Monday, December 3, 2012

Guest Author Post: Hope Tarr and Writing the Modern Fairytale Romance

I grew up eating, breathing, and dreaming fairytales. My first crush in elementary school was a boy named Phillip. He looked, or so I thought, like the Prince Phillip of the animated Disney film, “Sleeping Beauty.” Following a semester of silent stalking, I struck up the nerve to declare my feelings to Phillip.

 “Phillip, I…um…really um…like you.”

“Get away from me, weirdo!”

He punched me in the stomach and strode off in disgust.

So much for first love.

Flash forward several decades…Happily my taste in “men” has improved considerably and my fascination with fairytales is as strong as ever. And I’m far from alone. From ABC’s uber popular “Once Upon a Time” to movies such as “Snow White and the Huntsman,” fairytales are enjoying almost unprecedented modern day popularity. It’s as though a curse has been lifted and suddenly we all have permission to believe again—in right overcoming might, in True Love triumphing over not only evil but lesser emotions, and in the imminent achievability of Happily Ever After, whatever form that my take for you.

Fairytales teach us that we all have the power to write our own story—and to forge a fresh start when that “story” isn’t going so well. Fairytales are all about the underdog winning—and in my novels I always have an underdog, usually the hero or heroine, sometimes both. There also needs to be an epic struggle. That struggle takes place in the form of external obstacles to be surmounted but the most important battles are fought internally—in the minds and hearts of the characters.

In my “Suddenly Cinderella” Series, four unlikely Cinderellas are helped along by fairy god friends and a just possibly magical pair of vintage Saks Fifth Avenue shoes. 

The series starts off with OPERATION CINDERELLA, an opposites’ attract story as well as a battle-of-the-sexes—and really, who among us doesn’t relish a good blowout battle-of-the-sexes, especially with a Cinderella theme and a vintage pair of Saks Fifth Avenue red shoes involved?

Goth-girl magazine features editor, Macie Graham runs afoul of  sexy conservative radio talk-show host, Ross Mannon after Ross objects to a story she’s run advocating teen birth control—“Forget the Fairy Tale, Teen Sex is Fact, not Fiction.” “Objects” is actually too tepid a word. He makes Macie and her publication the featured topic of his “Ross’s Rant,” and the ensuing negative publicity prompts a major advertiser to pull its account from the magazine. 

With her job on the line—and the chip carried on her shoulder against holier than thou types like Ross weightier than ever— Macie resolves dig up the dirt on him for a no holds barred exposé. To do so, she goes undercover as his live-in housekeeper. Managing the masquerade requires that she make a Cinderella transformation in reverse. But when Ross reveals himself to be more prince than frog, only the surprise gift of a pair of vintage red velvet shoes once belonging to a famous silver screen era actress link her to her “true” self. Will Macie ditch Operation Cinderella or risk losing the Happily Ever After she didn’t realize she could still want?

A winter holiday novella and two more books follow. A CINDERELLA CHRISTMAS CAROL (November 2012) integrates elements of Cinderella with the Dickens’ classic. The twist: the heroine is both Cinderella and Scrooge!

PROJECT CINDERELLA (March 2013) takes place on the set of an extreme makeover reality TV show where the hero, Gregory Knickerbocker, is one of a cast of “Cinderella” contestants each paired with a fairy godmother style coach. Fashion photographer Francesca St. James (Ross’s ex in OPERATION CINDERELLA) has never shied away from a challenge and transforming a tech geek like Greg from Ugly Duckling to Swan will certainly be that. In the process, she will learn a thing about “true” beauty.

In the series finale, THE CINDERELLA CAPER (June 2013), Cinderella is a plus-size Greek American personal chef—readers first meet Stefanie in OPERATION CINDERELLA—forced to make fat-free meals for her diet-obsessed stepmother and stepsisters. Accepting a gig as the personal chef for sexy Greek tycoon Nicholai takes Stef out of her humble kitchen—and her comfort zone. Can she overcome her insecurities and see herself as Nick does before it’s too late?

I’ll end my…babbling here with the heartfelt hope that readers will love Macie and Ross, Starr and Matt, Francesca and Greg, and Stef and Nick as much as I’ve come to.

Thanks so much for hosting me, Kate!

Wishing everyone a holiday season brimming with fairytale dreams-come-true!!!

Hope Tarr is the award-winning author of twenty historical and contemporary romances including Operation Cinderella, the launch to her Suddenly Cinderella Series with Entangled Publishing, and A Cinderella Christmas Carol, an in-series winter holiday novella available for 99 cents. Hope is also a cofounder and current principal of Lady Jane’s Salon™, New York’s first and so far only monthly romance reading series, now in its fourth year with four satellite Salons nationwide. Find Hope online at,, and on Twitter @HopeTarr.