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October 17, 2012

2 & 20 Dark Tales Tour: Interview with Jessie Harrell

Today I have with me Jessie Harrell who is part of the 2 and 20 Dark Tales anthology which is a bunch of retellings of classic Mother Goose nursery rhymes

What is your favorite Mother Goose Rhyme besides the one you wrote about, and why?
I can remember back to being a little kid and singing Sing a Song of Sixpence, because what isn’t awesome about a pie full of blackbirds that end up snipping off the maid’s nose?  (Although I must say, Sarwat Chadda did an amazing job with this one!) She really did! But it would be cool to see your take on it.

Do you have any other favorite nursery rhymes that are not in this book that you would like to see re-imagined?
I can see Peter Pumpkin-eater being redone in a really creepy way. That sounds like spousal imprisonment to me.  And if you were locked inside a room with sticky, dripping walls?  Like I said, creepy. Oh, that would be cool!

If you could write a totally new nursery rhyme what would it be about?
Since I have children of my own, I tend to think I’d write much happier rhymes than good old Mother Goose.  Maybe something about a nighttime ballet between the moon and the stars at night. Something that feels magical and calming.  (But don’t ask me to actually write it - there’s a reason I write YA and not children’s books.)

Why did you decide to revisit the Mother Goose Rhyme that you did?
Actually, Hey, Diddle, Diddle was assigned to me by the editor, Georgia McBride.  And I must say, it worked out so well.  At first, I had no idea what do with a fiddle-playing cat, laughing dog and moon-jumping cow.  But I knew I wanted to tie the story into mythology somehow (since my novel, Destined, is a Greek myth retelling).  After doing some research and realizing that the Egyptians had gods represented by a cat, cow and jackal (close enough) - and they all had roles in the afterlife - I had the seeds for my retelling. It was a very cool take on Hey, Diddle, Diddle and unlike anything I would have thought of!

What is another childhood favorite (book or story) that you would like to revisit?
That’s hard to say. I’m thinking the Grimm tales lend themselves best to new interpretations, but so many of the good ones have already been taken (Jackson Pearce does a great job with these retellings).  Since I’m such a mythology nut, I would like to do more of these retellings.  My seven year old knows who Medusa is, so that counts, right?  I would love to paint her in a better light - in the time before she was a monster.  That would be cool! I would read it :)

What made you want to be part of this anthology?
Not only is the idea totally unique, but the proceeds from the first 5,000 sales go to charity.  It was definitely worth the opportunity to stretch myself as an author and give back to the community.
If you could be any Mother Goose Rhyme character who would you be and why?
Mary, Mary quite contrary -- I’m an attorney, need I say more? I can find a counter-point to about anything. 

Thank you so much to Jessie Harnell for doing this interview! And be sure to check out her story in 2 and 20 Dark Tales. You are definitely in for a treat with her story and all the other ones! 

Check out the next stop on the tour at Literary Escapism

Check out my review of 2 & 20 Dark Tales here
Enter to win a copy of Jessie Harrell's Destined by filling out this form:

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  1. Twinkle, twinkle little star (how I wonder what you are)...so much potential right there!!

    1. That would be cool to see how they interpreted it and expanded on it!

  2. Humpty Dumpty. I think you can do something with an anti bullying message, etc.


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