Vintage Jane Austen Mini-Reviews + Sarah Scheele Interview + Giveaway!

The Vintage Jane Austen Blog Event is running this week (November 5 – 11) and features a giveaway, reviews, interviews, and more, for this lovely series of stand-alone retellings of Jane Austen’s classic works retold in a 1930s American setting. There is one yet to release, coming soon, but the other five are all available in ebook and paperback now!

For the tour today, I’m excited to have Sarah Scheele (author of the Mansfield Park retelling, Bellevere House) here for a quick interview!

I’m also spotlighting each of the Vintage Jane Austen books below with some mini reviews. 🙂

And when you finish reading, be sure to scroll down the whole way and enter the giveaway!

First, a little bit about the talented author I’m interviewing…

Sarah Scheele scribbled incessantly as soon as she could read and write. A heavy background—some might say an overdose—of literature during her childhood set writing into a loop she has yet to escape. That education in classics gave birth to several of her stories, including a rewrite of Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park for this collection. She used to wonder why Edmund and Fanny couldn’t have a better resolution?—and so she decided to give them one. Today she does many things with her time. But then she writes, which is the most important thing to mention in an author’s biography. Sarah lives on a farm in Texas with a ladylike cat and a tomboyish Pomeranian.

Visit Sarah Scheele online at her Website, Blog, and Facebook Page

Interview with Author Sarah Scheele

1. What was your favorite part of writing Bellevere House?

Probably the adaptation of the Bertram’s theatricals into renting the house to various people while the Sir Thomas character (Uncle Warren) is away. I didn’t want to have the characters simply do a more recent play among themselves, so I tried to choose something that could get them into lots of trouble in the same kind of way. That area was written early and never changed much because it’s kind of a short story on its own, apart from the bulk of the remake.

2. That was a hilarious part! 🙂 Do you have a favorite book (and/or character) by Jane Austen, and why?

Hmmm…Northanger Abbey, maybe. The abbey is a fascinating set and as a little kid I actually wrote my own version of Mrs. Radcliffe’s Udolpho (since I hadn’t read the original) pulling names and scraps of detail from things mentioned in NA. And for second favorite, Emma’s a really fun character. It’s hard to show those flawed people so we aren’t soft on them but we also see their point of view. I like watching Emma movies more than reading the book, though—and the opposite for NA.

3. Can you tell us a little about your other available books and what you’re currently writing?

It’s funny because they’re mostly fantasy with literally no bearing on this VJA thing. Victoria: A Tale of Spain is historical, but it’s based on Snow White and started as a fantasy story. I also have a set of five short stories, called Facets of Fantasy, and a children’s sci-fi novel. Getting Bellevere finished was a pretty involving process, so I’m just brainstorming new things at this point. Currently I’m doing an urban fantasy–like a western, but with Elves and dragons.

4. Ooh, I’m intrigued! Where do you find inspiration for your writing?

Instinct, mostly. I’ll admit I’m not one of those all about the craft writers, though I would say I take it seriously. But I don’t have much of a method. I just find things everywhere and save them for later. Animals, pictures, a funny line from a TV show, anything I can imagine turning upside down and then taking it from there. It’s about possibilities. Like throwing on lots of different things and suddenly you’ve got an outfit.

5. Who are some of your favorite authors?

That’s a hard one because I tend to think in books, not authors. I might love one work by an author and never read—or like—another by that person again. But overall I’d say classics are always a good bet (currently I’m reading The Wind in the Willows) and for recent books I like almost anything about kids in our world who stumble on marvelous adventures. And comic stories with funny dragons in them. You just can’t beat a funny dragon if you want to get away from reality.

Yesss! I love dragons. Thanks so much for coming over to my blog for an interview! 🙂

You’re welcome. Thank you so much for having me.


And now for my…

Mini Reviews

One of my favorite things about the Vintage Jane Austen series is how individual and unique they are, different from each other but with those unifying threads of the Great Depression era and Jane Austen retellings. They fit together as a series so well, while at the same time being vastly different, with different styles and fresh outlooks from each separate author. They’ve all outdone themselves, and through the whole varied series I have enjoyed all of the books immensely!

