By Carolyn Paschal
Special to The PREVIEW
Jackson was raised in Pagosa Springs and graduated from Pagosa Springs High School in 1995. She went on to graduate from Colorado Christian University in 2000 with a degree in communications, with an emphasis in writing. She spent a semester in Los Angeles in the spring of 2000 at the Los Angeles Film Studies Center. While there, she interned at the casting office for 7th Heaven. She also worked for Disney Consumer Products, Jerry Bruckheimer Films, Desperate Housewives and, finally, 20th Century Fox TV.
During that time, Jackson read a lot of nonfiction work by Madeleine L’Engle, J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis and Frederick Buechner, who all had very similar philosophies on the intertwining relationship between faith and storytelling and especially fairy tales. While she’d always loved stories, it was because of these authors and their ideas that she developed a particular affection for fairy tales.
In the beginning, before the story had a title even, “Tattered Heart” was about identity; about what would happen if a girl found out one day she was a princess. Would the change in her identity also create changes in her character?
Sleeping Beauty offered the perfect playground to explore this idea because it’s a story about a girl who grows up without ever knowing she’s a princess. Then one day everything changes. It rips the life she’d known from her and tells her she isn’t at all who she thought she was.
And it’s also a fairy tale. The thing about fairy tales is that they are full of wonder and beauty, but also piercing darkness, where things are never quite what they appear.
Jackson had never written a novel before and, in the beginning, had no idea what she was doing. The story evolved as she got to know the characters and the world better and what she discovered was that she’s not especially good with disguises. All of her characters have their hearts revealed — their hurt and their fear and their joy along with their jealousies. They are all laid bare before the reader.
There is still wonder in her story. And darkness. There are even fairys (with an unconventional spelling). But magic and fairys aren’t what make a fairy tale. The essence of the fairy tale is the inevitability of hope; the idea that no matter how dark the story gets, how cruel the characters are or how desperate the moment seems, something beautiful will rise up out of the darkness.
“Tattered Heart” is available at Ruby Sisson Library. You can also order your own copy and find out more about Jackson at her blog http://www.anniejacksonbooks.com or on twitter @anniejackson. Jackson currently resides in Leesburg, Va.