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ROSAMUND HODGE INTERVIEW AND CRUEL BEAUTY GIVEAWAY

Happy Monday Everyone! I’m happy because we get the day off work to celebrate Martin Luther King’s birthday. Even though I had a long break at the holidays, I’m ready for another day off. I guess I always will be ready for one of those days.

And Literary Rambles made The Write Life Presents 100 Best Websites for Writers list. Go HERE to see the complete list. Congrats to all the winners. I read a number of the blogs that won and they're fantastic.

Follower News

Cherie Reich just revealed her new cover!

To save a kingdom, a prophetess must challenge Fate.

Reborn, book one of The Fate Challenges, by Cherie Reich will be released on May 23, 2014. For more information about Cherie Reich and her work, please visit her website or blog. The cover art is created by Laura Sava. To add on Goodreads, click here. If you’d like to be notified when Reborn releases, please sign up for her newsletter here.

Don't you love it? Congrats, Cherie!
And Carrie Butler revealed her new cover last Monday for her NA Urban Fantasy. Isn't it awesome? Go HERE to congratulate her.

And Medeia Shariff sold SECRETEST BOYFRIEND EVER, the sequel to BESTEST. RAMADAN. EVER to be published later this year. Here's a short blurb: 

When Almira’s family is always making plans for her, she has to sneak around to see her secret boyfriend, Peter. And he’s secret because her strict Muslim family forbids her to date. When her time with Peter is compromised, Almira hatches a crazy plan to spend more time with him.

Go HERE to congratulate her.

Next I’ve got a winner to announce.

The winner of DEFY is Gayle Krause!

Congrats! E-mail me your address so I can send you your book. Please e-mail me by the end of Wednesday or I’ll have to pick another winner.

Today I’m excited to have debut author Rosamund Hodge here to share about CRUEL BEAUTY, which releases on January 28, 2014. I love fairy tale retellings and I really enjoyed Rosamund’s new take on Beauty and the Beast, especially because it also mixes this tale with Greek mythology. And Nyx is a fascinating character filled with all of the emotions—good and bad—that we all have.

Here’s a blurb from Goodreads:

Graceling meets Beauty and the Beast in this sweeping fantasy about one girl's journey to fulfill her destiny and the monster who gets in her way-by stealing her heart.

Based on the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Cruel Beauty is a dazzling love story about our deepest desires and their power to change our destiny.

Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.

With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she's ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.

But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle-a shifting maze of magical rooms-enthralls her.

As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex's secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.

Hi Rosamund. Thanks so much for joining us.
1. Tell us about yourself and how you became a writer.

I have been telling stories ever since I can remember—when I was a little girl, I told my mother endless installments of epic stories as I dried the dishes every night. But I didn’t get the idea of becoming a writer until I was eight, and my thirteen-year-old brother told me I was too young to join his writing club. Of course I swore that I would become a writer and make him SORRY.

He’s still not sorry. But at least I get to publish a novel!

2. That’s so funny how you started writing in part because of your brother. What inspired you to write this story?

I had never felt any real desire to write a “Beauty and the Beast” retelling; I liked the story, but it felt http://www.surlalunefairytales.com/eastsunwestmoon/index.html] a story where (for the sake of her family) a girl marries a polar bear. He stays a bear during the day, but at night he comes to her in the form of a man. Only she's forbidden to light a candle and look at him — and when she goes home to visit her family, her mother goads her into looking anyway, which triggers a curse that forces them apart. Cue epic quest to get him back. It is very, very clearly another form of “Beauty and the Beast.” It is also very clearly another form of “Cupid and Psyche” [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cupid_and_Psyche]—a Greco-Roman myth about a girl who thinks she’s beings sacrificed to a monster but is actually marrying the god of love, and who is forbidden to see his face.
finished and complete to me. What was there to add? But then I read “East of the Sun, West of the Moon,” [

Suddenly “Beauty and the Beast” wasn’t just one static little separate story to me; it was part of a whole tapestry of stories about brave young women travel to strange places and marry monsters who are really men (or men who are really monsters, which is how some “Bluebeard” [http://www.surlalunefairytales.com/bluebeard/index.html] elements ended up in the novel.) And it was in the intersection of those stories that I found the tale I wanted to tell.

