Writing a Portal Fantasy with Menna van Praag, author of THE SISTERS GRIMM
I’m joined in this episode by author Menna van Praag. Her new novel is THE SISTERS GRIMM, a dark and evocative tale of four seemingly unrelated young women united by a surreal, supernatural origin.
Goldie, Liyanna, Scarlet, and Bea are all on the cusp of 18, each burdened by complicated family relationships, and all filled with a deep sense of longing for something they can’t quite remember.
As children, they found each other in Everwhere, an unchanging world outside of their world, of magic and perpetual night. Crossing over to Everwhere is a gift only the offspring of a single demonic father possess. But as teenagers, they are torn from each other, and forget their shadowy dreamworld.
Now, about to come of age, the powers that are their birthright flare into existence again, and the gates to Everwhere reopen to them. Their father’s other children prowl there, too, though — sons-turned-soldiers, whose all-consuming mission is to kill their father’s powerful daughters.
Enemies and alliances form as these half-sisters seek to understand who they really are — and face a choice to die in the light, or join their father’s eternal darkness.
THE SISTERS GRIMM is available now from Harper Voyager. Buy it at
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About Menna van Praag
Menna van Praag was born in Cambridge, England and studied Modern History at Oxford University. Her first novella – an autobiographical tale about a waitress who aspires to be a writer – Men, Money & Chocolate has been translated into 26 languages. Her magical realism novels are all set among the colleges, cafes, and bookshops of Cambridge.
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About THE SISTERS GRIMM
The critically acclaimed author of The House at the End of Hope Street combines love, mystery, and magic with her first foray into bewitching fantasy with a dark edge evocative of V.E. Schwab and Neil Gaiman.
Once upon a time, a demon who desired earthly domination fathered an army of dark daughters to help him corrupt humanity . . .
As children, Goldie, Liyana, Scarlet, and Bea dreamed of a strange otherworld: a nightscape of mists and fog, perpetually falling leaves and hungry ivy, lit by an unwavering moon. Here, in this shadowland of Everwhere, the four girls, half-sisters connected by blood and magic, began to nurture their elemental powers together. But at thirteen, the sisters were ripped from Everwhere and separated. Now, five years later, they search for one another and yearn to rediscover their unique and supernatural strengths. Goldie (earth) manipulates plants and gives life. Liyana (water) controls rivers and rain. Scarlet (fire) has electricity at her fingertips. Bea (air) can fly.
To realize their full potential, the blood sisters must return to the land of their childhood dreams. But Everwhere can only be accessed through certain gates at 3:33 A.M. on the night of a new moon. As Goldie, Liyana, Scarlet, and Bea are beset with the challenges of their earthly lives, they must prepare for a battle that lies ahead. On their eighteenth birthday, they will be subjected to a gladiatorial fight with their father’s soldiers. If they survive, they will face their father who will let them live only if they turn dark. Which would be fair, if only the sisters knew what was coming.
So, they have thirty-three days to discover who they truly are and what they can truly do, before they must fight to save themselves and those they love.