There's nothing’s more dangerous than a wizard-in-training. And Pete Riley, has just proven it. He's worked a bad time spell--a very bad time spell.
No YouTube, no smoothies, no Manga. Not ever again. Not unless Pete figures out how to reverse his spell and free Weasel and him from Victorian England.
He has until the next full moon. Only a few days.
The winner of the Favorites Giveaway Hop is Anne who picked the $10 Amazon Gift Card!
And the winner of MONSTROUS is Eisen!
Congrats! E-mail me your address so I can have your book sent to you. Please e-mail me by the end of Wednesday or I'll have to pick another winner.
Today I’m thrilled to have debut author Rhiannon Thomas here to share about A WICKED THING, her YA retelling of Sleeping Beauty, that releases on February 24th. I really enjoyed the twist in this. Princess Aurora wakes up 100 years in the future. And it isn’t happy.
Here’s a blurb from Goodreads:
Rhiannon Thomas's dazzling debut novel is a spellbinding reimagining of Sleeping Beauty and what happens after happily ever after.
One hundred years after falling asleep, Princess Aurora wakes up to the kiss of a handsome prince and a broken kingdom that has been dreaming of her return. All the books say that she should be living happily ever after. But as Aurora understands all too well, the truth is nothing like the fairy tale.
Her family is long dead. Her "true love" is a kind stranger. And her whole life has been planned out by political foes while she slept.
As Aurora struggles to make sense of her new world, she begins to fear that the curse has left its mark on her, a fiery and dangerous thing that might be as wicked as the witch who once ensnared her. With her wedding day drawing near, Aurora must make the ultimate decision on how to save her kingdom: marry the prince or run.
Rhiannon Thomas weaves together vivid scenes of action, romance, and gorgeous gowns to reveal a richly imagined world … and Sleeping Beauty as she’s never been seen before.
Hi Rhiannon! Thanks so much for joining us.
1. Tell us about yourself and how you became a writer.
Thanks so much for having me!
I always get nervous when telling people about myself – I think it’s the shy British girl side of me going “no, no, tell me about YOU.” But here goes.
I’m originally from the north of England, but I moved to America when I was 18 to study English Lit and Japanese at Princeton. After graduation, my visa ran out, so I very reluctantly moved back to England, got a job at a bookstore, and tried to figure out what the hell I wanted to do with my life. I knew I was really good at academics, but the idea of grad school was more “I don’t know what I’m doing!” than an actual dream. So, while trying to figure things out, I turned my academic side into my blog, Feminist Fiction, and I wrote the book that would ultimately become A Wicked Thing.
I wouldn’t recommend graduate -> be sad -> write a book -> luck out and sell it and stop looking for another career path as a life plan, but it worked out for me so far!
2. Glad it worked out for you. And I think other people change careers too, so don't feel back. How did you get the idea for your book and why did you choose to retell Sleeping Beauty’s story. I read that your favorite fairy tale is The Little Mermaid. Why didn’t you pick that one?
A Wicked Thing originally came from a place of being completely fed up with romance tropes. The idea first came to me when Twilight was the hottest thing in the fiction world, and there were a whole bunch of similar novels about people fated to be together, or all-powerful supernatural love-at-first-sight that people couldn’t escape. Maybe I’m just awkward, but if someone appeared in my life and said “oh btw, we’re gonna be in love forever now, it’s FATE,” I’d be pretty weirded out. And these thoughts meshed pretty well with my total love for fairy tales, and especially dark fairy tales. Most fairy tales have some “I’ve known you for five minutes, let’s get married” element, but Sleeping Beauty was the most interesting, to me, when you add in the promise of “true love’s kiss,” and the weirdness of sleeping for a century. The more I thought about it, the more I wanted to know what would happen after Aurora woke up, if things were slightly less fairy tale and slightly more realistic.
And I would love to do a Little Mermaid retelling, but if I did, I think the main focus would be the decision of whether or not she should murder the guy she loves to remain human, which is a very different story. Maybe one day!
3. I'm not a fan of fated, fall in love immediately romances either. Share about the process of writing a retelling of a fairy tale. Did you research much by reading different versions of Sleeping Beauty? And what advice do you have for other authors wanting to write a fairy tale retelling?
I’ll be honest – I didn’t research the history of Sleeping Beauty while writing A Wicked Thing. I was
As for advice on writing a fairy tale retelling… I think the most important thing is to be constantly interrogating and challenging the story you know. Why would someone act that way, what sort of person would really do this, how would people respond to that situation if they weren’t guided by fairy tale tropes? Retellings become most interesting, to me, when they try to put the humanity back into that fairy tale narrative framework, and explore where that takes you.
4. Those are great questions to ask yourself. Princess Aurora is such a sympathetic character. She wakes up to a less than perfect situation. Share about her character development and the challenges of putting her into the future.
