By Jessica Hoover
For most of her live, Sarah E. Morin has been immersed in reading and writing.
“I remember being an avid reader when I was young, and reading a book about a girl and about how she would go sit up in her tree and read and write poetry,” Morin said. “I said, ‘That’s a great idea!’ So, when I was in second grade I climbed a tree, and I would drag a notebook and a pen up with me. I think from there it just became addictive.”
Morin has come a long way since her days of writing poetry in trees. She is now an award-winning author who has made a name for herself in northern Indianapolis communities by writing non-traditional fairy tales. She refers to them as “unruly.”
“It’s like putting a fresh angle or a fresh spin on it,” said Morin, a Fishers resident. “So, when I say unruly, I’m changing the classic one but I might be changing the ending or I might be doing it from the point of view from the villain or the side character.”
In 2007, Morin wrote her first fantasy novel, “Waking Beauty,” a twist on the original fairy tale, “Sleeping Beauty.” Published in 2015, the novel was an ACFW Genesis finalist, INSPY Longlist selection, Christy finalist and Realm Makers winner for Best Editing. Morin said the novel was inspired by her college days.
“I was taking 51 credit hours one year and I was very short on sleep,” Morin said. “I remember thinking, ‘Wouldn’t it be lovely if I could be like Sleeping Beauty and fall asleep for 100 years?’ Then I actually started thinking if that would actually be a good deal. After you wake up, the whole world has changed. Could you even tell the real world from the dream world anymore? So, the premise of it is that Sleeping Beauty physically wakes up, but she doesn’t fully believe she’s awake.”
Morin also writes poetry about “unruly” fairy tales and performs them in the community. She regularly performs in Fairyville Tea Parties at Nickel Plate Arts. She also writes and recruits for the program.
“I’ll put on a big queen dress, and we have teenagers dress as fairies,” Morin said. “We have a storyline like, ‘We have to use our magic to save the enchanted forest. Somebody is messing up the fairy-tale endings and we have to straighten them out.’”
Morin is co-founder, along with her friend, artist and writer Alys Caviness-Gober, of the Noblesville Interdisciplinary Creativity Expo. Shortly after they met, they decided to collaborate on a project where Caviness-Gober painted a piece based on one of Morin’s poems, which sparked the idea for NICE. Each year, they choose four pieces of literature and invite artists to create pieces based on the selections.
Along with her husband, Morin will be launching a youth theater camp, Page & Stage Theatre Co., in June or July of this year. The emphasis is to teach children literacy, build confidence and learn basic theater skills. The children, ages 4-18, will perform some of Morin’s poems.
Morin’s latest project is an adaptation of one of her poems into a children’s book, “Rapunzel the Hairbrained,” illustrated by Taylor Lucas. It will be published in April. Morin starts the story as a retelling of the original fairy tale but shifts to what happens after Rapunzel gets her happily ever-after.
“The only thing that Rapunzel had been doing her whole life is thinking about hair, and that is what the witch has trained her to value in herself,” Morin said. “But what is going to be the effect on her when she gets out into the real world? Has she developed any actual skills?”
At the end of the poem, Rapunzel becomes the palace hairdresser. Morin said she wants children to ponder whether Rapunzel succeeded because she chose something she was good at or if she failed because all she cared about was appearances. Caviness-Gober said the moral of Morin’s book is to build children’s character as they grow up.
“Kids are going to love stories where they’re going to carry the lesson with them their whole lives,” Caviness-Gober said. “They’ll remember those lessons. I truly believe that if (Morin) writes more children’s books, she will influence a whole generation of children.”
Besides writing, Morin has spent 15 years running the youth volunteer program at Conner Prairie. She also is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and National Federation of State Poetry Societies; is a state officer of Poetry Society of Indiana; is the leader of Noble Poets; and is co-editor of the Polk Street Review.
To learn more about Morin and her work, visit sarahemorin.com.
Sarah E. Morin’s upcoming events
What: Noble Poets, a small group of local poets that help each other craft their work through critique and coffee. Bring a poem of any style and meet in the room behind the serving counter. The group welcomes both newcomers and poets of all experience levels.
When: The third Tuesday of each month from 6:30 to 8 p.m.
Where: Noble Coffee and Tea Company, 933 Logan St., Noblesville
What: Fairyville. Morin performs as the queen who tells fairy tales to children at Fairyville. Children must find out who has messed up all the fairy tale endings and use storytelling magic to straighten them out with the help fairies. Crafts, snacks and drinks are included.
When: April 18 to April 21
Where: Nickel Plate Arts, 107 S. 8th St., Noblesville
What: Fairyville Friday Evening Event and Book Launch. Morin and her illustrator will launch her newest book, “Rapunzel the Hairbrained.”
When: 6 to 9 p.m., April 20
Where: Nickel Plate Arts, 107 S. 8th St., Noblesville