your favorite part about writing this story?
Someone asked me to rewrite a fairy tale from the point of view of one of the secondary characters. I loved writing how Cinderella’s actions appeared to her evil stepmother…who obviously didn’t think she was the villain.
The original fairy tales were often cautionary tales, told to teach lessons. Do you find some of these lessons still apply in today’s world?
Somewhat. A lot of the original fairy tales (as told by the Brothers Grimm) were really grim (pun intended). They’ve been sanitized for today’s audience, so the lessons aren’t as pointed, or as scary.
Is there a fairy tale tale that you really enjoy, or which has stuck with you? If so, which one—and what do you find compelling about this particular story?
I can’t say that there’s just one. Fairy tales were the first stories I fell in love with as a child—the sanitized versions, of course—which led to my love of fantasy, science fiction, and all things paranormal.
You’ve participated in several series where each author writes one (or more) novels. What have you learned from these projects?
That communication is extremely important to ensure the authors don’t step on each other’s toes, are respectful of each other’s characters, and ensure the world is cohesive.
In addition to writing fantasy, romantic comedy, and paranormal romance, you write YA fantasy under the pen name Parker Blue. What do you enjoy about writing under two different names, and is the experience of writing different depending on which persona you’re writing as?
All of all my stories have comedy in them in one way or another, with the exception of a dark novella that I wrote to prove to myself that I could. I didn’t enjoy that one as much though, so humor is a constant now, whether it’s mildly amusing or slapstick. Parker Blue is a bit darker and more sarcastic than Pam, and has a snarky telepathic hound who readers (and I) love. I have to reread my books to get back in the right “voice” to write as Parker Blue, so it takes a bit more immersion in the world to get in the right head space to do that. But once I’m in, I love the ability to say things in my writing that I would never say out loud…though my friends would tell you I’m not afraid to say anything. 🙂
What story (or stories) are you working on now, and what’s fun about what you’re writing?
I just finished a short story in a shared world I’m writing with friends. It’s a sweet romance series set in a fictional town where a matchmaking dog brings soul mates together. Hey, it’s about dogs. What’s not to like? But since Parker Blue fans are getting restless, I’m working on a series of four novellas in that Demon Underground series about some of the secondary characters who really appeal to me. Again, writing about my snarky hellhound Fang and his partner, a vampire-hunting teenaged succubus is a blast!
Pam McCutcheon is the award-winning author of romance novels ranging from fantasy, futuristic, paranormal and time travel to contemporary romantic comedy. She also has two nonfiction how-to books for writers in print, has written fantasy short stories, and writes the Demon Underground New Adult urban fantasy series under the name Parker Blue.
After many years of working for the military as enlisted, officer and civil service successively, she left her industrial engineering position to pursue her first love—a career in publishing. She can be found in beautiful Colorado Springs with her dog Honey.