Sunday, January 27, 2013

Shout out to Indies - The Twisted Litsters

Guest blog post from Twisted Lit-sters Kim Askew and Amy Helmes

Two of the simplest credos in writing fiction are to write what you know and to write what you love. As former English majors (Kim’s currently getting her Masters in English lit, incidentally), we’ve studied plenty of Shakespeare over the years. And, well, it goes without saying that we get absolutely geeked-out over any chance to see his plays performed, on stage or on film. So when we teamed up to write our first novels for a YA audience, we decided to look to the Bard for inspiration. Shakespeare’s universal themes resonate with readers of every age and walk of life, and the possibility of yanking his stories into the 21st century with fresh concepts and thoroughly modern characters proved just the motivation we needed to write the first two books in our “Twisted Lit” series. Described as “compulsively readable,” they pay homage to classic literature while putting a new and different spin on the Bard’s original works. Even Shakespeare-phobes have found themselves engrossed in the stories. Considering the playwright himself drew inspiration from previous writers when penning his masterpieces, we don’t think he’d mind at all that we’ve tinkered with his ideas and had fun finding ways to cleverly re-interpret his plots, themes, and settings. (Tempestuoustake place in a mall where a group of high school students have been snowed in overnight, for example!) See if you don’t agree by checking out our debut novels, Tempestuous: a modern-day spin on Shakespeare’s“The Tempest” and Exposure: a modern-day spin on Shakespeare’s “Macbeth.”

 Published: Dec 18th, 2012                                                                              Published: Jan 18th, 2012

My review of Exposure -

Move over Shakespeare and make room for the Twisted Litsters.  If you have ever wondered just exactly what Shakespeare is trying to say, look no further than Twisted Litsters Kim Askew and Amy Helmes and their new series of 'updated' Shakespeare tales.  I just finished Exposure this morning and I am thrilled to say I loved every minute of it.  I am a bit of a closet Shakespeare fan and it was with some trepidation that I started reading Kim and Amy's modern take on Macbeth (or 'The Scottish Play' as it is referred to in the theatre).

No worries - Exposure was amazing.  The story is narrated this time around by photography geek Skye and we find out the twisted and torturous goings on in an Anchorage high school.  MacBeth has always been incredibly tragic, and Exposure pulled that tragedy into the 21st century and made it relatable to todays teenagers.  I loved the characters, all of them. Even cheerleader Beth, who was a brilliant take on the conniving Lady MacBeth from the original. Her fall from grace was very well done and completely exposed the insecurities that plague so many teens today. The three witches this time around are a trio of Native American girls who love to highlight their heritage.  I adored Cat, Tess and Kaya and the fact that they are so comfortable in their skins.

The usual high school angst is heightened by the tragedy of Duncan's death and Craig's  journey to admitting his wrong-doing is heartbreaking and yet enlightening.  There is so much going on here that I found it difficult to put the  book down, and I am not normally a great fan of contemporary fiction.  One definite plus is that if I didn't know that the book was written by two different people, I wouldn't have known - their writing styles are seamless.

A wonderful book that I thoroughly enjoyed and I am waiting impatiently to see what they come up with next.  I fancy seeing how they handle Twelfth Night or Romeo and Juliet. [I checked with Amy and discovered that they are in fact working on 'their' version of Romeo and Juliet, but it will be about a year at least before we see it.  What a pity. ]

If you'd like to, check out my review of Tempestuous

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