I grew up on Hans Christian Andersen stories, and one of my favourites is The Tinderbox, with its three magical dogs, one with its eyes ‘big as wagon wheels.’
I remember the image from the Storyteller series in particular, and I would go back to that story again and again. So naturally one day I sat down to write a story about a penniless soldier who finds a treasure, falls into poverty, and then discovers his last item — a tinderbox — can call up three magical dogs.
If you haven’t read the Tinderbox, you can read a translation here.
I think the main character is a bit of an arrogant prat, and I kept *some* of that, but my soldier is not a soldier. He’s a mage twisted by his own power, and by the curse of his gods. He is self-pitying, sure, but he’s also smart when he needs to be (sometimes, sometimes he’s just an idiot.)
I never like to stick too close to the original fairy tales when I write my versions; instead I prefer to keep key points, and unfold a new tale around them. When you read Thief Mage Beggar Mage, you’ll see some of those key points — the soldier after a war, a treasure, a princess, three magical dogs…
But because this is me we’re talking about, the end results looks nothing like Andersen’s story, it was queer af, had added dragons, drugs, disability, and a twisted, three-sided (four-sided?) romance.
Because why not.
The dogs stayed. 😉
Originally, the book was called Three Dog Dreaming, but as I rewrote and rewrote…and rewrote, it became more intricate, a different beast altogether.
The seeds of The Tinderbox are still there, however.
Some reviews for Thief Mage Beggar Mage are up on Goodreads.
And if you’ve read it, there’s an extra little ficlet on the site
I’m currently revising the sequel, Shadowskin, which does not have a fairy tale at its heart, but does have dragons, and puppets, and ghosts. 😀