But with the love and support of their friends and a little bit of luck, the girls soon realise that happy ever afters are not just reserved for fairy tale fiction – as long as they start believing in them.
The one piece of advice that resonated through my thoughts when I was toying with the idea of writing a novel was ‘write what you know’. How this works for fantasy fiction, horror and sci-fi writers, I don’t know.
I don’t know any sexually frustrated vampires, teen werewolves or people flying off to distant worlds – so I felt that sticking with what I knew, was the way forward for A Girl’s Guide to Fairy Tales.
Fairy tales are a theme throughout the story, whether that be dreaming of a better life, minds being poisoned by rumours, not believing the beauty within is visible on the outside or not realising the man you hate could actually be the man you love. There is no magic, no Fairy Godmothers and no knights in shining armour. My characters have to fix their own problems.
I wanted readers to be able to find something in the story they could relate to, whether they have been in those situation themselves or know someone who has.
A lot of the anecdotes are also based on real life situations and conversations, which are often better than anything I could make-up. Below is one such excerpt. My girlfriends and I were on a night out and we got talking about things we didn’t understand very well, such as Twitter and men. The latter may not ever be fully understood – but this is how I retold that conversation (with a few bits made up of course).
Each chapter is told from one of my four characters’ perspectives; Maddie, Clare, Isobel and Sophie. This is how Sophie retells the conversation.
Maddie stared at the abstract painting on the wall as if trying to interpret its blocks of colour and random lines. I joined her but I failed to find any meaning in it. To me, it simply appeared like a random series of shapes, which the artist had no plans for. It was only then I noticed the plaque beneath it entitled Life.
‘You know, I thought I missed Jason until that second he told me he was engaged. It was only then I truly knew I had made the right decision. I don’t miss him at all. I miss the idea of him.’
‘You miss the companionship,’ I whispered, talking to myself.
‘Yeah I do. But I tell you what I don’t miss,’ Maddie smiled leaning forwards. ‘I don’t miss his need to use the Sat Nav on every journey we took together – even when we knew where we were going. In fact he listened to that bloody woman more than he did me. If she said “turn right” then he did it without any fuss. If I said “pick up your socks and pants” then they would remain on my floor for at least four days, meaning by the time I picked them up they had rigor mortis!’
‘Oh Maddie, you do make me laugh,’ I sighed, my eyes watering.
‘My pleasure.’ She slurped the rest of her drink. ‘Your turn, what don’t you miss?’
I thought hard, pleading for my brain to recall some annoying habit. ‘Aha, yes,’ I gloated sitting upright for the big announcement. ‘He always left his tea bags on the draining board.’
Maddie started at me like I was the abstract painting. ‘Is that it? Really?’
‘Clare!’ I shouted with delight as she successfully coordinated three drinks back to the table. ‘We’re just having a good old moan. What’s getting your goat at the moment?’
She paused thoughtfully. ‘The fact that I haven’t got a clue what stuff means.’
‘Like what?’ I laughed.
‘Like hashtag. I’ve heard you talk about it Soph but what the hell is it? Is it some sort of new drug?’
I tried to keep a straight face. ‘Do I really look the drug type?’
‘Lol, it’s something mainly used on Twitter to mean what topic is trending.’
Clare still looked non-plus.
‘It means what topics are popular,’ I added. ‘Such as hasthag-are-you-sure-you-can’t-see-my-muffin-top and hashtag-my-boyfriend-is a prick.’
‘I bet those are popular,’ Maddie sniggered.
Clare rolled her eyes. ‘Well what about this diem I keep hearing people mention? Diem me now? Diem me later? Is it as in Carpe Diem or is it rude?’
‘Lol, no! It’s the initials DM that stand for direct message. Like emails for Twitter,’ I explained.
‘As I said, I hate it. Why can’t people just ring people or text like normal?’
‘But you rarely text Clare,’ Maddie said.
‘Unless you want “cock” for the fire?’ I suggested. ‘Gotta love predictive text. But it isn’t a bad idea actually – men used to burn women as witches. Now it’s their turn for being spineless cheating arseholes.’
‘I don’t believe there is a male equivalent for a misogynist but if there was Soph, you wouldn’t be far off,’ Clare said with a small grin. ‘Anyway, I thought it was my turn to rant?’ she asked.
‘Defo,’ I laughed. ‘Go for it.’
‘Another thing that’s peeing me off is Facebook. The last time I logged on, the page was polluted with people talking about their little monsters who are no longer sleeping through the night, or who are sick, or their future husbands, or the fact they are expecting yet again.’
‘Why who’s pregnant?’ I asked excitedly.
‘Jennie, my step-sister. This is her fourth and she’s only thirty-three?’
‘Impressive,’ I nodded.
‘But now there’s loads of pressure on me to match that. My mother is constantly bringing it up. Jennie this, Jennie that. She’s the golden girl,’ Clare sulked.
‘She doesn’t exactly spawn the prettiest-looking things though does she?’ I pointed out.
‘You wouldn’t look so hot either if that woman’s labia had brushed your face,’ Madeline said matter-of-factly, even making Clare laugh.
You can find out more about Laurey Buckland and her novel, A Girl's Guide to Fairy Tales on