Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Melissa Eastlake | Why Consent In YA Retellings Is Sexy
Author Guest / April 19, 2018

THE UNCROSSING is a retelling of Rapunzel with contemporary, queer interpretations of the classic tropey characters from curse-driven fairy tales. Prince Charming-type guys, prone to chasing after girls who are trapped, silent, or literally comatose (come on, man), have not traditionally been awesome at consent. So I knew my Prince Charming for this story, set in a contemporary fantasy world, would be careful with consent. He would be aware of boundaries and navigate them in a way that would feel normal, integrated into the story, but still deeply important to him. And maybe even sexy. Sexiness in YA—not just sexual content, but specifically sexual content that’s appealing and aspirational—is a tricky topic, intricately interwoven with our convictions and personal boundaries. For me, I want to make sure that relevant issues of safety and consent are always prominent, and that swoony moods imbue those conversations and moments. Affirmative consent is sexy! Of course, when we say “consent is sexy,” we mean that consent is a minimum requirement for sexiness. Even if the conversation is awkward, or asking for permission leads to a painful rejection—in other words, even when the process of establishing consent isn’t particularly sexy—it’s still necessary. Without working through…

Melissa Eastlake | Retelling Rapunzel in the Contemporary World
Author Guest / November 7, 2017

My YA fantasy novel, THE UNCROSSING, is a retelling of Rapunzel, set in a mafia-like underworld of magic. Of course, retellings can cover a wide swath of storytelling methods, from point-by-point reworkings of a plot to brand-new stories filled with winking references. Retelling a fairy tale, specifically, requires a lot of new twists. They’re often short and don’t have much plot—but they’re also deeply allegorical and can reveal meaningful new facets in all kinds of settings. So, while the Rapunzel story gave me a premise and a few big turning points to work with, I also had a lot of room to have fun with it. I created a new magical system in an amplified, action-movie version of the contemporary world. I threw in every fairy tale reference—classic to Disney and everything in between—that I could think of. Finally, I shook it all up with my favorite romantic tropes and lots of kissing. To me, this is the true magic of supernatural stories. Fantasy isn’t just make-believe—it’s us, but more. More extreme, more monstrous, more dreamlike. These stories, especially the ones we tell over and over in new ways, make perfect mirrors. About Melissa Eastlake Melissa Eastlake’s debut novel, The…