CULTURE & ARTS
06/30/2016 04:52 pm ET

A Wild New Fairy Tale Breaks Down The Barrier Between Good And Evil

Danielle Paige talks about her new book based on “The Snow Queen.”

Before the earwormy Disney hit “Frozen” made sentimental children of us all, Hans Christian Andersen wrote a story about a young girl who saves her sibling from the icy grip of a wrathful queen. “The Snow Queen,” one of the longest early fairy tales, follows Kay, a boy who’s pierced by a wicked troll-mirror, and his sister, Gerda, who saves him from the sinister young man he becomes.

It’s a story that puts good and evil in stark opposition, while recognizing that one individual can undergo a transformation, waffling between the two depending on his experiences. 

It’s an oft-adapted tale, one that’s given new life in a forthcoming book by Young Adult author Danielle Paige, whose writing interests lie in fairy tales, fantasy, and soap operas, which she writes for her day job. I spoke with Paige about her dynamic writing career, and why disrupting the idea of good versus evil is always a fun task.

Bloomsbury

On her forthcoming book, Stealing Snow, and the beauty of fairy tales: 

I absolutely love fairy tales. This one is based on “The Snow Queen,” and it’s how the Snow Queen became evil. I think as a kid […] I just fell in love with them. I never thought this would be my journey, but it’s just been so much fun.

I think everyone is more familiar with [“The Snow Queen”] from “Frozen” now. But “Frozen” is a really sweet take on the story, and I’ve always kind of liked that it’s this dark little creepy thing, about a girl who steals a boy to solve a puzzle. Something about it struck me when I was a kid. I liked that it wasn’t so simple.

On the problem of breaking characters down into good versus evil:

I think I learned this from my soap opera days, honestly, but I don’t think anyone who’s a villain thinks they’re villain. I think everyone has their [...] reasons for how they ended up the way they ended up. I was always fascinated by how a person became dark. I think there’s good and bad in everyone.

On working as a writer for soap operas:

I spent the day with cute actors, and researching stories in the writer’s office. My job was to do character research, and it was really fun. I was [on “Guiding Light”] way back in the day when Matt Bomer was on the show, and Hayden Panettiere. It was a good training ground, I think, to learn how to write fantasy. Soap writing is really about making unbelievable things feel believable.

On writing teen love stories, versus adult love stories:

I can say that the love scenes don’t go quite as far. When you’re writing soaps, it’s like, take this as far as the camera people will possibly allow. But [teen love stories are] more about the firsts, it’s more romantic, you’re figuring out stuff. You’re approaching first love, and first kisses, and first everything.

 

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