This is a guest post by Shonna Slayton, the author of Spindle.
My new book, Spindle, is a Sleeping Beauty inspired tale set in the late 1800s. It’s more of a sequel than a retelling, born from my musing about what happened to the magic spindle that didn’t fulfill its curse. There are many elements that make up this story, and the one I want to talk about today is the main character’s heritage.
Briar is the daughter of poor Irish immigrants who came to America near the end of the Great Famine, often referred to as the potato famine.
There was such an influx of immigrants into America at that time that some people had a fear that the Irish would take over the available jobs while putting downward pressure on wages. The Irish immigrants were willing to work at lower wages than the locals were, so many ended up in cotton mills like the one Briar is working at, often living in shanty towns on the edge of the city. They came with nothing, fleeing from hunger. In America they were able to work and eat. That was a change for the better.
When Briar tries to pick up extra work in addition to her spinning job, she runs into NINA signs which mean No Irish Need Apply. Or INNA, Irish Need Not Apply.
Spindle isn’t a story directly about the plight of immigrants, but the Irish immigration is Briar’s background and part of her story. Given the tales her parents told her, and the way they lived, you can understand where Briar gets her work ethic and her family loyalty.
I enjoyed intertwining Briar’s Irish heritage with the story of Sleeping Beauty, but I do it in a way you might not expect. *says the author who is trying to talk about her story without giving away spoilers*
SHONNA SLAYTON writes historical fairy tales for Entangled TEEN. She finds inspiration in reading vintage diaries written by teens, who despite using different slang, sound a lot like teenagers today. When not writing, Shonna enjoys amaretto lattes and spending time with her husband and children in Arizona.
Find out more about Shonna’s books, including how to download a free one, at ShonnaSlayton.com
In a world where fairies lurk and curses linger, love can bleed like the prick of a finger…
Briar Rose knows her life will never be a fairy tale. She’s raising her siblings on her own, her wages at the spinning mill have been cut, and the boy she thought she had a future with has eyes for someone else. Most days it feels like her best friend, Henry Prince, is the only one in her corner…though with his endless flirty jokes, how can she ever take him seriously?
When a mysterious peddler offers her a “magic” spindle that could make her more money, sneaking it into the mill seems worth the risk. But then one by one, her fellow spinner girls come down with the mysterious sleeping sickness…and Briar’s not immune.
If Briar wants to save the girls―and herself―she’ll have to start believing in fairy tales…and in the power of a prince’s kiss.