Beauty Tremain had spent her life being thrown into the path of ogres and noblemen by her title-hungry father, Noble Tremain (whose name is really Frank.) Escaping the bonds of her sadistic matchmaker father to work for a dragon-owned temp agency, Beauty hesitantly takes a mysterious job working for a butler in an enormous mansion. When the mansion’s owner, James Hightower, proves to be a seven-foot-tall brooding beast with the bad habit of hurling statuary from the rooftop, it’s up to Beauty to roll up her sleeves and argue her way to a paycheck. When Beauty and James start having feelings for each other, however, they determine their relationship is the least of their concerns. Beauty’s father re-enters the scene armed with lawsuits and threats. To add to the chaos, James’s mischievous ex-fiancee shows up to reclaim him. Beauty and the beast need to somehow control their tempers long enough to return the favors with schemes of their own.
The Beauty and Beast in all of us
By Jenniffer Wardell
For writers, characters can become like family members – we listen to them talk a lot, know all of their dirty little secrets, are there through all their best and worst moments, and occasionally we feel a burning need to stab them or drop them off the edge of a cliff. And, like that sibling who's completely the opposite of you but somehow just as stubborn as you are, they can sometimes help a writer better understand the best and worst parts of themselves.
In "Beast Charming," I wanted to create a version of "Beauty and the Beast" where Beauty feels just as lost and out of place as Beast does. She's got her own anger issues, just like James, and never seems to say the "right" thing no matter how much she wants to. You don't have to be tall and furry to feel like a freak, and if you're carrying something like that around inside you there's no makeover in the world that will take it away again. True Beastliness is on the inside, not the outside, and doesn't necessarily have anything to do with what you look like. What does help is finding someone who feels the same way, and realizing that it's not so bad being out there on the fringes together.
Having plenty of firsthand experience at feeling like a freak – my school years were one long blur of sheer awkwardness – it was easy to tap into that for my heroine and hero. True, I've never been enchanted by a vengeful ex, or forced into fairy tale after fairy tale by my father in the hopes of getting a son-in-law who's a member of the nobility, but feeling strange and alone is a universal experience. I gave Beauty and James all of my fears, all of my doubts, and had them work through them together. By the end, I felt like the three of us could have been pretty good friends if we'd all happened to grow up in the same version of reality.
More importantly, I wanted other people who felt the same way to feel as close to Beauty and James as I do. We Beasts of the world don't tend to get our own heroes – no matter how much the character growls or shouts, the beastly character technically qualifies as the dude in distress – which means that we're stuck as side characters. As the person who gets fixed, or changed.
Instead of a heroine and/or hero riding in to save the day, all shiny and bright, I wanted Beauty and Beast to be able to save each other. I wanted them to be brave in a way I wasn't when I was younger, to learn to love themselves more fully than I managed it back in those days. To learn that they were worthy of having a story that was all about them.
Beauty and James have some of my greatest weaknesses – plus some I'm happy to admit I don't have – but they also represent the best parts of my heart.
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