DEAD UPON A TIME Blog Tour: ‘Fairytale Influences’ Guest Post + Giveaway


I am super excited to be today’s stop on the DEAD UPON A TIME Blog Tour and to have a fantastic guest post from Author Elizabeth Paulson to share on DEAD UPON A TIME’s fairytale influences, as well as an incredible poem the author wrote entitled Gretel Loves Hansel.

Fairytale retellings and re-imaginings are really hot right now and this new release takes things one step further: DEAD UPON A TIME  is a mash-up of a few classic favorites! And it’s a super quick and entertaining read.

If you haven’t yet had the chance to check it out, be sure to read the book’s description below and visit a few (or all) of the stops on the tour to see what other bloggers are saying about the book and to read a few interviews and guest posts.

And if you’d like the chance to win a copy of DEAD UPON A TIME, scroll down and enter in the Rafflecopter below.

But first you’ll definitely want to read Elizabeth Paulson’s post on the book that influenced her novel and read her awesome poem about Hansel and Gretel.



Add to Goodreads

Author: Elizabeth Paulson
Release date: August 25, 2015
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Pages: 224
Formats: Hardcover, eBook


It’s a fairy-tale nightmare . . .

One girl is kept in a room where every day the only food she’s given is a poisoned apple. Another is kept in a room covered in needles — and if she pricks her finger, she’ll die. Then there are the brother and sister kept in a cell that keeps getting hotter and hotter. . .

A sinister kidnapper is on the loose in Kate’s world. She’s not involved until one day she heads to her grandmother’s house in the woods — and finds her grandmother has also been taken. Already an outcast, Kate can’t get any help from the villagers who hate her. Only Jack, another outsider, will listen to what’s happened.

Then a princess is taken, and suddenly the king is paying attention — even though the girl’s stepmother would rather he didn’t. It’s up to Kate and Jack to track down the victims before an ever after arrives that’s far from happy.


The Guest Post

DEAD UPON A TIME’s Fairytale Influences…


by Elizabeth Paulson

In high school, I arranged my life around ways of avoiding the school cafeteria. I had friends and a place to sit, but hated the discord of voices and scraping utensils, the chairs and tables scooting across the linoleum floor. Having been hospitalized for an eating disorder, I felt on stage in the cafeteria, as if everyone was watching me eat.

I escaped into the library and if the librarians chased me out, I snuck into my English teacher’s classroom. There, I ate my bag lunch in peace and devoured his poetry collection with excitement. Anne Sexton’s Transformations stood at the end of the second to last shelf. Slim and white, with a charcoal drawing of a witch and a raven peeking out from a hood on the cover, that book cast a spell on me immediately.

Here were familiar fairytales drenched in acidic wit and modern metaphors. The best parts of the stories, the violent consequences and the spiteful villains, remained intact. The innocent princesses did not act so innocently, however. The happily-ever-afters were compromised. I love Sexton’s raw imagery, her sarcasm, her modern allusions. I love her unflinching acknowledgement that sex and aggression were sometime entwined and that both had the power to enchant. Transformations became one of those books I continued to reach for, mining for lessons about mythology, poetry, and the way we can bend stories to reflect ourselves.

I didn’t allow myself to try transforming any fairytales until years after; I didn’t want to write poems that sounded like hollow echoes of Sexton’s work. The poems I finally wrote satisfy me; they wear their influence proudly, but they stand as my own.  They helped me warm up my writing muscles in order to write Dead Upon a Time. And when it came time to create the book’s villain, the evil witch who had made space in her soul for something that would eventually devour her, I remembered Anne Sexton’s glamor and bravado and tried to infuse Caterina with that kind of commanding presence. I wanted readers to fear but also revere her a little.

As for Anne Sexton, I love her still.

Below is a one of the poems I wrote, as a fairytale transformation.

Gretel Loves Hansel

My brother of the fellow empty belly, of thistle

rubbed into our gums for taste, of weak knees,

of water and onion stew. My banished also

brother, my likewise forsaken, my as good as orphaned

as well. My clever brother of the white pebbles,

of their neat arrow towards home. Him

of the bread crust, the other heel of the loaf.

My bread crumb brother shaking his slingshot

at those oblivious birds. My deep woods

brother, who skinned us a rabbit and then wept

so much for it we could not eat.  My cracking

acorns brother. The shiver against me,

the warmth near the cooling embers of my father’s fire.

My sweet brother of the oasis, the other nibbling

guest, second set of criminal teeth.

With his mouth full of licorice shingle, gum drop

mail box. Then frozen by the sudden

cackle. The chosen meal of him, the tasty bit.

My brother, the well-fed favorite, fattening up

in the witch’s cage. With the cunning bone,

thankful for the lucky blindness of the wicked.

One for whom she grows impatient, licking

her lips and tired of chickens. My doomed one,

for whom I finally stoke the fire, for whom I lay down

kindling. My brother who skinned me a rabbit,

then cried so hard he could not breathe. Harmless one

still trusting the dumb trick of his chicken bone.

My brother, the roast for which she tests the oven,

for which she climbs in. My wailing brother and his rattling

cage. Him dissolving behind me. Mine. My brother

for whom I place each hand on the iron door. We used to

push each other on that swing hanging from the old

magnolia tree. Him with the mighty hands. The iron door

pushes back and the woman inside is screaming.

My brother for whom I hold fast. The skin of my palms

cooks against the oven door and the witch

eases off. Mine for whom I hold fast. I hold mine.

–Elizabeth Paulson

About Elizabeth Paulson

Elizabeth Paulson lives on the edge of the woods somewhere in America.

The Giveaway

There is a tour-wide giveaway for…

  • THREE (3) winners will receive a finished copy of DEAD UPON A TIME – US only

Enter in the Rafflecopter below…

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Tour Schedule

Week One

Week Two


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