Behind the Book: The Catch
by Nessa Vincent
The Catch is a fairy tale where being a fairy is the problem. Our hero, Vic, is a fairy, and he’s invisible to the human man he’s fallen in love with. But with the help of one morally gray dragon and a magic spell, voila, Vic gets a devastatingly sexy human body and his man’s complete attention. At least, he has the body for a while—but there’s a catch. Complications ensue, etc. etc.
Does this sound familiar? I’m not going to lie: it’s the basic plot of “The Little Mermaid.” While it’s not quite the oldest story in the book, the Hans Christian Anderson tale dates back to 1837. Personally I’m more familiar with the Disney version; circa 1993 I could reenact the movie from start to finish with My Little Pony toys. (I’m sure my mother has that on VHS somewhere.)
But the story arc is deceptively simple: protagonists can’t be together, they find a way, something is threatened or taken away, they have to get it back. I didn’t even think about “The Little Mermaid” while I was putting together The Catch. I just knew I wanted to write a story about the perils of using magic to get to be with the person you love.
I was still in the figuring-out-how-it-works phase of drafting The Catch when I realized my story was sort of following the Hans Christian Andersen tale. Thinking I might find some guidance on how to bring the story to a conclusion, I cheerfully looked up the original.
And that pretty much ended my cheerfulness.
I won’t ruin the original story for you if you’re not familiar with it, but I will say that it’s kind of…bleak. And the ending? Well, it’s not Disney.
None of that was going to work for The Catch. This is about love! And also sex! And sexy love! It’s one thing to spend the whole book throwing obstacles in my characters’ paths, be it their own fear of committment or meddling magicians or that pesky dragon again. But they had to end up together.
So I had to break up with Hans to get my heroes to their happily ever after. But the fairy tale gave me the bones of The Catch, and all I had to do was flesh it out. (Spoiler: there’s lots of flesh.) And it gave me the idea behind the book: with a determined character like Vic, there’s no stopping love. Even if there are dragons in the way.