It gives me enormous pleasure to welcome Helena Fairfax to Linda’s Book Bag today with a guest post all about fairy tales and the trickery that has inspired A Year of Light and Shadows. Available in e-book with a paperback to follow soon, A Year of Light and Shadows is available on pre-order from major e-tailers including Amazon and Kobo.
A Year of Light and Shadows
A Year of Light and Shadows contains three romantic mysteries in one volume.
Palace of Deception
From the heat of the Mediterranean….
When the Princess of Montverrier goes missing, Lizzie Smith takes on the acting job of her life. Alone and surrounded by intrigue in the Royal Palace, she relies on her quiet bodyguard, Léon. But who is he really protecting? Lizzie…or the Princess?
The Scottish Diamond
To the heart of Scotland…
Home in Scotland, Lizzie begins rehearsals for Macbeth, and finds danger stalking her through the streets of Edinburgh. She turns to her former bodyguard, Léon, for help – and discovers a secret he’d do anything not to reveal…
A Question by Torchlight
A story of mystery and romance…
The approach of Hogmanay in Edinburgh means a new year and new resolutions. Lizzie and Léon have put their year of danger behind them. But something is still troubling Léon, and Lizzie fears the worst…
Trick or Treat? Fairy Tales and Trickery
A Year of Light and Shadows
A Guest Post by Helena Fairfax
Ever since I was a child, I’ve always loved fairy tales that involve some sort of trickery or deception. There’s the big bad wolf, who dresses up as grandma, or the wicked stepmother, who tricks Snow White into biting into a poisoned apple. There’s something so appealing to children about characters who play wily tricks. One of the most enduring tricksters is Puss-in-Boots, who tells his master to take off his clothes and jump in the river, and then tricks the king by pretending their clothes have been stolen, and that they are both wealthy noblemen. It’s the start of a series of tricks and deceptions that make Puss-in-Boots wealthier and wealthier, and as a child I was riveted.
Sometimes I wonder if children love these stories so much because in the real world children lack physical strength and are powerless. Cunning can overcome strength, and so with these fairy tales perhaps children can feel empowered and that anything is possible if they use their intelligence and imagination.
A Year of Light and Shadows is a collection of two romantic suspense novellas and a short story in which trickery and deceit play a major role. It’s only recently that I’ve realised how much these stories follow in the fairy tale tradition. It would be giving away too much to reveal the deceptions that gradually come to light. I can say that they were great fun to write!
My heroine, actress Lizzie Smith, is also in the fairy tale tradition. She’s an ordinary young woman who is whisked out of her circumstances. The “handsome prince” of the story is Léon, who is a bodyguard for the royal family in the fictional country of Montverrier. Montverrier is only a small principality – about the size of Monaco – and so over the centuries its people have developed a wily cunning that makes up for their lack of strength. My hero, Léon, recounts fantastical tales of fabulous diamonds lost at cards through trickery, or an entire Roman fleet deceived into thinking their men were possessed. I loved writing these scenes, and I think it’s their fairy tale quality that appeals to me so much.
We’re coming up to the season of “Trick or Treat” – so what better time to release my collection!
Did you have any favourite fairy tales as a child? Why do you think children love these stories, and why do you think they’ve endured so long? If you’ve enjoyed my post, or have any comments at all, I’d love to hear from you.
Thanks so much for having me today, Linda. It’s been great fun revisiting the schemes and intrigues of my stories, and the fairy tales that inspired them.
My pleasure Helena. It has been fascinating reading your guest post.
About Helena Fairfax
Helena Fairfax writes engaging contemporary romances with sympathetic heroines and heroes she’s secretly in love with. Her first novel, The Silk Romance, was a contender for the UK’s Romantic Novelists’ Association New Writers’ Scheme Award and a runner-up in the Global Ebook Awards. The Scottish Diamond was a finalist in the I Heart Indie Awards. Helena Fairfax was shortlisted for the Exeter Novel Prize in 2014.
When not writing, Helena walks the Yorkshire moors near her home every day with her rescue dog, finding the romantic landscape the perfect place to dream up her heroes and her happy endings.
If you’d like to get in touch with Helena, or find out more about her books, writing, and photos of her settings or the Yorkshire moors where she lives, please follow her newsletter by subscribing here. All new subscribers to Helena’s newsletter will receive a free copy of Palace of Deception – the first book in the collection A Year of Light and Shadows.
All of Helena’s lovely books can be found here.