Today, TeachingBooks.net welcomes author Ron Koertge as he stops by on his blog tour to discuss his new book Lies, Knives, and Girls in Red Dresses (Candlewick, 2012).
I’d never written anything quite like Lies, Knives, and Girls in Red Dresses. It is, after all, a collection of fairy tales. And what’s a seventy-two year old man doing fooling around with fairy tales?
The fact is that fooling around is all I ever do, whether it’s with a single poem, a novel-in-verse, or a straight up YA narrative. It isn’t that I don’t take my work seriously; I write every day. You can’t get much more serious than that.
But I don’t take myself seriously, and I rarely know what to expect when I pet the cat one last time, take one last sip of coffee, stare out the window one last time and finally sit down in front of my iMac. That’s why it’s a pleasure for me to go to work, as my wife puts it, “at the word factory.”
For Lies, Knives, and Girls in Red Dresses, I simply read a whole lot of fairy tales—some familiar, some obscure. Then every morning I’d wait and see which one stepped forward, beat on its little chest and said, “Me!”
One Monday, Cinderella’s stepsisters wanted me to tell their side of the story because they are, remember, blind and alone while Ella is living happily. And on Friday the little, small, wee bear began his version of “Goldilocks” with this line: “The great, huge bear is not my father. The middle-sized bear is not my mother.”
Clearly, we are a long way from traditional bedtime stories. If Walt Disney weren’t already dead, he might be clutching his chest.
How do I think of this stuff? It’s easy: I’m available. Willing to sit down every morning and be accessible. Anxious, even, to be caught off guard and surprised by a snarky Red Riding Hood or a surprisingly bitter Gretel.
A few hours of that and I’m done for the day. Then I can read or go to the races or take in a movie even as, somewhere in the dark part of my mind, the Ogre Queen or Rapunzel prepare to make their demands on me.
Hear Ron Koertge introduce and read from Lies, Knives, and Girls in Red Dresses. Listen now
Hear Ron Koertge pronounce and speak about his name. Listen now
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