Melanie Dickerson is a New York Times bestselling author and a Christy Award winner. Her latest novel is a fresh re-imagining of the classic Pied Piper tale, The Piper’s Pursuit (Thomas Nelson): Together Katerina and Steffan must stop the enemy from stealing the children of Hamlin–but their interference might create an even worse fate for the entire village. In this exclusive interview, Melanie talks to FamilyFiction about the process of turning an old story into something new, reveals the fairy tales she hasn’t “cracked” (yet), and ponders the great idea that we just gave her.
What made you decide to rework the ‘Pied Piper of Hamlin’ into The Piper’s Pursuit?
I rarely ever remember exactly how a book idea started. I knew I wanted to do a story with Steffan as the hero, and I had very fond memories of visiting Hamlin, Germany, over twenty years ago, and seeing all the tourist-y things related to that fairy tale. There were rats and pied pipers everywhere, although not of the flesh-and-blood kind.
But I’d been reluctant to write a retelling of it because the fairy tale is pretty dark and doesn’t have a romance thread. But once I committed to writing it, I found ways of making it less dark, of giving it a happy ending, and of empowering the hero and heroine to effect positive change in others’ lives as well as their own.
What were your goals writing this book?
I always want to encourage and entertain. Those are my goals with every book. Beyond that, I also wanted to show what it’s like to go through life distrusting others because of something bad someone had done to you. It’s cold and it’s hard. It’s okay to be cautious, but eventually it shows maturity and character when you learn to trust again.
Also, I wanted to show that a person can forgive themselves for bad things they’ve done because of what Jesus did for us, the fact that God forgives and loves freely.
What part of writing The Piper’s Pursuit was the most challenging or most surprising?
I didn’t really like the scenes where the children were trapped in the mine. And it’s always challenging to show the evil mindset of the villain while still making them believable.
Click thru to find out Melanie’s process of working with classic tales to create new stories…