M.A Kersh is a young woman who published her first series, Scary Faerie Tales, composed of two novels on Kindle and in paperback: One about Captain Hook from Peter Pan ( Blood in the Water) and a second focusing on Wendy Darling as she is making her way through the dazzling world of Wonderland ( Hearts In the Looking Glass). We had the pleasure and honor of sitting down with her to talk about this new series of books that put a fresh twist on a beloved tale.
MR. Havisham: Let’s start with a question asked several times through the years: How was born your love of writing?
M.A Kersh: I guess I would have to give fellow author, Serena Valentino credit for that. She too has a Disney Villain series. After reading her third novel, I couldn’t help wondering what backstory I would have given that character. And then it happened. I sat down at my laptop and began to write my own story. When I was done, I couldn’t believe how much I loved it. I started to think about who I wanted to write about next. I was researching fairy lore at the time, and it just came together that I should write an origin story for Captain Hook and Peter Pan. I thought it sort of odd that I would choose that particular fairy tale since it was not exactly my favorite. Then something incredible happened. The story just spilled like magic onto the paper as if it were writing itself. I fell in love with the characters as I wrote them and let them be the ones to guide the tale.
MR.Havisham: Blood in the Water is your first published novel. Did you had a couple of other projects to submit at the time, or was this book always going to be your first manuscript to subject?
M.A Kersh: Blood in the Water was my first project to submit. I had written one book before about Ursula, the sea witch, but it was as if it were merely the stepping stone I needed to reach for the stars. So much went into Blood in the Water. I researched so many things and ended up pouring my heart and soul into every word.
MR.Havisham: As a reader, is your favorite genre fairy tale retellings? If no, what is it?
M.A Kersh: As a reader, yes, fairy tale retellings are my absolute favorite. I have read too many to count.
MR.Havisham: How did you craft your writing process to create Hook’s backstory?
M.A Kersh: I listened to many dark fairy encounters. The lore of the Fae is so fitting to the story of Peter Pan and Tinker Bell. So, the question became: How did Captain Hook end up in Neverland, and why does he hate Pan so much? They needed a history; one that went far beyond the second star to right and a hand-fed to a crocodile. I do not know exactly how such a beginning came to be born; it just needed a voice, like a truth just waiting to be told.
MR. Havisham: Your second novel Hearts in the Looking Glass mixes Alice in Wonderland and your own storyline started in Blood in the Water: Why did you decide to link the series instead of making them standalone?
M.A Kersh: Again, though it may seem strange, the story of Alice in Wonderland, be it the novel written by Lewis Carrol or the Disney version, was not one I especially liked. There have been many different retellings based on the curious little world of bizarre creatures, but I just never quite fell in love with any of them. I am a Disney fanatic. I know every movie, every line, and every single lyric. Still, there are those that I just did not seek out when the desire to watch a classic struck me. When I finished Blood in the Water, I felt that it was not the end for Wendy Darling. So many things came together so fast. They just connected. What made it even more amazing was when I learned that the characters of Alice and Wendy in the Disney movies are voiced by the same girl. The story just continued after the journey of Neverland, and it will continue after Wonderland as well. The third book in the series is almost finished, and I think it is the best yet!
MR.Havisham: Do you have a favorite scene or chapter from Blood in the Water?
M.A Kersh: I think I would have to say that my favorite chapter would have to be when Hook goes to see the Wood Witch for answers about the Nine Realms and how to get to them. I had a lot of fun writing about her character, and we will see much more of her in the third book.
MR.Havisham: Your favorite place and time of the day to write?
M.A Kersh: I stay at home with my three children and one of them is autistic. This makes things, especially writing, difficult. I write whenever I can. There are times when I have sat down and written two chapters in a row, and other times I have to go days without writing. It all depends on my kids.
MR.Havisham: Any advice for young writers?
M.A Kersh: Let your passion choose the story. Listen to other stories. Read other stories. I cannot tell you how many times a piece of my book came together in my head while listening to a creepy story on YouTube. It just helps get the creative juices going. When you write about something, you need to surround yourself with inspiration.
MR.Havisham: A book or an author in particular that left his/her mark on your life?
M.A Kersh: Definitely Serena Valentino. There are others, of course, but she was the muse that started my writing.
MR.Havisham: Can we expect a third Scary Faerie Tale soon? What are you currently working on?
M.A Kersh: Yes, there will be a third book, and it will be finished soon. If you read the first book, then you know that Hook and the Blue Fairy will have a baby; one that Pan will be coming to steal away. In the third book, we will discover who their child is, and what happens when Pan comes to take her. The book is by far my favorite of the three, and I cannot wait to publish it.
Thank you so much for your time M.A Kersh. We surely can't wait to read the rest of the series! Look out for a review of Hearts in the Looking Glass very soon! You can find a review of Blood in the Water on the fairy tale retellings section of this website. Both books are available in Paperback and Kindle on Amazon here.