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Happy Monday Everyone! Today I’m excited to have debut author Bridget Hodder here to share about her MG fairytale retelling THE RAT PRINCE. It’s gotten great reviews and sounds like an amazing retelling of Cinderella.

Here’s a blurb from Goodreads 

The dashing Prince of the Rats–who’s in love with Cinderella–is changed into her coachman by the Fairy Godmother on the night of the big ball. And he’s about to turn the legend (and the evening) upside down on his way to a most unexpected happy ending!:

Hi Bridget! Thanks so much for joining us.

1. Tell us about yourself and how you became a writer.

Hi Natalie! I'm so happy to be here, thank you!

I became a writer through reading. Stories are like candy to me--a sweet, addictive experience--and the more I read, the more I want. So back in childhood, when they ran out of books I liked at the library, I started writing my own.

I wrote my first "book" at age 4, entitled The Lovely Someplace. I penciled the words and illustrations, cut the pages, and stapled it together myself. THE RAT PRINCE is my debut novel, so it's been a few years (ahem) since The Lovely Someplace.

Persistence pays off!
2.  So true about persistence. Where did you get the idea for THE RAT PRINCE?

It came straight out of the blue. I didn't sit down and say "Okay, what am I going to write?" and then power my way through to an answer. Actually, the basic idea for the plot-- the Prince of the Rats is changed into Cinderella's coachman, and he turns out to be this kickass guy who outshines the regular prince-- hit me while I was taking a shower.

3.  Share a bit about your world building process for Prince Char’s world. Do you have any tips for other writers?

I did my undergraduate work in European history, and wrote my thesis using primary sources at the
British Museum Library, so I had an extensive research background to draw upon as I wrote THE RAT PRINCE. Building a vibrant rat culture with its own history, ceremonies, and traditions, was a true delight. I got to dream up "old sayings", create a rat throne room, devise a naming system, navigate inter-species politics, and on and on. I loved it! The fact that the rats tend to view their environment through food-colored glasses made it even more enjoyable (although I did gain some weight while writing the book)!

You asked for world-building tips I could give to other writers, and I'm no expert, but here's one: As long as your universe is thorough, consistent, and follows its own rules, readers will believe in it.

4.  Sounds like you had a fun world building process. Reviewers of your story rave about your retelling. Share how you decided on the way you made this a retelling. Do you have any advice for authors wanting to write a fairytale retelling?

It's not terribly hard to "fracture" a fairytale. Put the annoyingly passive heroine in trousers and give her a sword; make the ridiculously beautiful princess not so pretty; make the prince poor, not rich... You can tell great stories this way.

But I didn't do this in THE RAT PRINCE. Rather, I set a challenge for myself. I wanted to try my hand at a retelling that was faithful to the outlines of the "original" fairytale, while explaining the huge gaps and inconsistencies in the plot and adding depth and character. I also wanted to change the sexist, materialistic tone of the original tale, but do it without introducing glaringly modern elements.

It was a tall order.

In the end, I think I was able to give the book an air of discovery--as if I were a scholar who went looking for the "true" story of Cinderella, and found this first-hand account buried deep in the royal archives of Angland.

As for advice... I think you should write whatever makes your heart sing and your fingers click across those keys like they'll never stop!
5.  It sounds like Prince Char’s voice really comes out in your story and that he is a really memorable character. Share how his character developed for you.

My first ideas of Prince Char had him as a morally ambivalent character. His rat-ness made him willing to do absolutely anything to achieve his goals; a kind of anti-hero. That changed almost immediately when I sat down to write from Prince Char's point of view. The character spoke for himself--he's fierce, noble, principled. Though he starts out with a ruthless edge, his growth arc throughout the book explores the theme of what it means to be humane as well as human.

6.   That is awesome how he turned out to be opposite of your vision of him. Your agent is Eric Myers. How did he become your agent and what was your road to publication like?

Like most debut authors, I wrote several manuscripts prior to the one that sold. Those old attempts will probably stay in the boxes in my attic forever. I worked long, hard and humbly to learn my craft before I was ready to sell. Then I found my agent the traditional way--I researched him online and sent him a query letter.

7.  Good to know this route works well. What was something that surprised you about working with Eric?

One day, early in our professional relationship, Eric told me not to think about "the market" while I was writing my next book. He told me to write from the heart and create classics that rise above market trends. It surprised me and almost brought me to tears. (The good kind.) I'm very lucky to have him.