3. Awesome that you got the idea from reading a book. I love learning from the books I read and it’s true books, TV, and movies can inspire our ideas. Nyx knows from a young age that her family picked her instead of her sister to marry and kill Ignifex, the evil lord ruling her land. And she has a lot of feeling about this, including a lot of anger, which is understandable, but could also lead to Nyx not being sympathetic. And you show us this from the beginning of the story. Share how you balanced her negative feelings with her other qualities to make her remain a sympathetic character.

That’s kind of a funny question to me, because when I was writing CRUEL BEAUTY, I actually tried very hard not to make Nyx a nice person, and I ended up breaking my original outline to do it! But I did still want her to be sympathetic, and I guess the main thing I did was try to make her aware of when she was being unjust and unkind. I ended up drawing a lot on my own teenage years to write about that. Now, I had a very happy childhood and my parents hardly ever sold me to demon princes. But I did have a bad temper, so I knew very well the horrible feeling of being furious while knowing you had no right be furious. And I’d always loved heroines who struggled with genuinely ugly feelings. So I tried to do that with Nyx.

4. You did a good job with that. And it’s true we all have hidden ugly feelings. I read that you read a lot of fairy tales. Where do you find all the fairy tales and the different versions of them? Do you have any tips for writing a fairy tale retelling?

It’s hard to say where I find fairy tales, because my entire life has been saturated with them. My mom read aloud Grimm’s fairy tales to me and my brothers when we were children. We had a great pile of fairy tale picture books—which varied widely in how close they were to their original sources—as well as the Andrew Lang fairy books. And then I kept reading at the library, too.

Nowadays, two places I often look for inspiration are the Sur La Lune [http://www.surlalunefairytales.com] website (which focuses on a small set of fairy tales, but annotates them and provides a lot of information on different versions and related stories) and D. L. Ashman’s Folklore and Mythology site [http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/folktexts.html] which provides a vast number of fairy tales organized by type.

As for tips: don’t just read a lot of fairy tales, read a lot of different versions. Most of us grow up knowing fairytales in two forms: the Disney version, and the Standard Picture Book version, which is usually a Grimm/Perault hybrid with the ickiest bits removed. But every story comes with a million different versions—or ancestors, or siblings. It’s in the places where stories overlap and intersect and contradict that I find my inspiration, and I think that learning about that complexity can help you create something that isn’t just Disney-with-a-twist.

5. Thanks for the links. I’ll have to check them out. You wrote this during NaNo. What was your revision process like and what challenges did you have to overcome?

Well, to be perfectly accurate: CRUEL BEAUTY was not a NaNoWriMo novel. I started it in September and finished it in mid-November, while also trying to hit the word-count goals for my actual NaNoWriMo project. (It was a crazy month.) So it wasn’t a NaNoWriMo novel exactly . . . but it was written pretty quickly, and so a lot of the revisions involved expanding it, and getting the stuff that had been in my head onto the paper.

6. What have you learned craft-wise from working with your editor?

I have learned that if, when you hand people your novel, you keep having to tell them, “This is set in a world where X and Y and Z, and also sometimes Q, except when P”—at that point, you should probably just put X, Y, Z, P, and Q into the actual text of your novel.
Also K. It’s really important to have K, and by “K” I mean “kissing scenes,” which I’ve had to expand in every draft I’ve sent to my editor.

7. Your agent is Hannah Bowman. Share how she became your agent and your road to publication.

It’s not a terribly exciting story. I queried agents. And I queried agents. And I queried some more agents, and a few of them did ask to see the full manuscript, but they would always return it with one of those “It’s not you, it’s me” rejection letters. Finally—after about nine months and 65 agents—I queried Hannah. She didn’t take me on right away; she wanted to see if I could make some revisions. I revised, she liked it, and she took me on. (Then we did even more revisions.)

Submitting the novel to editors was much easier and faster. Sara Sargent at Balzer + Bray made an offer within a couple of weeks, and that was that!

8. Even if your story to getting an agent isn’t exciting, it shows the importance of not giving up. Your book has been selected as an Epic Read. How did it get selected and what does that mean for you in terms of publicizing your book?

I have no idea how my book was selected as an Epic Read. The oracle commanded it? The stars aligned? I presume it was something to do with the Marketing and Publicity departments, which for all I know consult oracles. What it means for me, so far, is that it’s been featured on the Epic Reads blog. Perhaps at some point they will also give me a tiara?

