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Not Your Typical Romeo and Juliet: Guest Post from Kim Askew & Amy Helmes

Today its time for a quick guest post from Kim Askew and Amy Helmes, these awesome women have put their mark on Shakespeare with their Twisted Lit Series (reviews coming soon, sorry guys!) The latest of these is Anyone But You, a remake of Romeo & Juilet and the authors dropped by Readaraptor to tell you guys more about it… 
Confession time: The prospect of putting our own stamp on Romeo & Juliet, filled us with equal parts excitement and dread. Having already used Macbeth and The Tempest as springboards for our first two releases in our Twisted Lit series (Exposure and Tempestuous, respectively), we realized it was time to tackle the Bard’s timeless teen tragedy. (You can’t created a series of Shakespeare-inspired YA novels and not “go there,” after all.)

We were plenty familiar with the story — who isn’t?  — and therein lay our biggest reservations. How do you do justice to the greatest love story of all time? Does the world even need another modern redo of Romeo and Juliet? These were two of the big questions we pondered as we thought about approaching the tale. How do you tell an age-old story without succumbing to the “been-there, done-that” trap? 

We agreed that we would only write a R&J retelling if we could do so in a completely inventive way, creating a story that would be fresh, unique and most importantly, unpredictable. Our “Eureka!” moment came when we started to think about the origins of the Capulet/Montague feud. Why did Romeo and Juliet’s families hate each other so much in the first place? It was a theme that had yet to be explored. Deciding to set our lovebirds’ story in Chicago’s Little Italy among two competing pizza parlors triggered another idea that would greatly inspire us — namely, the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair. With these ideas as our catalyst, it instantly became clear to us how we could tell two simultaneous storylines (one set in the past and one set in the present) that would converge in a memorable (if bittersweet) nexus. With that, we were off and running. Like giddy teenage girls with a brand new crush, we fell in love with this novel from the first moment we started writing it. More than retelling Romeo and Juliet, Anyone But You pays homage to it in a way we think Shakespeare fans and Shakespeare-phobes will each find wholly satisfying, any way you slice it.

Thanks, Raimy, for letting us drop by!
Kim and Amy 
Find out more by dropping by the Twisted Lit Books website, liking Twisted Lit on Facebook 
or by following on twitter: @kaskew and @amyhelmes

  • Interesting post! I haven’t read many Romeo and Juliet re-makes (I haven’t even read the original, haha) but I know that there are plenty of modern re-tellings already. But the backstory behind Capulet and Montague sounds like something I’ll read! 😀 Thanks for sharing, Raimy.