Etzel
the donkey just couldn’t face walking to the mill this morning. His
knees and back ached as if the heavy sacks of grain or flour he often
carried were already on his back. His master, Herr Hofmann, stood at
the doorway to Etzel’s stall, clucking his tongue like an angry
woodpecker.



Ach! Are
you coming or not, you insolent, lazy beast?”


Etzel gazed at him.
He wouldn’t set foot from his stall, not for all the hay in the
field. Well, maybe for that he would.
But he certainly wouldn’t go out if Herr Hofmann expected him to
make a trip to the mill.


~*~


These
are the opening lines to my newest book,
The
Road to Bremen
,
which released this month.
It’s
quite different than anything else I’ve published before. It’s a
fairy tale retelling, thus fitting under the label of fantasy. It’s
100,000 words shorter than my shortest novel, measuring in at just
under 20,000. And it’s written with children in mind, though I
attempted to write like my favorite children’s books authors, whose
stories don’t talk down to their readers and are therefore
appreciated by older audiences, too.




When
I started writing
The Road to Bremen,
I wasn’t sure I would publish it. As my author bio relates, “
Bogged
down during the crafting of a much longer book, Kelsey started
writing a retelling of one of her favorite fairy tales, ‘The Bremen
Town Musicians,’ to resuscitate her creativity. She rather liked
the result.” I wrote it for fun, and as I wrote, the idea that it
would be a nice book to have illustrated began to take shape. I even
knew who I’d ask. (Check back for her interview!) Well, that meant
publishing, right?




The
rest is history, and here we are at the present day.
The
Road to Bremen

is available as a paperback and an e-book.




The
Grimms’ fairy tale “The Bremen Town Musicians” is about four
elderly animals who have outlived their usefulness, according to
their owners. I set my retelling in mid-1600s Germany. Etzel the
donkey can’t haul grain like he used to and just wants to rest.
J
äger
the dog is almost deaf and can no longer hunt or guard his master’s
house. Katarina isn’t a good mouser anymore. Rüdiger, being
replaced by younger cocks, is destined for dinner. But instead of
accepting their fate and concluding that they are indeed useless,
these old farm animals set off on a new adventure to pursue a dream:
becoming musicians in the grand city of Bremen. But of course the
journey is far from easy and far from what they expect.





We have been very
honorable in pursuing this music-making and doing such a noble thing
with our lives. It is only to be expected that our lives are in
danger.”



Rüdiger
the rooster




My
favorite aspect of writing the story was the characters. Etzel is a
humble and visionary leader, yet proud of being a donkey. J
äger
is a droopy, lovable hound dog who follows along and tries not to
cause trouble. Katarina is a spunky spitfire of a cat who can’t
help but be annoyed by
Rüdiger
the rooster. R
üdiger
is an intelligent creature who values dignity and honor and quotes
Aesop. Together, they make a band of musicians . . . and more
important, a band of friends and heroes.





My illustrator, E. Kaiser Writes, did a phenomenal job of bringing the animals’ images
to life on the page. I’m excited to be interviewing her in a couple
of days! And I hope you’ll join these animals on their quest if
you’re in the mood for a heart-warming read.
See on Amazon
 

2 thoughts on “The Origin of The Road to Bremen

  1. It was my pleasure to draw up these scenes from your story, Kelsey… they leapt off the page and into my brain, so it was like unleashing an already well-rounded personality onto the paper when it came time to get them sketched out!!!
    Thanks for the opportunity to work with you!!! 🙂

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