9. You’re a member of OneFour Kidlit, a group of MG and YA debut authors. How did you find out about this group and how has it helped you? When do you recommend a debut author seek out such a group and how does she/he find out about these type of groups?

I’m afraid the story of how I found OneFour KidLit is not too universally helpful—my agent heard about it on Twitter and passed the news on to me. Obviously that won’t happen to everyone! But I would guess Twitter and general networking is a good place to start. Alternately, you could probably contact the last year’s debut group(s)—they’re probably setting up interviews with next year’s. (OneFour KidLit did a bunch of interviews with people who debuted in 2013.) As for when: I joined in September 2012 (about when OneFour started), and that’s probably a good time to start looking.

How has OneFour helped me? Well, they’ve helped with publicity, though of course with that sort of thing, it’s really hard to gauge how much any one effort has helped. I think the main benefit is that it’s given me a community of writers who are going through the same things I am. And it’s how I ended up involved in The Hanging Garden [http://hanginggardenstories.tumblr.com], a blog of short fiction inspired by GIFs.

10. It’s good to know that we can find out about these groups through our agent or word of mouth. What are you working on now?

I’m working on my second novel for Balzer + Bray. It’s . . . how shall I put this? It’s kind of like “Little Red Riding Hood” meets (gender-swapped) “Girl With No Hands.” [link: http://www.surlalunefairytales.com/armlessmaiden/index.html]. There’s a bit of Norse mythology in there too, because everything is better with Norse mythology.

Thanks for sharing all your advice, Rosamund. You can find Rosamund at:

http://www.rosamundhodge.net
https://www.facebook.com/rosamundhodgenovels
https://twitter.com/rosamundhodge
http://hanginggardenstories.tumblr.com

Rosamund and her publisher Harper Collins generously offered an ARC of CRUEL BEAUTY for a giveaway. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and leave a comment through February 1st. I’ll announce the winner on February 3rd. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, please leave it in the comments.

If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. You must be 13 or older to enter. International entries are welcome but the winner would get an e-book or $5.00 Amazon gift card.

Here’s what’s coming up:

On Wednesday I’m interviewing follower and debut author Stina Lindenblatt and giving away a copy of TELL ME WHEN, her contemporary NA story. Her characters are rich, complex people that I grew to love and even though I don’t read much contemporary stories, I read her book in two days. And it's always exciting when one of our followers becomes a published author. Yay!

Next Monday I’m interviewing MG debut author Rachel Searles and giving away a ARC of THE LOST PLANET. I loved the plot of this one. Chase wakes up on an unknown planet not knowing who he is and goes on an action packed space adventure to discover who he really is.

Next Friday I’ll be participating in the Favorites Giveaway Hop. I’ll have lots of great choices that I loved or am looking forward to. My post will be posted on Friday afternoon.

The following Monday I’m interviewing Holly Schindler and giving away a copy of THE JUNCTION OF SUNSHINE AND LUCKY. This is a contemporary middle grade story that I know you’re going to love so I jumped at the chance to be part of Holly’s blog tour.

And don’t forget Casey’s Tip Tuesdays and Agent Spotlights.

Hope to see you on Wednesday!

61 comments:

  1. What a great interview! Both the main character and the premise sound terrific. And I love the story about her brother! Congratulations, Rosamund!

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  2. Beauty and the Beast was always my favorite fairy tale. The book sounds amazing! And thanks for those fairy tale links. They sound great.

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  3. Congrats to Cherie and Medeia on their upcoming books! And great interview! I especially loved how Rosemund was prompted to dig deeper into what Beauty and the Beast is really about and its origins dating back.

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  4. Good luck to these ladies and their latest and greatest! Beauty and the Beast is a classic example of how character arc can develop someone like The Beast.

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  5. The cover for Cruel Beauty actually gave me chills, some wicked work here!
    Tweeted @sjp_title ;)

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  6. Well, I've been stalking this book for a while now. See, beauty and the beast...I MEAN WHO WOULDN'T WANT THAT LIBRARY? -cough- But Cruel Beauty swept me in first by its cover and then by its premise. I've heard a lot of excellent ratings bloggers I stalk and this interview just made me want it more. -lesigh!-

    Anyway, I follow via gfc - Jessica Noreault

    My email is Shinyxoxmuffins at gmail dot com

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  7. The Beauty and the Beast story has been told in a lot of different ways, so I have to admit that when I first heard about this book so time back I didn't think much of it… But now that I've taken the time to actually read the synopsis- ohmygracious this sounds AMAZING. Sure, it is some "Beauty and the Beast", but (like the interview shares) it's a mashup of other tales as well. "Cruel Beauty" sounds completely re-imagined and completely awesome. I'm putting it in my TBR pile for sure! -and I would love to be entered for the giveaway. Thanks bunches! ^^

    blacklaceblonde(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  8. Yes, if you have to keep explaining things about your story, then that means they really need to be IN the story.

