Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Win a Copy of The Next Full Moon by Carolyn Turgeon

The Next Full Moon by Carolyn Turgeon will be released on March 13th and Carolyn has offered up a copy for a giveaway here on SurLaLune.

She and I have been trying to come up with a fun giveaway idea--I like to make you work for it a little--by providing a question to answer.

Carolyn's thoughts:

Well the book's about a 12-year-old girl who, to her extreme embarrassment, begins growing feathers, and eventually a feathered robe, and then discovers that her mother (whom she thought died when she was a child) was (and is) a swan maiden... It's based on the old swan maiden stories but here's the child left behind... So it could be something like "what do you imagine happened to the swan maiden's children?" (after recounting some old tales...) Or "what would you do if YOU started growing feathers?" Or maybe something about the magical feathered robe and/or magical objects generally..???

And I am not sure how familiar many of the readers here are with Swan Maiden tales. I have the tale up on SurLaLune for annotation, but it's not annotated although variants and interpretations are listed there. And, for full disclosure, a Swan Maiden collection from SurLaLune is slated for release in 2013. I have so MANY variants collected now, but I need to edit, translate and gloss to produce a worthy book. But that's a while off. Until I started reading so much about fairy tales, I myself was most familiar with the Swan Lake ballet more than any other version of Swan Maiden stories. The ballet is a derivative of the ATU 400 Swan Maiden tales that are quite abundant in parts of the world.

So I will leave it open--share your thoughts on Swan Maidens, from your lack of familiarity to a favorite version to how you would reimagine it. Comment here or send me an email to share. I will draw a name from the entries to win a copy of the book. Deadline is March 9, 2012.

Book description:

This thoroughly compelling, gorgeously told tale, begins as the weather turns warm enough to swim in the local lake, twelve-year-old Ava is looking forward to a lazy summer, and her crush, Jeff is most definitely taking notice of her. Everything is going beautifully. Until Ava starts to grow feathers—all over her shoulders, arms, and back. Horrified, mortified, and clad in a hoodie, she hides out in her bedroom missing her dead mother and worrying about the summer, and the rest of her freakish life... Carolyn Turgeon has a gift for imagining magical worlds. In Ava’s case, this other-worldly place belongs to the Swan Maidens, one of whom is Ava’s mother. Ava goes back and forth between middle school and this magical realm taking the reader along for an exhilarating, extraordinary ride.


  1. I wish I was more familiar with Swan Maiden tales, in general. I am mostly familiar with Swan Lake and variants. I would recommend for anyone who is a fan of such stories to look into an anime series called Princess Tutu, though. I know that's an awful name, but if you enjoy folklore, it plays with it gloriously and despite having a young intended audience, has great complexity of character development, including a mad prince Siegfried, and a sympathetic black swan. It also uses the Tchaikovsky music to simply stunning effect, and plays with the stories of some of his other ballet adaptions beautifully.

  2. I love how she describes it like a cloak of feathers, this makes me think of the hagoromo tales of Japan, which I'm familiar with more than any of the others. I would love to know more. There something so powerful about these stories, particularly in the way they show a man attempting to tame a wild, magical thing and failing...

  3. Wow, this book sounds fascinating. I have always loved bird maidens and bird wives and one of the stories I am working on involves them. Mine are also young women.

    I am fascinated by their different roles, I have read many stories where they help out the hero, telling him how to accomplish the tasks he must do. They are brave and magical and much more intelligent them him, but marry him all the same.

    I can think of a Russian one with a wife who is a blue jay or something. One about three swan maiden sisters, daughters of a wizard, one falls for the protagonist and helps him with his tasks.

    I think I remember a story where a bird wife leaves her unworthy husband, turning their children into birds, too.

    There is a Japanese one about a white crane, which may be the one Brittany mentioned. In it a white crane is rescued by an old man. In return she becomes the child of the old couple and weaves tapestries for them to sell, but when they see her true nature, she has to leave. I wrote a short muscial about this when I was thirteen, I wonder if it is still around somewhere?

    I remember a couple of stories involving bird maidens where the young man sees them bathing in the water and takes their skins so that they cannot turn back into birds, an aspect which will probably appear in my story. It seems in this story, it is turned around, and, instead of drawing in her crush with her beauty, she finds herself starting to become a bird and is horrified.

    I am really excited to see that other people remember these stories, and love them as much as I do!


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  5. Most of my familiarity with Swan Maidens comes from the Swan Princess in its variations. The first one I came across was the animated version which came out -- oh so many years ago now. And then I read Mercedes Lackey's Black Swan -- this was around the time I was starting to appreciate all the different variations of fairy tales, and fed that fascination.

    Since then I've come across Swan Maidens mentioned in other contexts but I'm afraid I haven't explored it too much. I love the idea of a feather cloak as a means of transformation -- I love tranformative stories, anyway, so perhaps I should look into swan maidens a little more closely! This concept reminds me of the selkie stories, or anything where the fur or coat is required for the transformation.

    And in those stories, the children usually get left behind. Of course there's not a whole lot of followup but it does leave an intriguing story pathway to explore -- how often are they pure human in their actions and abilities? How often would they want to return to their animal side? (Whether a seal or a swan....)

  6. Well, I just got the Swan Maiden and the Seven Swans tales mixed up. The Seven Swans and variants I know fairly well (I loved Marillier's and Marriott's retellings), but I've actually never heard of the Swan Maiden... (Sad, I know. My knowledge needs to expand.)

    If I started growing feathers, I'd do exactly what Ava does - hide under a hoodie in my bedroom. Not only would it avoid awkward situations, I'd also have time to catch up on my reading. :)

  7. I don't know very much about the Swan Maidens, though they have showed up on the outskirts of some of my favorite novels and I have always wanted to know more. The story of the Seven Swans has been my favorite fairytale for many years. :)

  8. What would I do if I grew feathers? That's SUCH an intriguing question. My reaction would be not only my own but that of my husband and children (my dog is blind, so I don't think he would mind much). I imagine it would be one of those times when I think it's the most horrible thing that's ever happened to me, but would inevitably be wonderful. If those feathers gave me wings and the wings meant I could fly, I think I would definitely love it!

  9. I'm very unfamiliar with Swan Maidens, but I love Carolyn Turgeon's books. I'm sure she'll make the story unforgettable! As for what I would do if I grew feathers (aside from fly): tickle everyone I could find.