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A Conversation with J.A. Kazimer, author of Curses!: A F**cked Up Fairy Tale

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Imagine that Cinderella’s been murdered, distracted by a bluebird and run over by a truck in New Never City. Now imagine her stepsister calling on Rumpelstiltskin (stripped of his villainy as punishment for rage issues) to investigate. This is the premise of  J.A. Kazimer’s Curses!: A F**cked Up Fairy Tale.

Cinderella’s stepsister Asia, believing her sister’s death to be a case of foul play, shows up at what she thinks is Sherlock Holmes’s door. Only, he hasn’t lived there for a while, not since RJ, as Rumpel prefers to be called, stuffed him into the chimney and took over the residence. Asia, much better-looking then the original story had led us to believe, convinces RJ to help, but really he’s just doing it in hopes that she’ll sleep with him.

As the two dig deeper into Cindi’s untimely death, everyone becomes suspect: Prince Charming; the butler; Dru, the second and not-so-pretty stepsister; even Asia.

Blending favorite fairy tale characters with today’s cultural references and sensibilities, Curses! flips the childhood staple on its head to create a wholly adult, and highly entertaining, reading experience.

I spoke with author J.A. Kazimer for The Nervous Breakdown. We talked about reimagining stories and casting secondary characters in lead roles. Here is part of that conversation. I encourage you to read the full interview.

I’d never read a book like Curses! before, a blending of fairy tale with cheeky romance. I’m curious to know how you explain it to people. 

Curses! is, as the subtitle subtlety suggests, a f***ed up version of a mesh of fairy tale characters and stories with a few twisted nursery rhymes thrown in. A friend once described it as: ‘Neil Gaiman meets Shrek and they live happily ever after…or NOT’. That kind of says it all.

Your book is fairly bawdy. Why did you choose to write it as a fairy tale? 

Why, thank you. I’m a fan of bawdy. To me, fairy tales lend themselves to being told in this manner. Most of us remember our fairy tales via the Disney rose-colored glasses, which is great, but 200 years ago, The Brothers Grimm told a far different tale, filled with violence and bloodshed.

In Curses!, one of the main characters is Cinderella’s stepsister. I love the idea of secondary characters becoming leads. What made you decide to tell the story this way?

Thank you. In so many stories, I wonder, what happens to the minor characters after the hero and heroine ride off into the sunset? After writing Curses! the ugly stepsister has her happily ever after (sort of), and so does her uglier stepsister. Choosing a lesser known character allowed me to create an interesting character without any preconceived ideas about her. Readers think Cinderella’s stepsister, and the only thing that comes to mind is how ugly she is. The rest of her is all mine to craft.

Where can people find you?

My website, on Facebook, and on Twitter at @jakzimer

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Written by Gabrielle

March 22, 2012 at 7:04 am

One Response

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  1. I’ve read a few Fairy Tale spin-off myself. I simply love the idea of classics remade to fit our modern industry. If you really like ‘Curses’, then Kate Bernheimer’s works can be a good read. I’ve collected some of her books and they were all worth it. The novel you just referred seemed to be a very good read too! Wonder where can I find that book…

    Alfred Symon

    April 1, 2012 at 10:59 pm


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