Growing up, Rin Chupeco’s favorite story was the tale of Maria Makiling, the guardian spirit of a mountain in the Philippines: She fell in love with a mortal man, and they were betrayed by jealous men. Filipino tales weren’t all Chupeco read; she devoured Japanese and Chinese myths, the famous Western fairy tales, and modern classics like Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

Chupeco saw the Western stories being retold again and again but couldn’t find many different versions of the Asian tales, even in the Philippines. Rather than retell just those stories on their own, she decided to combine them with all the other fairy and folktales she loved. “I want Filipino mythology on equal footing with other fairy tales from around the world,” she says. “Just because you’re not familiar with Filipino mythology doesn’t mean it’s of lesser value.”

In thinking about how to combine such diverse folktales, Chupeco started wondering, what if all these fairy tales were real and part of history? That question inspired Wicked As You Wish (Sourcebooks Fire, March 3), the first book in her new trilogy A Hundred Names For Magic, about a magic-cancelling descendant of Makiling and her best friend, the prince of a magical kingdom previously ruled by legendary leaders like Snow White and Cinderella.

The problem with fairy tales is that they tend not to explain how or why things happen, which made developing a world inspired by these stories a challenge. “All the magic in fairy tales doesn’t make sense.…It was really hard to figure out, what is the internal logic of the system?” Chupeco says.

In Wicked As You Wish,Tala Makiling Warnock has spent most of her life in Invierno, Arizona, a city where magic doesn’t work quite right, with her Filipino mother and Scottish father. Refugees from the kingdom of Avalon (currently frozen in ice), they have to hide their true identities and abilities in a United States where magic is heavily regulated and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement terrorizes anyone who sticks out. But when the exiled prince of Avalon, Alex, moves in next door, it’s only a matter of time before the older generation’s past—and the younger one’s destiny—catches up to them.

What ensues is a desperate race across the world as Tala, Alex, and a diverse group of magical teens have to work together to outwit the terrifying Snow Queen and restore Avalon. The Bandersnatches, as they’re called, include Zoe, a New Yorker dogged by doubts about her capacity to lead and her relationship with Alex’s ex; West, a British shape-shifter with little awareness of social norms or contemporary culture; Loki, a nonbinary Chinese adoptee with a magical staff and a mysterious heritage; Ken, the bearer of a pair of cursed swords; and Cole, the distrusted descendant of the Sheriff of Nottingham.

Since she was drawing on so many well-known stories and tropes, Chupeco decided not to worry about surprising readers with shocking plot twists and instead focused on developing the relationships between the characters. She wanted to show that “who I am isn’t all that different from who you are,” she says. “People from different backgrounds can come together with common purpose and common interest.”

Though she published several books before it, Wicked As You Wish was actually the first book Chupeco tried to sell. Ten years ago, she says, “literary agents weren’t open to emails, so a lot of what I had to do was actually ship out my query letters and then ship out my manuscripts by snail mail.” Shipping from Manila cost as much as $40 per package, and much of the feedback Chupeco got was discouraging. Agents liked the story but wondered if it couldn’t have a white protagonist.Reluctantly, she decided to put the book aside.

Now, though, she’s glad to have had the extra time to hone the story. “This book in particular is all about hope,” Chupeco says. “My other books do write about hope but it’s more subtle, and this one is just balls out, hey we are hoping for the best, and we’re fighting to make sure that best comes true. And that’s the heart of the book.”

Alex Heimbach is a writer and editor in California.