1) What fairytale have you chosen to retell and why?
My first fairytale retelling is my version of Little Red Riding Hood as a response to Angela Carter’s own retelling called The Company of Wolves. In The Girl with the Red Hood, I give my vision of feminine power when faced with male predators. I love Angela Carter’s rewritings and retellings of fairy tales, but this one caused such a reaction in me, because it angered me that the girl would give herself away so easily. Turns out, her version was hitting too close to home… but it prompted this story that I love.
2) What makes your story unique?
I would say the style. It’s quite dark and gruesome, as fairy tales used to be, but with a bit more details in the horror department. Also, my treatment of wolves is quite unique, as I give them their real purpose back.
3) What was your favorite fairytale growing up and why?
It has always been Little Red Riding Hood, and somehow, I’ve always known that wolves could never be so big and bad – only humans can. But the foundation of the tale and its morality have always rung true in my heart: beware of men who can’t control their urges, because they’ll do you wrong and say it was your fault for dressing up like a woman of little virtue… Well, I’ve twisted the morality to fit it to the reality anyway!
4) Who was your favorite villain?
In old fairytales, I used to love the old hag that tries to eat Hansel and Gretel. But my favorite villain ever in a fairytale retelling has to be Ursula in Disney’s The Little Mermaid. She’s so grand and sassy, big and bold!
5) Is this a standalone or do you have more books planned?
This one is a standalone short story, but I have other retellings in the work, about Sleeping Beauty. I’m preparing a collection of short stories where I will rewrite and retell the tale from every angle, much like Angela Carter has done before. I want to find out if this tale can survive the age of #MeToo, from the kiss stolen without consent to the lesser known version of the tale in which the princess is actually raped while she sleeps…
The Girl with the Red Hood Excerpt
Some say that wolves are cruel and cunning creatures; that they will not feel remorse or even compassion when they rip open the throat of their innocent victims; that they actually take pleasure in killing and mutilating. They say that wolves’ eyes glow red in the light in anticipation of the blood they yearn to spill; that they lurk in the dark, just out of sight, along lonely streets or forest paths, waiting for lovely young women or candid children to pass by, lusting for their silky flesh. Wolves are deemed to be subordinates of the Devil, spawns of Evil, companions of nightmares and mates of shadows, murderous beasts. Their howl can pierce the bravest most righteous man straight through the heart and make him doubt of his own sanity and virtue. It can freeze the fiercest army in its charge and make a slaughterer waver in his chopping. It resounds with the memories of long forgotten times fraught with darkness and folly, when humanity was not yet a concept and the animal was within us all.
International author born in Switzerland of a Dutch mother and a Romanian father, Jude Cocaigne finds her calling after binge reading all of Terry Pratchett's work. Fantasy is her realm, with dashes of romance and a bit of horror at times. Her first published piece (in the CEA Greatest Anthology Written, aimed at a Guinness World of Records), the short story The Girl with the Red Hood, is a retelling of a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood by Angela Carter. Drawing on Carter's original idea, but adding gruesome details and an even deeper twist, Jude Cocaigne unleashed her talents and her voice. Her next published piece, a novella called The Elf Girl and the Prince (in the limited edition boxed set Once Upon Another World), is a dab at romance and fairy tales of another kind, and introduces Ze World, a planet in which many more adventures will take place in the near future, as a Fantasy series is already in the making.
About the Author:
S. K. Gregory is an author, editor and blogger. She currently resides in Northern Ireland.
“Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s.”