I do have a new short story/novella coming in early August: Dance of Hearts. Set in 1816, England, it is a romantic fairytale retelling of Cinderella. My fans may already know but I have a love for the Regency time period (see the tale A Society of Heartless Women in Wicked Wolves of Windsor and other fairytales). While Society was a satirical riff on this genre, I truly have a fondness for the Regency Romance from reading many of them as a teenager.
Byrd Nash Romantic Fairytale Collection
The Byrd Nash Romantic Fairytale collection is a series of short stories and novellas, with romantic themes. The stories include: Dance of Hearts (a Cinderella retelling); Fairy CurseMother (a Fairy Godmother tale); Price of a Rose (Beauty and the Beast retelling); and Little Mouse (a Thumbelina retelling).
The first in the series, Dance of Hearts publishes in early August.
These magical fairytales are a Comedy of Manners featuring a light (or sweet/clean) romance in a historical setting full of fairy magic. Each standalone tale is appropriate for ages 12+ and will be priced at $1.99.
Dance of Hearts releases in August
Melinda Wychwood managed to stay at her family home after her father’s death by working as her cousin’s unpaid housekeeper. But when a childhood friend returns, playing a game of deception, will she be satisfied acting as the dowdy chaperone? Or will her wild fairy heritage and a magical dress finally win her true happiness?
An interview with Byrd Nash
What is the Regency time period?
The English Regency lasted (officially) from 1811 to 1820, though in style I do think there is some overlap with the preceding Georgian period. King George was deemed unfit to rule due to a hereditary mental illness. His son, Prince of Wales (later George IV), served in his place as prince regent. It is a period well known for its architecture, literature, fashions, and politics.
For the average reader, it is probably recognized by the series of books Jane Austen wrote: Pride and Prejudice (1813), Sense and Sensibility (1811), Mansfield Park (1814), Emma (1814), Northanger Abbey (1817), and Persuasion (1817).
Why do you love the Regency period so much?
During my college years I read a LOT of books in order to stay away from home. I needed that dose of unreality at the time. I’ve probably read thousands of these books in this genre. I know during these uncertain times, reading something that I feel is set in place and which I can rely upon to satisfy me, is very comforting.
I’m also an amateur history buff so there is also that appeal of reading something that takes place in another time.
Some of the authors I particularly enjoyed was Georgette Heyer and Marion Chesney (a pseudonym of the writer of the Agatha Raisin and Hamish Macbeth mysteries), due to the humor and Comedy of Manners displayed in their romantic Regency stories. I hope to bring some of that spirit to this series.
What can a reader expect from these stories?
For those who’ve read my fairtyales in Wicked Wolves, you’re already aware of how I like to re-fashion fairytales into another form, making them familiar but yet also fresh and exciting. While the twists are not so “twisty” in the romantic fairytales retellilngs series, they do play with the theme of the classic fairytales (more Charles Perrault than Disney) and contain magical elements.
I use the original fairytale as a framework. For example, in Dance of Hearts, the main character has lost her parents and is under the care of a family who do not appreciate her. As a poor relation, she has become a Cinderella, who is yearning for a way to break free from a life of drudgery.
They each contain elements of romance and fairy magic. In Dance of Hearts, Melinda Wychwood has a trace of fairy magic that makes her distrusted by the locals. It is through the intervention of a Fairy Godmother that she is able to change and grow.
Each fairytale retelling features the fashion, manners, and the social structure of that historical time period. Dance of Hearts is during the Regency (1814) and the next tale, Fairy CurseMother takes place in the late Victorian era.
Unlike some of the Wicked Wolves stories that were Grimm-Dark, the romantic fairytale retellings series will be lighter and humorous in tone, featuring a clean or sweet romance, and thus appropriate for 12+ readers.
What does a “clean” romance mean?
No sexual content other than a kiss and a fade-to-black. Unfortunately, I feel, romance in fiction has become nothing but a discussion of groping and a man’s equipment. This means the plot and the characters become inter-changeable. And that bores me.
How does these books fit into the Byrd Nash “brand”?
My works, whether fantasy, contemporary fantasy, YA fantasy, or romantic fantasy, will always contain strong women characters who act with their own agency.
I enjoy reading a wide variety of books: mysteries, historical fiction, historical romance, and fantasy. All of those elements can be found in many of my books. For example, while the College Fae series is a contemporary YA fantasy there is a lot of historical backstory important to the worldbuilding.
