Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Retellings: A.M. Heath and A Season Passed

I'm super excited to introduce you to the third author sharing her retellings with us: A.M. Heath. She's pretty much been my "big writing sister" these past few years. I've been blessed by her advice and in addition to that, she writes some pretty sweet stories.

Meet A.M. Heath...
Besides being an Indie Author, I’m a wife, mother of four, children’s Sunday School teacher, sweet tea drinker, history fanatic, romantic, bubbly, lover of broccoli, and a retired cake decorator who has a soft spot for Christmas trees, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ.
What I’m not is a laundress (or at least not one who keeps up very well), a duster, tall, or patient in a doctor’s office.

You can connect with A.M. Heath on these other social media sites: Site, Facebook, Tea Time with A.M. Heath Facebook Group, TwitterGoodreadsBookBub, and Pinterest *Note: I’m most active on Facebook.

Where to purchase: Ebooks and Paperback on Amazon

 A.M.'s Retellings...

Liz Cooke has two problems in life: Her social media is filled with brewing political conflict and her idea of a perfect man seems to have gone extinct a century ago. Inspired by the contents of an antique trunk, Liz dreams she time-travels to 1885. As she sets out to enjoy the Victorian era in all its glory, armed with knowledge gleaned through historical novels and period dramas, will she find the past to be all that she thought? And does the right man for her exist only in her dreams or has he been in her life all along?

Loosely inspired by Alice in Wonderland, A.M. Heath brings you a fun read chock-full of humor and whimsy with a special message for the avid reader in all of us.

During a snowstorm, Betty Tanner finds herself stuck with her estranged husband. Spending Christmas with Glenn wasn’t what she had in mind, and her thoughts reluctantly travel back three decades to their first Christmas together, when another snowstorm caused her to wreck her car outside the Tanner home … 

1954: Stranded with the Tanners over Christmas, Betty is forced into the company of Glenn, who has spurned her for years. But as the snow falls outside, the walls between Betty and Glenn begin to melt, revealing a side of him she never knew existed. A side she longs to know better.
Pride and bitterness can make a beast out of anyone. And the hardships they face in their relationship are of their own making. But can following Christ’s ways lead Betty and Glenn to the reconciliation they long for?

A.M. Heath invites you to spend Christmas with the Tanners in a dual-timeline novel loosely inspired by Beauty and the Beast. You’re sure to fall in love again and again.

Find out more about this series here.

Can Scrooge find love from a friendship gone cold?

Sanford Stone cut ties with his best friend, Natalie, in favor of the love of his life … a woman who ended up walking out on him just before Christmas. Six years later, Sanford can’t bring himself to celebrate Christ’s birth with any joy. Little does he know, his grandmother and her companions have dubbed him the Scrooge and intend to help him overcome his bitterness and find happiness again.

The only thing that has hurt Natalie Dunivan more than Sanford cutting her out of his life has been watching his long-held grudges slowly destroy the man she has always loved. When Ms. Carol devises a plan to reach out to Sanford, Natalie eagerly agrees.

Sanford accepts his grandmother’s challenge to celebrate Christmas for 31 straight days, but he didn’t count on her plan involving Natalie. Can his family and friends help their Scrooge see the error of his ways, or will Natalie’s presence only make things worse?

Stay updated with Christmas in Garland projects here.


Behind the Retellings
A note from A.M. Heath...

Thanks, Amanda, for the opportunity to share! I love retellings. I think it takes an extra dose of creativity to tell a new story while keeping certain aspects of the original in place. With most novels, everything you write is all your own and the sky is the limit in terms of what you can do or where you can go. So to suddenly be restricted in ways and yet still walk away with something new and fresh … well, I admire the work involved. And I confess, I totally geek out while reading a retelling.

As for myself, I have two retellings out and one on the way.

ASeason Passed is a series full of retellings. The first two books are available. Book one, IfOnly It Were Yesterday, may not be a technical retelling but it’s heavily inspired by Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Book Two of the series, Yesterday’sChristmas, is a Beauty and the Beast retelling. Still to come in the series are Cinderella and Snow White retellings.

Just on the horizon is my A Christmas Carol retelling titled Project Scrooge which is due out later this year.

My process behind writing a retelling is to take on the challenge. Retellings are not anything new. We’ve seen movies and books retell classic stories for decades. 

So I start with the questions:
What is my favorite story?
If I could redo any story, which one would I choose?

Once I have a story in mind, I consider all the known versions already out there. How did they change the story? How did they keep it the same?

Now what can I do that is completely different? What hasn’t been done already?
How can I flip this story over on its head by putting it in a location, era, or using characters that are vastly different from the original and other notable retellings out there?

And for me, that’s the really fun part! Most of my ideas started just as a fun challenge. Kinda like a parlor game for the mind. I just wanted to see if I could come up with something. I didn’t have to write it. I only needed to create a solid idea.

Sometimes I spend a few minutes or hours, and sometimes it takes days or even months and years to come up with the perfect solution to my puzzle. In fact, I have some ideas currently in progress in my mind right now. I can feel that there’s a valuable idea there, I just can’t grasp how it will come together.

But once the idea takes root and I decide it’s more than just a game but a story to tell, I begin to take a closer look at the original. While I’m in the early plotting and writing stages, I reread the original work, pulling out any quote that jumps out at me. I might use these quotes in the dialogue or as epigraphs throughout the novel.

Part of my plotting process is to consider the elements of the original that I want to keep in my story and the elements that I will introduce as original.

For If Only It Were Yesterday/Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland: I wanted to keep the concept of the heroine falling asleep and having this grand adventure that teaches her something in her real life. I also wanted to keep the whimsical side where some things just didn’t make much sense, as well as some of the quirky personalities we meet from Carrol’s story.

But I wanted to change the setting and the overall theme and message of the story. And, naturally, I wanted to add in Christian elements as well.

In Yesterday’s Christmas/Beauty and the Beast: My plan was to tell a love story about a woman who is stranded in the home of someone she doesn’t like and how their love blossoms from being forced into each other’s company. I kept small nods to the original, especially the movie, by using a dance scene, a rose, and even a library.

But one of the biggest things I changed was to tell the story as a dual-timeline where Glenn was the beast in their early days but Betty becomes the beast when she allows bitterness to taint their marriage.

For Project Scrooge/A Christmas Carol: I really struggled to create the most famous ghost story without using ghosts at all. There have been so many creative takes on this story so I wrestled with this one for some time. I wanted to keep the concept of being taught a lesson by someone around him, but I searched long and hard over how to pull it off.

One of the biggest changes I made was to make Sanford bitter instead of greedy. And his story is a love story at heart. But I was able to use a lot of the original dialogue and I even kept the staves instead of traditional chapter breaks.

I hope you enjoyed this little peek inside my workshop. Whether you’re a writer or not, I’d love to hear which story you’d retell if you could.

And as a special treat, both of my retellings are on sale this week.  

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