Fairy Tale Origins: A Guest Post by Denise Deegan, Author of The Prince and the Pea

The Prince and the pea

Having met her in real life recently, I’m delighted to welcome Denise Deegan, author of The Prince and the Pea, back to Linda’s Book Bag. I previously featured a smashing guest post about Irish writing from Denise here, so it’s lovely to have another, very different piece from her today.

The Prince and the Pea is a Kindle Single released today 10th October 2017 and is available for purchase here.

The Prince and the Pea

The Prince and the pea

As heir to the throne, Prince Richard is expected to marry well, and his parents are adamant that only the finest princess will do. But is royal blood really more important than the spark of true love?

His father, the king, has devised his own test of true royalty, inviting the haughtiest heiress for miles around to spend a night at the castle, balanced atop a pile of mattresses concealing a single pea. But even though she passes the test, she is too outraged by sleep deprivation to stay beyond breakfast. Meanwhile Richard can’t stop thinking about Rosie O’Toole, the charming chambermaid who has taught him how to lay a fire and find true meaning in his life…

When Rosie is unfairly dismissed and disappears without a trace, Richard is determined to find her. He must bring her back to the castle and reinstate her at once. But as he grows more desperate, Richard realises that he is no longer searching for a chambermaid, but for his one true love.

The Strange Origin of a Fairy-tale Retelling

A Guest Post by Denise Deegan

If you were to look at my writing career, you would probably say, “What is she up to? She’s all over the place. She’s Aimee Alexander and Denise Deegan. She writes for adults and teenagers. She jumps between contemporary and historical. And what’s this? A fairy-tale retelling?”

OK, so you mightn’t say all of that. You might wonder, though. The only explanation I can give is that I write what comes to me, this latest being a fairy-tale retelling of The Princess and the Pea. How did it come to me? That’s when things gets a little bit strange.

The Prince and the Pea happened like this… I just started writing with no actual intention. The words flowed through me. It felt as though I was channelling not choosing them. When I got to “The End”, I asked myself, “Where did that come from?”

Butterfly novels

It occurred to me, then, in a moment of weirdness, that The Prince and the Pea was created, not by me, but by a character from one of my other stories, a teenager called Rachel in my YA series, The Butterfly Novels. In the third of the trilogy, And Actually, Rachel judges her brother’s new girlfriend on whether or not she likes the fairy tale, The Princess and the Pea.

The Princess and the Pea was not one of Rachel’s favourites. She thought the princess precious. A pea? So what? Shouldn’t she have been more worried by all those mattresses and their potential for a nasty fall? The princess was rewarded for being sniffy and complaining. Her reward was a prince. What if the prince was a pratt? These were Rachel’s thoughts.

They climbed into my head and became a story. Does it throw me that a fictional character wrote a story through me? Noooo! I love it. My characters are real people to me. And what could be more real for one of them to write their own fiction through me?

It thrills me that this quirky little story is going out into the world. Which of my fractured audiences is it for? Actually, all. Adults, teens, kids. It is for anyone who believes in true love. It is anyone who believes in controlling destiny. It is for anyone who believes in the individual not the “crown”. And it is for those who like to smile at the world sometimes.

The Prince and the Pea is published by Amazon Publishing today October 10th and retails at the “princely” sum of less than a coffee here.

My Review of The Prince and the Pea

A reworking of a traditional tale from the Prince’s point of view.

At the price of half a cup of tea and about a third of a cup of coffee, I thought The Prince and the Pea was exceptional value. Denise Deegan has taken a well known story and given a fresh new twist so that we see events from a totally different perspective.

Alongside the smooth quality of the writing is a perfect pitch and tone for this kind of tale so that it would appeal to readers of all ages. I really liked the interesting and unusual perspectives so that we have a more rounded and in depth story than is usual in a fairy tale, whilst still retaining the moral examples we expect.

I also loved the themes that again are relevant to all age groups. The way in which we treat those around us, our relationships with those of different social status and our families are all sensitively portrayed so that, although the Prince and the Pea is a short story, it packs a punch. It was so good to have traditional love underpinning a traditional story in both a recognisable and innovative format.

The Prince and the Pea is a smashing way to while away half an hour with that cup of tea!

About Denise Deegan


Denise Deegan lives in Dublin with her family where she regularly dreams of sunshine, a life without cooking and her novels being made into movies. She has a Masters in Public Relations and has been a college lecturer, nurse, china restorer, pharmaceutical sales rep, public relations executive and entrepreneur. Denise’s books have been published by Penguin, Random House, Hachette and Lake Union Publishing. Denise writes contemporary family dramas under the pen name Aimee Alexander. They have become international best-sellers on Kindle.

You can follow Denise on Twitter and find her on Facebook and Instagram.

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