Rihza Connect is proud to announce that Unhinged, by Amanda Deed, has been shortlisted for the Caleb Prize 2018.
Amanda talks about the inspiration for her intertextualised fairy tales ...
Once upon a time … I was a child who loved fairy tales. Now I am an adult and I still love fairy tales, and happy ever afters, and romantic stories. Actually, I can’t remember exactly when this attachment began, but perhaps it is related to the amazing sacrificial love story of God and his people, which means more to me than any other story and by which I compare all other love stories.
When I started writing books in earnest I thought it would be fun to re-write some of my favourite fairy tales in my genre of choice—Australian Historical Romance—and sticking with the themes that speak to me in these stories.
I tackled Cinderella first, setting it in Hay, NSW in the 1880s with a theme of self-esteem. Unnoticed was thus born and subsequently published.
Next, I wanted to do Beauty and the Beast, but rather than make the Beast animal-like, or beastly in attitude, or with a physical deformity, I wondered if I could make him a sufferer of mental illness.
One day, while I was reading my Bible, I came across the story of Nebuchadnezzar, a Babylonian king whose pride lead to a humbling downfall. It was prophesied to him that unless he acknowledged God as creator and king over all, he would go mad and live with the animals for a time until he did bow to the Almighty. He didn’t listen to the prophecy and so what was said came true. He was humbled, and on his return to sanity, he acknowledged God as the King of Kings.
Could I use that account in my Beauty and the Beast story and bring more awareness to the mental health issues which are so prevalent in our society, I wondered? It promised to work well in a historical setting: mental health patients were treated like criminals in those days and the treatments were inhumane.
With those ideas in place and after much research of the 1840s time and setting, I began to write Unhinged. Although I had a good story in mind, it was nevertheless challenging to write because, in reality, loving a person with severe mental health issues is sometimes very difficult. Hopefully I have been successful in showing those struggles within the novel as well as offering hope and a future. And, of course, the happy-ever-after that appeals to all lovers of fairy tales.
I am currently working on a third fairy tale – Rapunzel – which I am calling Unravelled, so stay tuned.
Take a look at all Amanda's books HERE
Buy all six of Amanda's novels for the special price of $80 Inc Free Postage