book excerpt of YA romance Common, Catherine Castle Wednesday Writers series, Cinderella retelling novel, Common, fairy-tale retelling, fairy-tale twists, Laurie Lucking, YA fantasy romance, YA romance
Today, it’s my pleasure to welcome Laurie Lucking to Wednesday Writers. Laurie writes YA fantasy fiction with a classic fairytale twists. She’ll be sharing the background of twist of her newest YA romance, Common, along with an excerpt. Welcome, Laurie!
Putting a Twist (or Three!) on a Classic Tale
I have always loved a good fairy tale retelling. It started with Disney animated movies during my childhood: tales of far-off lands with heroes who boldly risked their lives fighting evil, romances that made butterflies flit about my ribcage, and happily-ever-afters that left me with a contented sigh. When I reached my teens, I enjoyed authors like Gail Carson Levine and Robin McKinley, who brought fairy tales to life on the written page with their unique voices and interpretations. I discovered Melanie Dickerson’s books as an adult, and you can guess how quickly I snatched them up!
When I delved into writing, I couldn’t wait to put my own spin on some classic tales! My first manuscript (which will hopefully be rewritten someday!) explored the premise of Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew, giving the older sister a back story that explained her cagey behavior and creating what I considered to be a more satisfying ending. In approaching Common, my debut novel that just released on Valentine’s Day, I began with a “Cinderella”-type setup of a servant girl in love with a prince. But rather than center the primary action around a ball, I wanted to explore the relationship and characters much further. I started with a childhood friendship between the maid, Leah, and the prince, Raphael. To increase the conflict, I added a surprise betrothal, a plot against the royal family, and a mysterious group of nuns. Though Leah is every bit as “common” as Cinderella when it comes to her skill set and station in life, she ends up on an adventure to save her country and her beloved prince. Her journey causes her to rise not only beyond her circumstances, but above challenges to her courage, confidence, and faith.
Other stories I have in the works draw inspiration from “Sleeping Beauty,” “Snow White,” “Beauty and the Beast,” and Peter Pan. I appreciate the opportunity to bring new life to the timeless themes and love stories of fairy tales and other classics, and I hope my readers will cherish their adventures in my imaginary lands, smiling with satisfaction when they reach the happily-ever-after at the end.
By Laurie Lucking
Only one person knows of the plot against the royal family and cares enough to try to stop it—the servant girl they banished.
Leah spends her days scrubbing floors, polishing silver, and meekly curtsying to nobility. Nothing distinguishes her from the other commoners serving at the palace, except her red hair.
And her secret friendship with Rafe, the Crown Prince of Imperia.
But Leah’s safe, ordinary world begins to splinter. Rafe’s parents announce his betrothal to a foreign princess, and she unearths a plot to overthrow the royal family. When she reports it without proof, her life shatters completely when the queen banishes her for treason.
Harbored by an unusual group of nuns, Leah must secure Rafe’s safety before it’s too late. But her quest reveals a villain far more sinister than an ambitious nobleman with his eye on the throne.
Can a common maidservant summon the courage to fight for her dearest friend
Rafe took my arm and steered me in the opposite direction, keeping silent until his friends’ footsteps retreated. “Are you really all right, Leah?”
I tried to pull away. He was whispering so close to my ear, I could feel his breath on my neck.
“What was going on back there? Who were those young men?”
“I’m fine, Rafe, truly. Those were two of the stable hands. I’ve known them all my life, and they’ve been teasing me almost as long. They get on my nerves, but I can assure you they’re harmless.”
His jaw remained set. “Even if they meant no harm, they need to learn the proper respect due to a lady.”
I laughed, then checked myself and lowered my voice. “A lady? I appreciate the thought, but you need to remember I’m merely a servant. As such, I don’t command quite the same level of gentility required for a noblewoman.”
“Well, perhaps you should.”
A lady’s maid stared at us as we passed, sending searing heat into my cheeks. “While we’re on the subject of my lowly status…are you sure this is a good idea?”
“What do you mean?” His brows knit.
“Walking through the corridors like this.” I waved my free hand at our linked arms.
Rafe puffed out his chest. “I’m the prince, aren’t I? How could I do any less than escort the maiden I rescued to safety?”
“I’m not sure that quite constituted a rescue.” I stole a glance at him. “Is it customary for you to attend to damsels in distress in such a manner, then?” I bristled at the idea of Rafe walking through the halls arm in arm with other young women, but I shook it off.
“Well, no. But I still don’t see how this could be objectionable.”
“I’m concerned what people might say…”
“Oh, Leah, will you cease your endless worrying? I’m trying to be your knight in shining armor, and you’re ruining it.”
Want to read more? You can find Common here.
About the Author:
An avid reader since birth (her parents claim she often kept them up late begging to hear just one more story), Laurie Lucking discovered her passion for writing after leaving her career as an attorney to become a stay-at-home mom. She writes young adult fantasy with a strong thread of romance, and her debut novel, Common, released on February 14, 2018, from Love2ReadLove2Write Publishing. Laurie is the Secretary of her local ACFW chapter and a co-founder of Lands Uncharted, a blog for fans of clean young adult speculative fiction. A Midwestern girl through and through, she currently lives in Minnesota with her husband and two young sons.