Author of Ktieb Tas-Shahar.
Today, I am pleased to welcome Maltese author Rowena Grech to talk to us about her collection of dark fairytale retellings Ktieb Tas-Shahar.
Helen: Welcome Rowena. I am so excited to meeet you and that we get to chat about your book today!! Tell us about your collection of adult fairytale retellings. I understand they are quite dark and thought provoking.
Rowena: This book features 19 stories. It is a re-telling of different fairy tales for an adult audience in contemporary settings. Not all stories consist of immersive fantasy. Some tales are solely used for their titles and the repertoire that they carry in order to create another story. I also used photography in order to accompany further story telling with symbolism found in the photos.
Helen: That is quite an accomplishment, pulling together 19 stories into one book. And I love the twist your photos suggest you have incorporated into your version of the fairytales. How did you decide on the cover for you retellings?
Rowena: The cover is showing a broken castle and red-riding hood staring in front it. I chose it since it represents the dark attributes that adulthood brings with it upon us humans.
Helen: It is a beautiful cover, drawing you in, much like Little red riding hood and very atmospheric. How about the title? You published this collection in Maltese with a Maltese tilte, I believe?
Rowena: The title in English means A book of Fairy / Witch Tales.
Helen: What made you decide to write fairytale retellings? What made you write this particular book?
Rowena: It was a therapeutic way for me to pour my disappointments and bitterness that life had in store for me. I finished during the pandemic, where the first 3 months in Winter were an introvert’s paradise. I could just write and read without any social obligations imposed on me.
Helen: I think Covid stirred many inner creatives, and gave many people the chance to express their ideas. When did you realise you had a passion for writing?
Rowena: Since I was a child I used to invent stories and then I started writing them in narrative essays at schools. My stories were often read in the classroom due to being original and I guess that encouraged me to keep on writing. Then I totally stopped during my teenage years and got back to writing when I was around 30 years and older.
Helen: Well, I’m glad you returned to writing. Which genre do you prefer to write?
Rowena: Dark fantasy. The pleasure of building allegories in between the lines of what seems a simple story for pleasure.
Helen: Turning to the writing process for a moment, which element of the writing process do you find most challenging?
Rowena: When I need to write dialogue I tend to get a bit stuck. The reason is because the way we speak is very different from the way dialogue is written in a book. And also because I am not the most talkative person on earth thus it gets a bit hard to imagine what other people would say.
Helen: Every writer experiences self-doubt. How do you overcome the fear and the little voice in your head to keep writing?
Rowena: Even though I have been published, the little voices still torment me when it comes to writing out my new stuff. I guess you have to keep on pushing and ignoring these little voices till they are nothing more than whispers.
Helen: Great advice. What is one of the most useful resources you have found to help you write?
Rowena: Music. It is a must. And other good books that inspire my imagination.
Helen: Authors are typically great readers. What are some of you favourite reads. What would you recommend?
Rowena: The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly. It is my favourite book for re-telling of fairy-tale characters. Also, Haruki Murakami Kafka on the Shore, John Boyne All The Broken Places, Lord of The Rings, Stephen Fry Mythos, Verity by Colleen Hoover.
Helen: If you didn’t write Dark Fantasy, what genre would you love to try?
Rowena: Science fiction since I’m a laboratory analyst and I find science very amusing.
Helen: Thnk you so much for joining me today, it was lovey chatting with you. Final question, what is the best piece of advice you’ve recieved?
Rowena: Jan Carson. The use of past and present verbs make a huge difference. She also emphasized on the importance and how to create credible characters.
You can find Rowena’s book blog on:
You can purchase Katieb Tas-Shahar here:
Link to book on Midsea Books: Paperback
If you enjoy fantasy books with a touch of romance then you will love SoulBreather, or my epic fantasy Sentinal series. As a new threat against Remargaren is discovered, only one man can wake the ancient guards who can protect them, only he doesn’t know how. Start the adventure and stay for the journey. Sign up to my newsletter and download a free novella called Sentinals Stirring and get notified when my next books are published.