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I love the villains. Always have. Maleficent. The Beast. Cat Woman. Bellatrix.
They are complicated. Beguiling. Terrifying. And fascinating.
They’re damaged, too. And I think about that long after the story’s over. What happened to make them the way they are? Who did the damage? Can it ever be undone? That’s so much more interesting to me than the happily ever after.
Where is all this villain-love going? Some huge news that I’m thrilled to share with you. I’m working on a new book. It’s called Stepsister. It’ll be published by Scholastic in 2019, and edited by the brilliant Mallory Kass.
My agent, Steve Malk, describes it as a “harrowing and hopeful Cinderella story for the 21st century”. It begins where Cinderella ends, but it follows the story of Isabelle and Octavia, Cinderella’s ugly stepsisters. It hews to the old-school, very Grimm version of the tale, in which toes are cut off in a vain attempt to make the slipper fit.
We all know what happens to Cinderella – her feet are perfect, and she rides off with her prince to a really nice life. But what about her stepsisters?
My whole life, I’ve wanted the answer to that question.
I want to know what made those mean girls mean, and if there’s any way to come back from it. I wonder if being called ugly had anything to do with it, and I want to know what became of Isabelle and Octavia during Ella’s ever after.
I’m going to spend some time with the ugly stepsisters, and we’ll see if they answer my questions.
I can’t wait to share what I find with you.