Guest Post by “Twisted Lit” authors Kim Askew and Amy Helmes
People often ask us why we decided to base our new “Twisted Lit” series of YA books off the works of William Shakespeare. Well, as total Shakespeare geeks (and if you’re reading this, we’re guessing you are, too), it was a no-brainer. Since long before we started writing together, we’ve been fans of unique Shakespeare stagings, from MacHomer — Rick Miller’s ingenious one-man mash-up of Macbeth and The Simpsons, to the L.A.-based Troubies’ productions, which combine the playwright with 20th-century pop music. (A recent favorite: A Midsummer Saturday Night’s Fever Dream.)
In addition to being suckers for quirky and offbeat interpretations of the Bard’s works, we’re equally inspired by the timelessness of what he wrote. His thrilling plots and universal themes are perfectly suited to the sort of page-turning, culturally-relevant stories we want to convey. And, when you consider that so many of Shakespeare’s most famous characters are young adults grappling with dysfunctional families and falling in love (uh, Romeo & Juliet, anyone?) — you could almost say he was one of the original “YA” authors!
Here’s the skinny on the first two novels in our series:
TEMPESTUOUS: In this updated spin on The Tempest, former “it girl” Miranda has been banished from the popular crowd and forced to work at the dreaded mall food court. When a snowstorm strands her and her high school cohorts overnight in the mall, she uses the opportunity to take sweet revenge on her ex-boyfriend and a trio of former bffs.
EXPOSURE: Our modern interpretation of Macbeth takes place over the course of one year in an Alaskan high school. Heroine Skye has a gigantic crush on Craig, the boy who would be Prom King. But when his ambitions (and his social-climbing, sociopathic girlfriend) get the best of him, tragedy and hidden truths spiral dangerously out of control.
From the sad-but-true files: A recent study out of England found that nearly a third of all schoolchildren under the age of 13 hadn’t heard of the UK’s most celebrated writer. (The stats for adults weren’t much better.) While our books are meant to entertain, pure and simple, we certainly wouldn’t mind if they turned more teens on to the original plays that inspired them. Just check out our Twisted Lit promo. video below and you’ll understand why we believe you’re never too young to take on Shakespeare!
Kim (right) and Amy (left)