The Big Idea: Alethea Kontis

“TEHETHJO” is one heck of an acronym, but Alethea Kontis knows what it means, why it’s important, and how it relates to her new novel Trix and the Faerie Queen


In my fairy tale books of Arilland, Mama Woodcutter always says, “Everything happens for a reason.” She does that because my own mother has always said, “Everything happens for a reason.” (We writers do tend to write what we know.)

But we all know that’s a load of crap, right? People say, “Everything happens for a reason” in an attempt to make you feel better about The Exceptionally Horrible Event That Has Just Occurred (TEHETHJO). Like, for instance, when you splatter turmeric all over your vintage white shirt with the handmade Belgian lace, but the red top you’re forced to change into is the one that catches Prince Harry’s eye and WHAMMO. You’re sipping tea and eating eggs with the queen because reasons.

Yeah. Right. No. Things in life just happen—good or bad—and those things become the reasons for whatever happens after. It’s plain-old scientific cause and effect. Now, how you decide to act in the aftermath of TEHETHJO is the sort of thing that defines you as a person. There’s fate, and there’s free will.

I am all about forging one’s own destiny.

Maybe it’s because I started out as a child actress, or because I did a lot of improv in high school, but all my TEHETHJOs typically turn out pretty great. I don’t make lemonade, I make limoncello. Unfortunately, knowing that doesn’t automatically turn life into sunshine and baby otters while I’m standing at ground zero during global thermonuclear war.

Like, for instance, when my boyfriend and my publisher dumped me in the same 24 hours a couple years ago. (Small spoiler: Prince Harry doesn’t show up at the end of this, so don’t hold your breath.) You know that thing where a person’s soul metaphorically shatters into a million pieces? That. TEHETHJO. All over the inside of my poor Firefly-class Volvo.

But if TEHETHJO hadn’t occurred, then the book that’s releasing this week would never have existed. NEVER. And it’s the best book I’ve ever written.

Trixter was meant to be a stand-alone novella that told the story of what happened to Trix Woodcutter while his sister Saturday was questing about in Hero, since the publisher had politely asked me to remove his entire subplot. At the same time, it was my tribute to Andrew Lang’s Crimson Fairy Book. It was not meant to be Volume One of The Trix Adventures. That fey scamp of a little brother was not meant to find a companion and traverse continents and chat up all sorts of legendary beasties and save the world. He was not meant to become my fairy tale Doctor Who.

And yet…there I was, writing a scene at the end of Trix and the Faerie Queen that was not in my outline, giggling and weeping over my keyboard at the same time. Because reasons.

The Trix Adventures are beautiful books, and the rest of the Woodcutter Sisters will be better for me having written them I have become better for having written them. I have been made whole again, regenerated, and Alethea 3.0 is fantastic. I did that. TEHETHJO might have been the inciting incident, but I’m going to stand up and take credit for this one.

If everything really does happen for a reason, the reason Trix and the Faerie Queen exists is me.

And I am so incredibly proud of that.


Trix and the Faerie Queen: Amazon|Barnes & Noble|Google Play|Kobo

Visit the author’s site. Follow her on Twitter.

10 Comments on “The Big Idea: Alethea Kontis”

  1. And this is why I loooove The Big Idea; I have a new author to mine! Explored the author website, bought the kindle version, and now someone in Australia is reading the first book in the series, itching to get to this one :-)

  2. I’m thrilled to see one of my favorite authors promoting another one of my favorites. I discovered Alethea Kontis and the Woodcutter Sisters at MarsCon 2 years ago. Alethea was a wonderful YA GOH. The lovely artwork she drew inside my books (and the additional time she took to do so) make me treasure her stories even more. [Insert more Fan Girl reactions here.]
    Dearest is still my favorite, but I haven’t read Trix’s Adventures yet. I’m saving those treats to savor during my upcoming leisure time.

  3. Oh, Deb, you are a star. And I can’t wait to hear what you think about Trix’s adventures…I suspect you will LOVE THEM.

    And thank you, everyone, for the kind words about my post! Xox

  4. In addition to having one of the more creative takes on fairy tale mashups I’ve read in awhile, Princess Alethea is a fabulous person to hang out with–if you’re ever at a con she’s attending, be sure to seek her out and chat with her. She’s easy to spot–she’s usually in super shiny princess outfits and covered in glitter and rhinestones.
    I picked up the first book in the Woodcutter series, Enchanted, in 2013 and was immediately intrigued. It’s one of the few books I’ve felt compelled to describe in dance terms–it’s a Viennese waltz of a story. I haven’t read the Trix Adventures yet, but I will someday soon. Thanks for promoting a great author and awesome person!

  5. *hugs Allison* What a gorgeous review. Thank you!! And I *know* you’ll enjoy The Trix Adventures. My favorite 11-year-old recently stayed up all night reading TRIX & THE FAERIE QUEEN by her closet light and the next morning declared it, in reverent tones, to be even better than Enchanted. (But she would have to read it again to be absolutely sure.) MAJOR gold star for me! xox

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