{Guest Post}: Twisted Lit Series by Kim Askew & Amy Helmes

Tempestuous: A Modern-Day Spin on Shakespeare's The Tempest (Twisted Lit, #1)Tempestuous: A Modern-Day Spin on Shakespeare's The Tempest (Twisted Lit #1)
by Kim Askew & Amy Helmes
Hardcover, 224 pages
Expected publication: December 18th 2012 by Merit Press

Recently banished, unfairly, by the school’s popular crowd, former “it girl,” Miranda Prospero, finds herself in a brave new world: holding dominion amongst a rag-tag crew of geeks and misfits where she works at the Hot-Dog Kabob in the food court of her local mall. When the worst winter storm of the season causes mall workers and last-minute shoppers to be snowed-in for the night, Miranda seizes the opportunity to get revenge against the catty clique behind her social exile. With help from her delightfully dweeby coworker, Ariel, and a sullen loner named Caleb who works at the mall’s nearby gaming and magic shop, Miranda uses charm and trickery to set things to right during this spirited take on Shakespeare’s The Tempest.

Exposure: A Modern-Day Spin on Shakespeare's Macbeth (Twisted Lit, #2)Exposure: A Modern-Day Spin on Shakespeare's Macbeth (Twisted Lit #2)
by Kim Askew & Amy Helmes
Hardcover, 272 pages
Expected publication: January 18th 2013 by Merit Press

Double, double, toil and trouble. Sometimes, the quest for high school royalty can be deadly! In this emotionally-charged twist on Shakespeare’s Macbeth, a self-conscious shutterbug named Skye Kingston navigates a treacherous school year in Alaska fraught with unspoken secrets and tragic twists of fate. Along the way she encounters three strangely prophetic BFFs; one social-climbing, sociopathic cheerleader; and a heart-stopping hottie named Craig McKenzie: the man who would be Prom King. Can Skye save the boy she loves — and herself — before they get caught in the crosshairs?

Fashion in the Twisted Lit Series

While Shakespeare inspired the books in our Twisted Lit series, the fact that they’re modern-day retellings means the characters aren’t adorned in Elizabethan-era fashions. The guys aren’t wearing tights or, god forbid, codpieces, and there’s nary a ruff (one of those big, frilly white collars) in either Exposure (our take on Macbeth) or Tempestuous (inspired by The Tempest).
That said, we think our characters still have plenty of style!
In Exposure, our redheaded heroine and high school senior, Skye Kingston, is a photographer who prefers to observe the world as an outsider rather than claim the center of attention. She keeps things simple with a favorite daily “uniform” that includes Chuck Taylors, jeans, t-shirts, an army green corduroy messenger bag, and a green hunter’s cap with lambs-wool earflaps.
In classic Prom tradition, Skye transforms from wallflower to goddess after finding the perfect dress at a secondhand shop in her hometown of Anchorage, Alaska. Here’s an excerpt, wherein Skye describes donning the dress on Prom night.
“...I shimmied gingerly into the sapphire, almost-new gown that the manager of Savvy Seconds had brought from the backroom for us the weekend earlier. Looking into the full-length mirror hanging on mom’s bedroom door, I seriously felt like I was having an out-of-body experience.
The dress hugged my body in all the right places, almost as if it had been made for me. I turned and peered over my shoulder to check out the plunging back. Mom had pinned a white orchid to the side of my head, and my hair cascaded down in smooth waves. I could’ve sworn I’d been magically transformed into some sort of Pre-Raphaelite princess. It’s amazing what a little makeup, a curling iron, and one hell of a dress could do, I decided.”
Skye’s nemesis in Exposure is an ambitious (and possibly psycho) cheerleader named Beth who happens to be dating the school’s hockey star Craig MacKenzie, aka Skye’s secret crush.
Beth’s fervent hope is that she and Craig will be crowned Prom King and Queen. Unlike Skye,appearance is everything to Beth. She always has the latest handbag on her arm and pines after designer clothing. On Halloween, she shows up to school dressed as an appropriately wicked devil, while Skye chooses a costume that’s decidedly less “sexy”: Charlie Chaplin.
Tempestuous’s strong-willed heroine, Miranda Prospero, had a long love affair with fashion, but that was all before she lost her allowance--and her place at the top of her school’s social strata after a failed money-making scheme went awry. As punishment, she’s forced to work at Hot Dog Kabob, a corn dog stand in the local mall food court. The worst part of it all? Donning the Hot Dog Kabob’s ghastly regulation uniform. Here’s Miranda describing it in her own words, in an excerpt from the book:
“...and so I was resigned to looking like an escaped circus lunatic in head-to-toe garish blue and yellow stripes. Have I mentioned the worst part? The fake plastic wiener that sits atop the hat, spinning on an axis? It’s basically a fashionista’s worst nightmare come to life, but try telling that to my dad … or the school superintendent who insisted I take a job as part of my ‘reparations.’”
Meanwhile, Miranda’s ex-friends--Rachel, Britney, and Whitney--delight in visiting the Hot Dog Kabob stand to flaunt their latest acquisitions: expensive matching boots and designer sunglasses. When they all get trapped in the mall overnight during a wicked winter storm,Miranda tries to convince her mall colleagues to help her wreak vengeance on her former besties.
If you find Skye, Miranda, and the other characters we’ve introduced intriguing, we hope you’ll check out our Twisted Lit series. Thanks, Katrina, for letting us drop by with a guest post!

The Authors:
Kim Askew (on right) and Amy Helmes (on left) are the authors of Tempestuous: A Modern-Day Spin on
Shakespeare’s The Tempest and Exposure: A Modern-Day Spin on Shakespeare’s
Macbeth. Find out more about their books at twistedlitbooks.com.


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