Fairy Tales and Childhood Memories

Congratulations to “Michelle W”, the winner of Sandra’s giveaway. Thank you to all who participated.

In my gothic romance Castle of the Wolf, my heroine Cissy inherits a castle in the Black Forest and travels to the south of Germany. Thus, for me, writing this story became a journey back in time, a journey to the land of my childhood: during my primary school years my family lived in a small town in the Black Forest. It was an ideal place to grow up: there were fields and meadows, ruined castles, and, of course, the deep, dark woods which had given the area its name. All these places just waited to be explored and formed the backdrop for many of my childhood adventures.

The landscape of the Black Forest also easily lends itself to fairy tales and folktales: local legends tell of evil and unjust lords who were transformed into black horses, of witches and black poodles, of demonic hares and the devil, who holds court on a mountain. And once a year, at carnival, these tales come alive, when locals don the traditional wooden masks and fanciful costumes.

The contrast between the beautiful landscape and eerie legends made the Black Forest the ideal setting for my own gothic tale. When she arrives at her new castle, Cissy will indeed meet the Big, Bad Wolf: the castle is not only partially ruined, but it is also inhabited by a rather grumpy man named after the demon wolf of Nordic mythology. Luckily, Cissy is no Little Red Riding Hood, and — as the wolf in question will find out — she is not easily scared away. Even when  he does his best to rival a gothic hero:

“I am the master of the Castle of Wolfenbach.”

Slowly, Cissy turned into the direction of that new voice, dark and compelling.

He was tall and as lean as a greyhound. Wavy dark hair fell into his strongboned face, almost into his burning eyes. A sneer twisted his mouth as he stood in the middle of the vast hall, arms crossed in front of his chest. Cissy’s gaze wandered over his body, over his shabby, dusty clothes, over the twist of his hip that rested the weight on his sound right leg and relieved the wooden left.

He cocked an eyebrow at her. “I am the master of the Castle of Wolfenbach.”

Cissy blinked.

If he was aiming at impersonating the villain from a gothic novel, he was succeeding rather nicely. Of course, the overall effect could still be heightened by, say, a blood-dripping knife or a polished skull. No, that’s Hamlet. To be or not to be.

From her thawing toes a sharp pain shot up her body. She surely had envisioned her arrival at her castle differently.

Cissy frowned.

Her castle.

To be or not to be, indeed.

She looked the man straight into the eyes and slowly lifted her brows. “Actually,” she said sweetly, “that’s not quite true. I am the master of the Castle of Wolfenbach now. Or rather” — she gave him a beaming smile and hoped it would annoy him just as much as her hurting toes were annoying her — “its mistress.”

Stories and fairy tales play an important role in Castle of the Wolf, but in order to reach her own happy ending, Cissy will have to unravel the secrets of the castle, unmask evil, and find a way to redeem the grumpy wolf. 

Not to speak of getting rid of the rats and the bats…

Author Bio
Sandra Schwab has been enchanting readers with her unusual historicals since 2005, when her first novel The Lily Brand was published. She lives in Frankfurt/Main in Germany with a sketchbook, a sewing machine, and an ever-expanding library.

You can find her online at www.sandraschwab.com

Or you can chat with her on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/SandraSchwab.Author 
and on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ScribblingSandy

Would you like to win a magical swag pack consisting of a signed paper copy of Castle of the Wolf (first edition from Dorchester), German tea, and German chocolate? Then enter the giveaway here on JPR! (I promise I will not include any rats or bats in the package!)

Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST Oct. 26th. Please supply your email in the post. You may use spaces or full text for security. (ex. jsmith at gmail dot com) If you do not wish to supply your email, or have trouble posting, please email maureen@JustParanormalRomance.com with a subject title of JPR GIVEAWAY to be entered in the current giveaway.


  1. I love hearing / reading about old folklore and tales. And, Cissy seems like my kind of gal… a bit antagonistic with a touch of humor. But, cold toes can do that to a person. 🙂
    Julie O
    jo1063jo at gmail dot com

    • With a grumpy hero like Fenris she definitely needs a touch of humour – without it, the aforementioned hero probably wouldn’t have survived the book. 😉

      Thanks so much for stopping by, Julie!

  2. The Black Forest sounds like a wonderful setting for a gothic tale.
    mce1011 AT aol DOT com

  3. Interesting setting

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

  4. What a wonderful childhood that must have been! I could envision it in my mind, though I am certain the reality must have been much, much better. Thank you so much for sharing, and for this wonderful giveaway. I would love a signed copy of your book. It sounds great (and chocolate and tea to go along with it would be divine). michelle_willms(at)yahoo(dot)com

    • I loved it very much, and I was heartbroken when we moved away. But I consider myself fortunate that I had these years where I could go “exploring” (even if that sometimes entailed falling down on one’s bottom in some small brook or other *g*) and have great adventures on the farm where one of my friends lived. 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by, Michelle!