If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time, you know that I LOVE fairy tales and I especially LOVE fresh adaptations. Today’s story, “Moldilocks and the 3 Scares,” is a brand new favorite that I get to share with you!
Author Lynne Marie has visited my blog a few times before. She had written adorable picture books about a loveable hedgehog just starting school and a cute little giraffe who wants to act. Her latest book takes a turn in new territory and her upcoming book due out this fall will be her first nonfiction book, with even more soon to come! When she’s not cruising around the world, she lives on a lake in South Florida with her family, a Schipperke named Anakin and several resident water birds. She’s represented by Deborah Warren of East West Literary Agency. You can learn more about her at her website.
“Moldilocks and the 3 Scares: a Zombie Tale” is a very unique fairy tale adaptation of Goldilocks and the three bears. I’ve seen many unique twists on the tale, but I admit that this one takes the cake! There are very few picture books on zombies that can make them cute and approachable. (“Peanut Butter and Brains” by Joe McGee and the “Zombie in Love” series by Kelly DiPucchio are the only two I know of that do the same thing.) This story is a great addition to that set (perfect for kiddos craving the creepy but not wanting to be totally creeped out.)
Welcome back Lynne!
Me: After seeing you create some of the most adorable picture book characters I know (a cute hedgehog, a loveable giraffe), I have to ask: why zombies? That seems like quite a left turn for you!
Lynne: Good question! The hedgehog was inspired by one of my actual pets (Apollo Nike, who we called Nike or Spiky Nike – pronounced NIGH-KEY – for short), and Raffi was inspired by my daughter’s stuffed lovey, but Moldilocks came to me from playing around with the title Goldilocks and the Three Bears. The rhyme Moldilocks crossed my mind – who could only be a zombie (as what else would be lying around and moldy), and then the Scares / Monsters easily followed from that! I’ll be honest — I’ve never watched The Walking Dead. Although I can’t say Monsters are not my things. Some of my favorite shows growing up were: The Munsters, The Addams Family and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein – The True Story (with Michael Sarazzin). But apart from those, I never really watched many horror movies. I absolutely LOVE the modern Phantom of the Opera movies though. Some of my favorites!
Me: I LOVE this story. It’s such a great adaptation of Goldilocks & the 3 bears! And it fixes a problem that I never realized bothered me so much until I read your version. What inspired this story?
Lynne: I love writing fractured fairy tales and am always playing around with possibilities. When I had the idea during Storystorm one year to rewrite the Goldilocks Tale (one of my favorites, except I didn’t really like the idea that Goldie was a trespasser/intruder), I played around with titles as above. But then I read almost 100 picture books. I read every Goldilocks variation and and as many fractured tales as I could get my hands on. That helped me see what had been done before, and what hadn’t. It helped inform my idea of making Moldilocks lured in, and the answer to the Scare’s nightmares (fate), rather than her being an intruder. The rest came naturally. So I don’t repeat myself too much, you can see the rest of the story in Kathy Temean’s Writing and Illustrating Blog.
Me: There are plenty of fairy tales out there and retelling them happens frequently. It can seem daunting to want to tell one of them in a fresh way. What made Goldilocks stand out to you in terms of retelling?
Lynne: In today’s market, books need to have three hooks, and I knew that. Because the Goldilocks tale is popular, I already had a built-in hook. But of course, that wasn’t enough. Being an adopted child myself, I saw, or rather wanted to see, Goldilocks as an orphan seeking something, rather than a brat. So I guess you can say, because of who I am, I was able to bring something to the story that it didn’t have. Heart and the healing of an orphan/foster kid and a family who had something missing in their lives. And because I added monsters, that added a Halloween tie-in to the book, as well. So there you have three hooks!
Me: The illustrations by David Rodriguez Lorenzo are perfect: not too scary, not too sweet. It reminded me ever so slightly of Adam Rex’s work in “Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich” or maybe even LeUyen Pham’s illustration work in the “Vampirina Ballerina” books. Were there any illustrating surprises for you?
Lynne: I actually LOVE both of those books! Hmmm…yes. I was surprised that Baby Scare ended up having red hair, but it’s cute and sweet since it nods to the Scottish heritage I grew up in. I was also really surprised that Moldilocks didn’t have dirt brown hair and/or any worms in her hair since she came from the ground, but I guess that is because I had my own image of her in my head for so long. This is an example of the illustrator bringing his/her own vision to the story, and David did a fabulous job.
Me: What is one thing that surprised you in writing this story?
Lynne: I was a little surprised that I had the idea in my head for so long and that it just didn’t come together, and then, when it did all come together and came to life, it was like a stroke of lightning!
Me: Any advice or inspiration for new picture book writers and/or illustrators?
Lynne: If your readers are my followers, they will be hearing the same advice. READ. READ. READ. WRITE. WRITE. WRITE. REVISE. REVISE. REVISE. SUBMIT to critique groups. SUBMIT again. SUBMIT again. Then reVISION if you have to. Do what you have to do to make the story work. And don’t send it out until you’re being told by your trusted, qualified critique group or a professional that it’s ready.
And I especially recommend a reading list of 100 books for EVERY MS project you focus on. For example, for a current project, my reading list goals would be split like this. Up to 50 books on parent/child relationships, and as many books as I can find on orchestras and nature. As close to 100 as I can get. So basically, to say it another way, my book about Friendship, with an Anteater and a Dog, would include reading 50 or so books on Friendship, and as many as I can with Anteater main characters, and the rest about dogs, as well as many books about jokes or that incorporate humor. I hope that makes sense.
You need to see what’s out there to make sure your book has not been done and that it stands out among the rest. Keep a list with title, author, publisher, date and jacket flap copy. This is also a good way to find market holes and places to submit (or not submit).
Me: If you could be any classic movie monster, which one would it be and why?
Lynne: Well, there really aren’t a lot of choices that would fit me where I could still have long hair and wear make-up and dresses, so I will have to pick Bride of Frankenstein. I am a former Wedding Planner so that one suits me, I think. 🙂 I love wedding dresses and planning weddings. But you have given me an idea, since most movie monsters are males. Except Godzilla — there is some controversy…
But if I had to be an ACTUAL monster, I have always been fascinated by the elusive Loch Ness Monster and pea-green envious that it gets to live in Scotland in a beautiful, peaceful lake! I realize I love living by the water and have for my entire life.
Ha! Perfect. Dear readers, if you get a chance, you must track this book down and give it a read. I promise it will be worth your while!