Long before I could read, I loved listening to fairy tales. I remember the magic I felt at the impossible happening. Fairy tales still fascinate. I savor good overcoming evil and bask in the knowledge that deep personal trials reap huge rewards. I’m still a sucker for stories like Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzul, Beauty and the Beast, and The Ugly Duckling to name a few.
The prince or princess always had to go through some horrible tragedy to get the person of their dreams in the end. Like Cinderella, they’re often the underdogs. And sometimes they might’ve been ugly. Remember the princess who kissed the frogs until one magically turned into a handsome prince? (I tried that and it worked.) In the Ugly Duckling, the poor little duck who lost his mommy became a beautiful swan.
Do some of these sound like our romances?
Actually, a lot of romance stories are based on fairy tales. Love has to be tested to know if it’s real. Our characters have to prove how badly they want the person of their dreams. We put them through a lot of hardships in order to reach the prize. And in some cases they have to learn to trust what they feel by sometimes losing it only to find it again and recognize it as a precious treasure that’s worth any cost.
Cinderella had to endure taunts and meanness to overcome and get the prince. The Beast had to show the Beauty that he had a pure heart capable of great love and she had to learn that what’s on the inside is more important than the physical.
In fiction as in real life we all search for a place to belong. The gunslinger, the outlaw with a good heart searches for that one place where he’ll find acceptance and maybe love with a special woman.
Belonging is a common thread in my books. In the old west, people braved such hardships, searching for a place to plunk down strong roots. They were often alone and needing a home, love and family.
In my upcoming book, TO LOVE A TEXAS RANGER, Sam Legend thought he didn’t need roots. He left them behind when he joined the Texas Rangers. He burned with a need to see what’s over the next hill. But Sierra Hunt who’d been yanked from pillar to post, harbored a deep dream for permanence and stability and she wouldn’t settle for less...not even for Sam.
The best stories I think are ones where the happy ending seems impossible. Those are page-turners. Even though we know the guy will get the girl (or vice versa) in the end, we want to see what he has to go through in order for it to happen. And we want to root for him every step of the way.
What are your thoughts about fairy tales? Can you see them in our romance stories? And if you have a favorite fairy tale romance, share it with me.