Well, the biggest challenge, from a writing perspective, was that I needed to create two distinct worlds for Aurora – the past that she was familiar with, and the future that she finds herself thrown into – and know how one had turned into the other. This was especially difficult, because Aurora is a very naïve character at first, who has spent her life locked in a tower and has very little firsthand experience of life outside the castle, so she’s not the best source of information.
But I was determined that Aurora wouldn’t be an action princess. I’ve called her my “Sansa Stark” protagonist before, and that’s definitely the tone I wanted for her. She’s very privileged, but also utterly trapped by her situation. She has a lot of naïve ideas about what her life is going to be, and her life experiences up to the start of the novel have made her quite passive and shy. She’s not really sure what she wants, and she definitely doesn’t know how to achieve it. In a way, I wanted the book to be about how Aurora could become a protagonist or a heroine. There are so many Strong Female Characters in fiction, but I really wanted to think about a character who needs to grow into her strength. She has all that potential there, but she doesn’t know how to use it at first. Since I’m a shy and nervous person myself, that felt more realistic to me than a character who wakes up in a terrible future and is immediately in control of the situation.
5. Kristin Nelson, one of my dream agents, is your agent. Share how she became your agent and your road to publication.
Kristin is such an amazing agent, and it was half luck that I got the chance to work with her. Nelson Literary Agency was actually one of the first agencies I queried with the book, but they’re an “only query one agent” agency, and I actually queried Kristin’s second-in-command, Sara Megibow. I think I reasoned that Sara was more actively looking for new debuts, so she was my best bet. A few days after Sara requested the full manuscript, I got an email from Kristin, saying that Sara had passed it on to her, and she wanted to offer representation! I was floored, but so happy. So I guess I’m living proof that agents do share queries within their agencies.
After I signed with Kristin, we worked together to revise the book to make it stronger, and went on submission to publishers about four or five months later. Being on submission felt like endless hell while I was there, but I actually had a really short submission process – HarperTeen expressed interest within about a week, and after that, it was just sorting out the details.
6. Okay, that sounds like a dream get an agent story. You live in England and your book is being published in the U.S. and Canada. Are there any plans to publish it in England? And how are you planning to market your book since you don’t live in the U.S. or Canada?
Sadly no plans to publish in England yet, although I would love if it was published here.
For the US, it’s going to be a lot of online marketing! I’m having a blog tour, thanks to the wonderful Fantastic Flying Book Club, and Epic Reads are just great too. They really know their stuff when it comes to Twitter and Instagram and creating online buzz. I’d love to be able to do an in-person tour, but even getting to one stop in the US would be pretty expensive! Hopefully one day.
7. Online marketing is really good too and it doesn't matter if you live in the country where your book is published. You also blog at feministfiction.com. It sounds really interesting. Tell us a bit about what you blog about.
Thank you! I basically blog about fiction in all forms from a feminist perspective. I’d say the majority of things I write about are TV shows, since they always have new content coming out that’s ripe for discussion, but I also write about novels, movies, video games, and the media’s response to these and to their creators. Sometimes I discuss certain iconic characters, sometimes I talk about the latest online controversy, sometimes I tackle questions of female representation in the media in general… it’s a mix, which definitely makes it more fun for me. In my dream world, it’d be a 100% positive blog, talking about great female representation and wonderful TV shows and books, and I do try to talk about shows that do things right and offer recommendations as much as possible. Buuuut I do find myself critiquing quite a lot. Even good fiction isn’t often kind to its female characters these days.
8. What are you working on now?
As I’m writing this, I literally just finished working on the final revisions for the sequel to A Wicked Thing. Now I’ve got that bundled out of the way, I’m starting on a whole new YA fantasy called Long May She Reign, about a girl scientist who ends up queen after the whole court is assassinated.
Thanks for sharing all your advice, Rhiannon. You can find Rhiannon at:
Rhiannon has generously offered a copy of A WICKED THING 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 28th. I’ll announce the winner on March 2nd. 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. International entries are welcome.
Here's what's coming up:
On Monday I have a guest post by debut author Karen Bao and a giveaway of her science fiction YA DOVE ARISING.
Next Wednesday I have a guest post by debut author Alison DeCamp on marketing middle grade novels and a giveaway of MY NEAR-DEATH ADVENTURES, her MG historical fiction similar to Diary of a Wimpy Kid.
The Monday after that I have an interview with debut author Victoria Aveyard and a giveaway of RED QUEEN, her YA fantasy/dystopian.
And Wednesday that week I have an interview with agent Alex Slater at Trident Media Group with a query critique giveaway. And he has great advice for self-published and small press authors too!
Friday that week I'm participating in the Lucky is Reading Giveaway Hop. I'll have lots of great new releases for you and an Amazon gift card if you don't like my choices.
The following Monday, I'm interviewing debut author N.A. Traver and giving away DUPLICITY, her YA cyber thriller.
Hope to see you on Monday!