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  9. I loved both cover and the interview. Such a funny line about her parents "hardly ever" selling her to a demon prince. Yeah...don't you just hate it when that happens? lol

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  10. The cover is awesome, a rose within a staircase! I love now Rosamund told stories to her mom while washing dishes. Congratulations!

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  11. The premise sucked me in right away. What a great sounding story!

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  12. Love Rosamund's comment that it's in the intersections of alternate versions of the same fairy tale that she finds the tale worth telling! And you got me with the initial comparison to Graceling. Fantastic book.

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  13. Fantastic cover. Fabulous interview. Rosamund, I love the story of how you became an author. Hahaha. Revenge! Sounds like a great book. I will add it to my TBR pile. :-)

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  14. I love how your parents "hardly" ever sold you to demon princes. That was nice of them ;-) haha, everything about this book intrigues me. Great interview girls.

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  15. This book is one of my most anticipated of 2014! I can't wait to read it, because I've heard nothing but good things. Fun interview!!

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    1. And I realized I forgot to include my email: katrosewrites@gmail.com =)

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  17. Ooooh poor Nyx!! She really is in a quandry but I'm hoping true love will prevail and like all lovely fairytales will end happily ever after!! Yes it will! Yay!! Lovely to men you Rosamund! All the best! Take care
    x

    Sorry -didn't mean to delete my comment! Yikes! It's Monday!! :-) x

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  18. Natalie, these interviews are always so informative. Thanks for sharing Rosamund :-)

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  19. Glad you had a day off, Natalie, because I know how busy you are. I don't know when you have time to sleep! And congrats on making the 100 Best Websites for Writers List. I saw that last week when Matt McNish posted it on facebook.

    Cruel Beauty sounds gorgeous. I'd love to read this. Wow, querying 65 agents: that's persistence!

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  20. Congrats on making the list! That is exciting. :) You are in great company.

    Thanks for the interview. The cover is eye catching!

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  21. Congrats on the pretty cover, Cherie!
    And the Cruel Beauty cover has some great sweeping composition going on.

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  22. Cruel Beauty sounds amazing! Sign me up!

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  23. Cruel Beauty sounds amazing! Sign me up!

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  24. This was a great interview! And count me in, Cruel Beauty sounds awesome!

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  25. Loved the interview, especially the tip about reading many different versions of fairy tales. Count me in for the giveaway!

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  26. Two gorgeous covers! And a wonderful interview. I laughed at Rosamund's story about her brother.

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  27. Nyx sounds like somebody I would enjoy reading about- tough, sassy, yet relatable to. My email address is tinafang99@yahoo.com and I've tweeted this giveaway! https://twitter.com/tfang1289/status/425416555468316672

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  28. That Beauty and the Beast style tale reminds me of Ladyhawke.

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  29. Wow, so much great news! The interview was wonderful - thanks to you both. And I love Cherie's new cover.

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  30. Great interview! I'm inspired by your persistence, Rosamund, and how you get your inspiration!

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  31. Rosamund's book sounds awesome. Many agent stories aren't terribly exciting. :)

    Thank you for mentioning my book news.

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  32. Thank you so much for the shout-out, Natalie! :) And great interview with Rosamund!

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  33. Wow, what a great interview, Natalie! Thanks for sharing it and the giveaway!

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  34. Lots of congrats - to Rosamund on her debut, to you and Casey on making the 100 Best list, to the followers sharing their news. Keep it coming!

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  35. Congrats to Cherie and Medeia on the cover reveal and book news. And thanks for a fun interview with Rosamund. I saw her cover earlier and thought it was absolutely stunning. Looking forward to reading the book.

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  36. Great interview. I'm adding Cruel Beauty to my wish list; and West of the Sun East of the Moon too!