I also like the funny and light books, and dark and gritty stories. My writings will encompass both the light and dark.
Since some of my stories are not suitable to younger audiences please be sure to check the rating before buying. For example, Wicked Wolves, is best suited to readers 17+ due to covering some topics of abuse. Meanwhile, the College Fae series is a YA fantasy suitable for a wide range of readers.
You seem to enjoy writing short stories/novellas? Why?
I do enjoy the art form of writing shorter stories – there is more I can do with the words. Due to the brevity of a short story/novella, each word and sentence counts. Each one must tell something essential to the story and there is no fat as extra “stuff” would just get in the way of the story I want to tell you.
I also want to use these novellas as a way to perfect my storytelling. I always strive to improve as an author and by working in this format I can experiment with point-of-view, descriptions, and dialogue. I personally would like to see my writing become a little more poetical. I want to deep-dive into characterizations.
These stories provide me the vignettes and writing time to do just that.
For example, Dance of Hearts has an evocative emotional resonance for the reader with the character of Melinda Wychwood. It’s a story arc of her realizing that she has outgrown her home and must take proactive steps to moving forward with her life. It’s about a woman waking up to the world around her and her place within it.
Why do a short story now?
I had Dance of Hearts in a rough final draft and after adding some more scenes and checking historical references it is ready to be seen by an editor.
Bane of Hounds is currently being read by Beta Readers and I knew I would be taking a short break to let the story “rest” before wrapping it up for publication in September.
I have a lot of stories in my head where I want to profile an event or a character. There isn’t enough there to grow into a larger story but it is still something I want to express. Novellas give me the freedom to do that.
What is the difference between a short story and a novella?
Mainly word count. A short story tops out at about 17,000 words, and a novella begins at about 20,000 words. Dance of Hearts will be 20,000 words plus.
Does this mean you aren’t doing full-length books anymore!?
Publication of full-length books is ongoing, with Bane of Hounds (book #3 in the College Fae series) set to release in September. The fourth and last book in the College Fae series is planned for the summer of 2021. Being the last book, I will be working longer on it so I can wrap up the story in a satisfying way.
You call these Tip Jar stories. What does this mean?
Over the last year, I’ve realized that publishing 3 BOOKS a year is about the top of what I can produce. Pushing myself this last year I produced FOUR books, but meanwhile my hands became injured from repetitive typing and sitting too long brought its own health problems.
But, if I don’t keep writing and publishing I run the chance of being forgotten by my fans or not reaching new people. The Amazon platform actually punishes writers who don’t produce every 90 days (sad, but true).
As a reader, you may not be aware of the income I receive from your ebook purchase. While free books for readers is great, for a writer it does not put food on the table. A book priced at 99 cents gives me .35 cents in commission and a book at a $1.99 gives me .70 cents.
By pricing the ebook novellas at $1.99, this makes a huge difference to me per sale (it doubles my commission), yet that price is still affordable for readers to enjoy my stories.
These are ebooks – will there be a print edition?
Once all four stories publish, I plan on a print edition in May of 2021 which will have all four stories in one volume. The compilation will be priced at $11.99 per print book or $5.99 for the ebook.
Tell us about the book covers.
Since these tales are historical in nature, I didn’t want to go with the typical ball gown covers you find with the fairytale genre because these imply a Disney-like fairytale stories which these are not. Instead, I hope these covers convey a bit of the more formal aspect of the social manners that I will be portraying in the the story.
Purchasing professional book covers is very expensive (anywhere from $300 to $1,000 easy). To keep the price of publishing these novellas down, I’ve done the book covers myself in Photoshop using photography from istockphoto. I know many dislike the use of faces and models on the cover as they want to “imagine” the character. For that reason I’ve gone with the face turned away and the hair being the main focus.
With the print edition, I’ll be going with a paid book cover design.
The Romantic Fairytale series won’t be as hard-hitting as my Grimm-Dark series (coming in late 2021). They are more suited to readers wanting a light, happily-ever-after quick read, with a historical setting and a splash of fairy magic.
To know when Dance of Hearts or Bane of Hounds releases, you can subscribe to my newsletter (here or here for your free book of choice), and/or follow me on Bookbub or Amazon to receive an email notification when the books launch.