The first book panel we covered at this year’s San Diego Comic Con was an awesome panel titled Retellings & Remixes. Here’s the Official description (and author list!):
From Cinderella to the Queen of Hearts, these authors know that “happily ever after” isn’t always the end of the story. Marissa Meyer (The Lunar Chronicles, Heartless), Renee Ahdieh (The Rose and the Dagger), Colleen Houck(Recreated), Anna Todd (Imagines), Jodi Meadows (My Lady Jane), and Colleen Oakes (Queen of Hearts) dish about how they put a fresh twist on the classic tales we love. Moderated by Sam Maggs (Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy, Wonder Women).
There were so many good tidbits from this panel. Enjoy the highlights!
The first question asked the authors about what drew them to the tales they chose to tell. Here are the hot points (author names are abbreviated to initials):
- RA: She’s mixed race, and she didn’t see herself in books she read.
- CH: Referenced the movie ‘Ladyhawk”s theme of love almost getting together, almost touching, but never quite getting there.
- MM: She grew up with Alice in Wonderland, thanks to her mom collecting all things Alice, so it was always a favorite. Plus, though character development is strong, the world leaves a ton up to imagination.
- CO: Regarding Alice in Wonderland’s Queen of hearts: Why is she so pissed all of the time? Decided it was love, and knew that story should be written.
- JA: One of her co-authors was a fans of Lady Jane Grey, and they decided to tell her tale but make it funny.
After a few individual questions the panelists started talking about how celebrities are basically modern fairy tale characters. Anna Todd talked about her book telling a story of a girl trapped in a bathroom with Kylee Jenner, and she reflected on how celebs have this mystery about them like a character because we only really see what they show us. Marissa added on that they’re our modern day royalty, and that in the old tales so many problems were solved for the females by becoming a princess, which is a similar idea (we only see the happily ever after, not all the other, real parts)
The last big topic touched on was about how the authors are able to write in a way today’s teens can relate. Here are a few highlights of ideas they touch on in their books:
- CO: Teens relate regardless. They all want acceptance and love.
- JM: Teens just want to be understood, and that they get drawn in by an interesting story
- AT: Referenced Little Women and how the ideas from that story are still the same as ones today, like girls being forced into roles they don’t want, and trying to find their identity as individuals.
- RA: The old tales have a world of possibility. Though she did remind us that most origin stories are cautionary tales based in morality, and for today’s audience they need to be careful not to be preachy.
- CH: Part of YA is discovery and self-discovery, which often becomes its own separate theme in addition to the story’s main theme.
- MM: Teens want to wrestle back control from the restrictions they still have, to spread their wings and lead their own lives.
The panel then took questions from the audience, which ranged across the board from writing advice to how much input they have in their covers (collective reply: some, but often it doesn’t matter in the end)
The conversation flowed really well, and the answers were interesting. All in all it was a really fun, enjoyable panel that offered a little bit of insight into how some of today’s amazing YA fairytale retellings came to be.