March 9, 2009

Interview with a Fairy Tale Blogger

Please tell us a little about yourself and your fairy tale blog.

My name is Kiley, and I live in small-town Indiana, so I get a nice, round four different seasons to inspire my writing. Right now, we just went from 20 degrees to almost 60 degrees in a week, so I'm pretty inspired.

I'm a writer by trade (after 23 years of life, 4 years of journalism school and nearly 2 years out of college) and by hobby. I have always wanted to be a writer, and I still have the first book I ever wrote. It was about my dog, written in pencil and illustrated (very badly, I illustrate with words, not pictures) with crayons and colored pencils. I've known since I was 6 years old that, whether other people read them or not, creating stories was what I was destined to do. I also love to read and love stories more than anything in the world. Fantasy is my genre of choice, and I adore middle grade and young adult fantasy.

I'm fairly new to blogging, though, and for "Damselle In Distress," the stars aligned to bring my unlucky heroine to life – lucky for me.

I created my first blog about a year ago, and I think I posted about three entries to it that no one would have cared to look at. Once that mess was deleted, this past August I sat down to create a blog to jot down random thoughts and ideas that I might want to share and while I was thinking of a URL, "My Soul is a Fairy Tale" just sort of popped out. I'm also the sort of person that gets phrases stuck in her head, sort of like other people get songs caught in theirs. The phrase "damsel in distress" was bouncing around my brain and I had recently finished reading a collection of some French fairy tales, so when I finally typed the words, they came out as a name: Damselle, pronounced "Dam-zelle."

When I decided this "Damselle" needed a story, it was only natural that she should be in some sort of distress and so one day I just decided to write an entry on the site I had originally intended to be more like a journal. And that is how the first chapter of Damselle's tortured life began.

How long have you been a blogger? How old is your blog?

I think it is just seven months old, a little fledgling blog. Or maybe that's old in blog-life. I don't know.

What inspired you to write a blog?

Well, the actual story of "Damselle" just sort of popped out of my brain from nowhere, but I wanted to present it to my friends and family first to get feedback on my writing style and ideas. It was supposed to be a mini-story, a tiny distraction from the bigger novel that I am/have been working on. I love Damselle quite as much, now, though. Also, I have to admit, the attraction of having an audience was a big one.

How much time do you spend blogging every week?

Because Damselle takes a lot of imagination and thought on my behalf (as well as a lot of TIME) and I also try to work on my novel, I don't get to spend as much time with her as I'd like. I try to post two updates/chapters a month, but I am constantly thinking about her adventure and where she will go, what she will do and what encounters she will face.

What is your favorite classic fairy tale?

That is a hard question. You know, I love the story of Beauty and the Beast. It will always be one of my favorites. I also love the story of Rumplestiltskin, too. When I was little I had the most beautifully illustrated version of that story, which I then wrote a paper about for a Children's Literature class in college. That little man is evil, but I love how he flies on a spoon!

What is your favorite fairy tale movie?

Wow. That is hard, too. I would probably have to be redundant and say Beauty and the Beast because I'm a sucker for Disney movies (the older ones, animated). And what could be better than a French brunette (my father's family is from France) that loves to read and who ends up in an enchanted castle full of books?

I also love the play "Into the Woods," by Sondheim, which is one big jumble of fairy tales made to make you laugh. And, really, they follow the Grimm versions, I believe.

Can you tell us about your fairy tale and give us an excerpt?

"Damselle in Distress" is about a young woman who was cursed early in life by something she cannot help – her name. Such a curse brings about a rather unsettling procession of trials and tribulations for the girl – one right after the other – and is really the only life she knows. After falling into a Wishing Well, she learns the circumstances behind her naming and sets off with several quirky companions and a plan to find the one behind her dangerous naming. Of course, what she doesn't realize is that her Namer may be the most dangerous encounter of all.

Excerpt, From Damselle in Distress, Part 7: The Woods:

Then, quite suddenly, Damselle realized exactly what that itch had been. Nothing had attacked them. Nothing had tried to attack them. Their journey had been too easy so far. It had been too long since she had gone unharrassed by some sort of villain.

She looked quickly at Biddy and at the Ixby and then she heard it.


Heavy, loud breathing from close by. Very close by. She moved quickly to stand and hit her head on the trunk of the tree above her.

"Whatcho doing, Girl?" Biddy squawked and Damselle clamped a hand over where she thought the woman's mouth should be (as her face was nearly covered by the cloak).

"There's something out there," Damselle breathed. Her head was ringing from knocking it on the tree. "Wake Ixby and tell him to be calm."

"Like that'll ever happen," muttered Biddy, but she crawled over to the snoring Ixby and poked him just the same.

Damselle crouched down and crept slowly towards the bowed roots. The breathing grew louder and she stopped.

Whatever is out there is waiting just outside, she thought logically. It must be very large. Or very clever. Or both.

Damselle plucked a broken branch from the ground and quickly lit it ablaze.

"Oh, Miss Damselle," squealed the Ixby, who was now flapping wildly around the shelter. "What are you doing? You'll catch the tree on fire! You'll bring the creature into the shelter! You'll-"

"Biddy!" Damselle hissed, and the Rider grabbed hold of the Ixby and stuffed him in some mysterious pocket where his tiny voice was muffled.

Damselle held the burning branch in front of her, walked back to the roots of the tum tum tree, and took a deep breath. Then, in one swift motion she threw the firey stick outward and before it was snuffed out she saw in its illuminating path, two enormous, shining eyes and long, gleaming white teeth.

She yelped and fell backward into Biddy, who whispered in a raspy, frightened tone, "Jabberwock."

Thanks for visiting, Kiley!
Be sure and visit Kiley’s serialized fairy tale blog, Damselle in Distress, at


Kiley said...

Damselle and I both thank you, Dorlana! :)

Flicker Warriors said...

Very cool! Enjoyed the interview very much!