8.  How are you planning to market your book? What advice do you have for writers planning to debut in terms of marketing?

There are lots of interviews, guest posts, and giveaways associated with the release of THE RAT PRINCE. I'm also lined up for some personal appearances and signings at events like the Baltimore Book Festival in September, and Ohio's Books by the Banks in October. I'll be touring in Louisiana in November. You can keep up with those dates and more on my website, www.BridgetHodder.com

My best marketing advice? As soon as you sell your book, consider joining a debut authors' group like The Sweet Sixteens. Doing promotion in a group can be more productive than going it alone. You can pool your resources, ideas and energy, and make beautiful friendships at the same time!

9.  What are you working on now?
I actually have two super-secret projects in the works...stay tuned!

Thanks for sharing all your advice, Bridget!

THE RAT PRINCE at Macmillan Publishing:


THE RAT PRINCE on Goodreads:

Bridget's website:

Bridget has generously donated an ARC of THE RAT PRINCE 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 August 20th. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, you must leave it in the comments to enter either contest.

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 years old or older to enter. This is an international giveaway.

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday was started by Shannon Messenger. You can find the participating blogs on her blog.

Here's what's coming up:

Next Monday I will be doing another Summer Fun Book Giveaway--my last for the summer.

The following Monday I have a guest post by one of our followers and a blogger friend C. Lee McKenzie and a giveaway of her new MG adventure SIGN OF THE GREEN DRAGON.

The Monday after that I have a guest post by debut author Hannah West and a giveaway of her YA fantasy KINGDOM OF ASHES AND BRIARS.


L. Diane Wolfe said...

What a cute idea for expanding on a classic. I bet it was a lot of fun creating the rat's world.

S.P. Bowers said...

What a fun idea! Sounds like creating a rat world would have been really fun.

Jill the OWL said...

Sounds like a great book and perfect for the age group I work with! themgowl (at) gmail (dot) com

Bish Denham said...

Oh, this is definitely a book I'd like to read. I love rats because they are so intelligent. I've tweeted about the giveaway!

Bish Denham said...

Oh, this is definitely a book I'd like to read. I love rats because they are so intelligent. I've tweeted about the giveaway!

Greg Pattridge said...

Great interview and the new book sounds very intriguing. Her agent sounds like the perfect match.

Christine Rains said...

Fantastic interview! Fairy tale retellings are so much fun, and I like the idea of a rat prince.

Dianne K. Salerni said...

Sounds like a lot of fun! Congratulations, Bridget!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Promoting with a group is always easier. Congratulations, Bridget!

Emily R. King said...

What a fun retelling! Perfect for MG!

Emily R. King said...

What a fun retelling! Perfect for MG!

Sheena-kay Graham said...

Sad that Cinderella is still interpreted as sexist and materialistic just because a young lady wanted to go to a ball after being worked to the bone. Read about The Rat Prince before and intend to purchase my own copy later this year. Really love the premise. I have been curious about the mice, though I never thought of acting on doing a retelling of them. I'm more interested in creating a new tale on the step mother and sisters. Anyway congrats Bridget on your MG retelling and it's lovely to see story magic retold through new eyes.

cleemckenzie said...

Excellent interview. I'm always fascinated by how writers find their stories and set out to execute them. I love the idea of The Rat Prince. Congratulations.

Michael G-G said...

Sounds like a really super novel--and I loved Bridget's advice and agent story.

Danielle H. said...

I love this idea for a book! This book sounds like so much fun to read. Thanks for the interview and chance to win. I shared on twitter: https://twitter.com/dhammelef/status/762699501807165440

Jemi Fraser said...

Sounds awesome!
Love the sound of the world - and the world building. Fascinating & fun! :)

Karen Lange said...

Nice to meet you, Bridget! The book sounds interesting - enjoyed hearing about the process. I like the challenge for a faithful retelling. So much more goes into our stories than many people realize.

Natalie, thanks for hosting. I'll pass on the giveaway. Have a great week! :)

Brenda said...

At first look at the title, Rat Prince, I wasn't thinking of a retelling of Cinderella, but Bridget's description makes this sound so intriguing. I liked the way that Bridget used her previous European history knowledge to re-imagine Cinderella, while trying to stay true to the original, sounds wonderful. I shared on twitter. Have a lovely week Natalie!