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  37. I think the book sounds wonderful. There are so many re-tells of Beauty and the Beast and I love the sound of this one.

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  38. Cherie's book cover is so beautiful! great interview and hugs for Carrie!

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  39. Thanks so much for helping with the cover reveal, Natalie!

    Love Carrie's cover!

    And Cruel Beauty sounds fantastic! Congrats to Rosamund! I had to laugh at the editor alphabet soup. :)

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  40. This was such a fun interview to read! I'm excited to read Cruel Beauty. :)

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  41. I followed on trunble anniepagelove
    followed twitter @anniewilcox15
    shared facbook https://www.facebook.com/annie.page.9440/posts/522569787841095?stream_ref=10
    my email lecasa4@aol.com

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  42. I am a follower! And I really like the sound of this book. Fairytale mashups are my current weakness.

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  43. I'm a sucker for fairy tale retellings, and this one looks pretty good. Thanks for the giveaway!

    nocucumbersandwiches (at) gmail (dot) com

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  44. This book sounds amazing! I can't wait to read it. Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorite fairy tales. I enjoyed reading your interview and how you never gave up on your book. Thanks for the giveaway. I will post on Facebook.

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  45. Great interview! I loved reading how Rosamund got her inspiration for the this story! I've been so excited about this book ever since I first read what it was about a couple months back.

    And congratulations, Natalie, for making the 100 best websites for writers list! I'm not surprised at all. :)

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  46. Absolutely love anything dealing with Beauty and the Beast; this one looks spectacular!

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  47. I love the cover. This sounds like a great book.

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  48. Yay, huge congrats to Cherie, Carrie, and Medeia on their cover reveals and book sales!! What exciting news! I love that you do that shout-out to fellow authors, Natalie! AND let's not forget to say CONGRATULATIONS to YOU, Casey, and Literary Rambles for being selected for the top 100 blogs for writers list! That's really awesome!! Good news all around :D

    I enjoyed your interview with Rosamund. I am really, really wanting to read this book! I first heard about it when I looked into the cover artist, because she did the covers for Erin Bowman's TAKEN series, and when I looked at her website it showed the covers she had coming up and OMG they were ALL just stunning! Anyway, that's where I first saw this gorgeous cover and learned about CRUEL BEAUTY. From that moment, I've been waiting to read Rosamund's book. I love fairy tale / mythology re-tellings -- there's a reason these stories get told over and over again, right! And I'm excited to read what sounds like a very unique, blended take on Beauty and the Beast. Also, I must say, as much as I enjoy reading the stories of authors who have almost magical journeys to publication, it is refreshing to read Rosamund's "I'm afraid it's not terribly interesting" story!!! Because, honestly, that's how it's gonna happen for the majority of people, right? I'd think it would appeal to those of you who are writers and trying to get through the process!

    I would love to be entered into the giveaway for this ARC! I'm a follower (via email and every other way!) and my email address is hmbryan(at)alumni.duke.edu. I also tweetrd about the giveaway at https://twitter.com/hmbryan/status/427919679307665408

    THANKS!

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  49. Beauty and the Beast was my all time favorite movie for a long time. I can't wait to read this! Followed on GFC and email: snowpup832(at)gmail(dot)com

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  50. Absolutely can't wait for this one! Thanks for the chance!

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  51. Love the cover of Cruel Beauty. Glad that 9 months and 65 agent rejections didn't put you off. You have taught us the value of perseverance and determination.

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  52. I love this book! When I first heard of this book I put my hand in my mouth and screamed. Because seriously, who doesn't like a good rumplestilskin and beauty and the beast book? I can't wait! If you don't know my email its lainywu17@gmail.com. Crossing my fingers!

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  53. The book sounds great! Very nice of you to do a free giveaway :)

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    1. I followed, and my email is hanne-arts@hotmail.com :)

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  54. I can't wait to read Cruel Beauty it sounds amazing!!
    Thanks for the chance to win!
    natasha_donohoo_8 at hotmail dot com

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  55. Cruel Beauty sounds so good!

    hjs407@gmail.com

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  56. I love that she explores characters who are having extremely conflicted feelings and how to deal with them. It makes the character that much more real and relatable! Great interview and I can't wait for the book!

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  57. Great interview! I've heard so many great things about this and am dying to read it, so seeing some of the behind-the-scenes stuff was especially wizard.

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