Since ‘Till the Last Petal Falls is a sort of re-telling of one of my favorite fairy-tales, the Beauty & the Beast, I thought it might be nice to talk to other authors who had taken on this classic story. Here to tell us about her version, Sub Rosa, which features a male ‘Belle’ and a female ‘Beast’, is Mia Darien, author of more than seventeen titles in Sci-Fi, Romance, Mystery and Thrillers.
Elizabeth Rose: Tell us a little bit about the title of the book. What does it mean?
Mia Darien: Roses are a prominent theme in both the original “Beauty & the Beast” and my own. The phrase ‘sub rosa’ is Latin for ‘under the rose,’ which has come to mean secrecy or confidentiality. (This is according to Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sub_rosa.) As a beast under a magical spell in a castle hidden in the woods has something of a secret going on, and many a tie to the rose, it seemed appropriate for the title of the story.
ER: What made you decide to switch the genders of the main characters?
MD: I like mixing things up, and it hadn’t been done before. At least, I’ve yet to see it or find it, so I figured… Why not?
ER:Is there any special difficulty writing with an opposite-to-author gender character?
MD: There always is, to some degree, but I’ve been told that my female characters tend to be a little more masculine, so I guess not as hard for me as for some. *lol* I’ve always had a bit of the tomboy to me, so that helps when trying to write guys. And I always try to have some male beta readers to help make sure my guy sounds like a guy. I think if you write enough, you would really hinder yourself to only write characters of your own gender.
ER: Without giving the story away, what do you think is the main thing that really changes in the story when the roles are flipped?
MD: The Beast, I think. In most of the versions, the Beast is more angry and aggressive. This is a typical male reaction. I tried to make my Beast different than that. I find she is sadder and a little more melancholy.
ER: Who was your favorite character to write?
MD: I liked writing Beast, but through Beau’s eyes. I think it was more fun to do that than to try to write from her perspective. That’s the standard for a Beauty & the Beast tale anyways, but with the new genders, it felt like fun.
ER: There are many different versions of Beauty and the Beast, even just as the original tale, floating around. Which version would you say most inspired you to write your version?
MD: I grew up watching the Disney version, so that one probably did it. I don’t know that it actually “inspired” me so much as I just liked the story.
ER: What, in your opinion, is the hardest part about writing a re-telling?
MD: Trying to be true to the tale and still original in some way. For this one, I tried to stay closer to the original story than I plan to in the future of the series.
ER: It says that Sub Rosa is the first Turnabout Tale. Could you tell us more about the series? Where do you plan on going with it, do you have any more installments in the works?
MD: My plan is to take all the fairy tales that strike my fancy and turn them on their ears, more so than I did with Sub Rosa. The story of Rapunzel is next, which will feature a Female/Female romance, and then Sleeping Beauty, with the same gender swap as Beauty & the Beast. But aside from their themes, they won’t be interlinked at all — characters will not cross over or carry through different stories. Each one will be independent, just linked by their mixing-it-up.
Mia Darien has lived in New England all of her life and knows that no matter where she goes from here, New England is always going to live in her. Presently, she still lives in the land of snow and fast talkers, with her husband, her son and her pets. She writes a bit of everything genre fiction (horror, romance, mystery, fantasy and science fiction) and thinks it sounds like an odd joke: a unicorn, a space monster, and a pair of zombie lovers walk into a murder investigation…
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