Jenni said...

I really enjoyed this interview. I love how Bridget's agent told her to focus on writing a classic, not the market. This book sounds like so much fun. I love retellings, especially ones about Cinderella!

Faith E. Hough said...

Great twist! I'll have to read this, especially as Cinderella re-tellings are my favorite. :)

Natasha said...

Sounds like an amazing read!
Thanks for the chance to win!
natasha_donohoo_8 at hotmail dot com

abnormalalien said...

This definitely sounds like a fun read!

Tyrean Martinson said...

This sounds like a fun, in-depth twist on the Cinderella story. :)

KRwriter said...

I can't wait to read this retelling. Sounds like an interesting update to a classic fairy tale!

Denise Covey said...

This sounds like a fun fractured fairytale. I love them! The Rat Prince sounds delightful. I love what Bridget says: '...you should write whatever makes your heart sing and your fingers click across those keys like they'll never stop!' That's been my experience writing chick lit!

Hi Natalie!Hope all is well in your world! :-)

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

The Rat Prince sounds wonderful. Gotta love it when inspiration hits in the shower ;)

Stina said...

I'm still in wow over all Bridget did to create the story's world. Love the premise behind this twist of the beloved fairytale. :)

Rosi said...

Great interview, as usual. I always enjoy them. I love the cover on this book. It sounds like a good one for fantasy lovers. Please let someone else win. I am way behind on my reading right now.

Rachna Chhabria said...

I love the idea of expanding on a classic. And getting inspired in the shower is something we all writers are familiar with. Cindrella is my favourite classic. Please include me in the giveaway!

Kirsti Call said...

I love the premise of your book and I can't wait to read it!

Mary Preston said...

What a fabulous idea for a story.


Diane Magras said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Diane Magras said...

What a lovely idea. It sounds like a fun story, and it would be very appealing to quite a few kids I know.

I'd love to enter the giveaway.


Candice Conner said...

I enjoyed reading Ms Bridget's challenges she gave herself when writing The Rat Prince, so interesting and really piqued my interest!
Shared on Twitter

BranwenOShea said...

What fun! I especially like that the rat prince taught you about his character when you began to write. I love it when characters surprise their writers. Congrats and good luck.

Angie Quantrell said...

This book sounds fascinating! Can't wait to read it. Thanks for the helpful tips! Angelecolline@yahoo.com

Jarm Del Boccio said...

What a great idea for a MG novel, Bridget! Thanks for sharing your research process with us. All the best as your book is delivered to the world soon!

Danielle said...

I've been seeing some buzz about this book and love ready retold fairy tales! Thanks for the opportunity to win an early copy! <3 deduvick (at) gmail (dot) com

Unknown said...

Sounds terrific. I'd love a copy!

Kristin Lenz said...

Congrats, Bridget, and best of luck on your new super-secret projects!

jpetroroy said...

Great interview. This sounds so clever!

Unknown said...

I was just telling my niece about this story!

Unknown said...

World building is a skill worth developing, and I look forward to reading how Bridget has done this in The Rat Prince. Thanks for the interview.

Valentina B-v said...

Great interview!The book sounds very intriguing, I would love to have the chance to read it.
GFC: Valentina BV
Shared: https://www.facebook.com/valentina.bv.77/posts/1117137661697166
E-mail: bv_byby27@yahoo.com
Thanks for the chance!

DMS said...

I have been hearing great things about this book and I have it on my list of books to read. Can't wait to check it out. It was fun learning about the how the idea and characters came to be. The research and world building sounds fascinating.

Wishing Bridget the best of luck. Thanks a million for a chance to win a copy. :)

DMS said...

I tweeted and Google+d it. :)

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

What a delightful twist on a time-worn classic fairytale. I love how the story came to Brigitte and then how it evolved. And Eric sounds like a dream agent. How great that he told her not to think of the market for her next book but write from the heart. Wonderful!

Anonymous said...

This sounds like a really interesting book, and I love that you put so much work into the worldbuilding! That's one of my weaknesses. Excited to read it!

Unknown said...

This sounds absolutely fabulous -- can't wait to sink my teeth into it :) Thanks for the offer.

Carmen said...

This sounds wonderful! Can't wait to read it! Congrats, Bridget.


finnthefearless said...

Thanks for the world-building tip! Sounds like an awesome read. finnthefearless(at)gmail(dot)com