UFI welcomes Marina Myles Author of The Cursed Princes Series. Thanks for Joining us!!
WHAT MAKES A CLASSIC?
To Kill a Mockingbird, Pride and Prejudice, Treasure Island, and The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. Who doesn’t love these tried-and-true stories? I certainly do!
I write fairy tale retellings, so it’s no surprise that I go gaga over anything that resembles a classic novel rewritten or a motion picture adaptation of a classic novel. (I LOVED the Leonardo DiCaprio version of The Great Gatsby. And wild horses couldn’t have dragged my eyes away from Gerard Butler in The Phantom of the Opera.)
These actors are uber hot. But what, I wonder, really makes a book or a movie a classic? Is it the storyline? The characters? A resounding social message?
Take Wuthering Heights. Timeless and provocative, the story tells of a rich girl and a poor boy whose love extends beyond the grave. Truth be told, Wuthering Heights wasn’t received well when it debuted. Rather, it was bashed. Written by Emily Brontë and published in 1847, the book was described as “strange…morose…depressing, even immoral”. One critic went as far as calling the novel “that fiend of a book”.
Granted, Wuthering Heights includes scenes of mental and physical cruelty and vivid descriptions of class inequity, but my guess is those shocking subjects are what made people sit up and take notice. Now Emily Brontë’s work is considered sophisticated, intelligent, and haunting. In a word: genius. But why wasn’t the book valued in its time?
Another similar but less elegant example of something being scoffed at initially is the film sensation “Halloween”. A horror movie written and directed by the controversial John Carpenter, it premiered in theaters in 1978. The plot follows Michael Myers, a serial killer who murders his sister, gets locked in an asylum, escapes, and returns to his hometown to stalk teenage babysitters that, we assume, remind him of his sister. At first, the film was panned by movie critics. Subsequently, it bombed at the box office. That is, until John Carpenter added a spine-tingling music score and Roger Ebert gave the film’s innovative camera shots and vacant, motiveless killer an enthusiastic thumbs-up. Then the movie took off. Eventually, it grossed over five-hundred and fifty million dollars and spawned nine sequels.
“Halloween” is considered an American horror classic and rightly so, but in my opinion its nine sequels were silly. (Who came up with the title “Halloween H2O – 20 Years Later”?!) The point is: the film’s sequels weren’t as good as the original. I suppose that’s the challenge every author and director faces when he or she attempts a rewrite, a sequel, or a remake of something that’s been previously acclaimed.
So what’s the magic ingredient that turns a story into one worthy of countless retellings? In other words, what makes a novel or a movie a classic? Everyone has their own theory on the subject and I’m happy to give you mine here. I believe all classics have one thing in common: they were ahead of their time. Perhaps—through decades of change and modernization—that’s what makes them stand the test of time.
What is your favorite version of a story retold?
Dreaming of becoming a published author, she wrote her first ‘gothic’ story at age eleven. She went on to study creative writing at Southern Methodist University— where she received degrees in Communications and English Literature. During her time in Dallas, she had the unique experience of being a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader.
Now with her loyal Maltese close by, she relishes the hours she gets to escape into worlds filled with tortured heroes, strong heroines, and their fiery—but not easily attained—love affairs. She’s busy being a wife (to her Italian-born husband) and a mother (to her two beautiful daughters), but she is never too busy to hear from her amazing readers.
Represented by Louise Fury of The Bent Agency
Find Marina and her books
The Warlock's Dance
The Cursed Princes #3
Amazon BN iTunes eKensington
Giselle Swenov is a radiant opera star whose beauty is second only to her voice. That is, until a jealous enchantress strips away her talent and looks, transforms her into a mute and haggard old woman, and forces her to leave the man of her dreams at the altar on their wedding day. Now there’s only one person able to reverse the spell: Giselle’s warlock ex-fiancé, Lucian Ivanu.
But three years have passed, and the ever-dashing Lucian seems to have moved on―he’s inherited a vast fortune, forsaken his scandalous powers, and is even set to marry again. Will he recognize his former flame when she shows up at his engagement party and begs for help? Can she recover the powerful magic ring needed to break the curse before it’s too late? Giselle’s plight has a darker twist as she discovers just how far the enchantress’s grasp reaches…
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