I usually read fantasy novels, but I enjoy a Jane Austen or a historical from time to time, and these books are definitely worthy additions to the world of literature. They’re wonderful retellings of Jane Austen’s beloved works, and also lovely novels in their own right. 🙂 Below are some mini thoughts on each. (Please note I received free e-copies of these books for the purpose of writing my honest reviews.)

Emmeline by Sarah Holman (Emma)

Sarah Holman retells Emma in this novel which I believe to be her best work yet. 🙂 I loved how it was able to keep all the plot threads tightly written together in a shorter space than the original, translated into the 1930s perfectly, and all while being fun, too! Fredrick Knight (the Mr. Knightley character) was my favorite thing about the novel (with a sort of Mr.-Knightley-crossed-with-Frank-Hardy-but-grown-up sort of vibe; yay for the ’30s), along with the so-fun banter and relationship between him and Emmeline. It was fantastic. 😀 There’s a strong Christian element as well.  I so enjoyed this book. ^_^ Emma fans, don’t miss this one!


Suit and Suitability by Kelsey Bryant (Sense and Sensibility)

Kelsey Bryant writes an absolutely gorgeous YA retelling of Sense and Sensibility. The writing is beautiful, the research pristine — I was drawn completely into this story and 1930s Ohio/New York setting. It was captivating! Both sisters (Ellen and Marion Dashiell, the Dashwood sisters in this) were so well written, and all the characters were so vivid and likeable — except for the ones we weren’t supposed to like. 😉 Add some fabulous twists, an adorable romance or two ( ❤ ), some much-needed extra “screen” (page?) time for Everett (Edward’s character), and a thoughtful faith element, with a sprinkling of humor, and you have an utterly delightful retelling! ^_^ Definitely a favorite. 🙂


Bellevere House by Sarah Scheele (Mansfield Park)

You don’t really think of “fun” when you think of Mansfield Park, but this retelling by talented author Sarah Scheele flips that on its head. It’s written in such a witty, charming style, with many parts absolutely hilarious to read — and funny books are my favorite. 😀 A bit more of a re-imagining than a straight-up retelling, it runs away with the Mansfield Park story (which, though I liked the original book, I found Mansfield Park kind of depressing to read) and makes it a mostly-lighthearted romantic-comedy type story. It was so much fun! It’s a little tongue-in-cheek, with occasional more serious subjects. I liked the characters, the writing was awesome, and overall I just had a blast reading this one! 🙂


Perception by Emily Ann Benedict (Persuasion)

Emily Ann Benedict pens a sweet retelling of Persuasion, fitting the 1930s time-period like a glove. I loved how Abbey (Anne’s character) and Freddy (Wentworth’s character) and their roles fit so well with a post-WWI/Depression-era setting. Her once-wealthy family in decline due to the Depression, and him just out of the army after the war, as a journalist. I really liked the other characters too, and enjoyed “visiting” Boston and Cape Cod… The writing was of an elusive quality just right for the “feel”, and the book had one or two twists but was mostly a very faithful retelling of one of my favorite Austen novels. Yet another worthy addition to the Vintage Jane Austen series, which I continue to enjoy so much! ^_^


Presumption and Partiality by Rebekah Jones (Pride and Prejudice)

Coming soon… A retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice… set in 1930s Arizona.

This one isn’t out yet, but I’m very excited to read it when it releases! P&P is my favorite of Austen’s original novels, and I think this retelling is going to be amazing. 🙂 I can’t wait! ^_^


Second Impressions

What an absolutely sweet (and varied!) collection of retellings! I absolutely loved these little tales — all so unique, and either funny, touching, or just plain enjoyable. ^_^ Some are modern, others historical, or with a dash of kingdoms/light fantasy, and even a sci-fi story! Lovely Jane-Austen-esque gems by talented authors, this collection of stories is a wonderful addition to the Vintage Jane Austen series, and if you’re an Austen fan, you definitely need to give this sweet bundle of tales a try. Excuse me while I hug it. ❤

I’ll be sharing my full review of Second Impressions (including mini-reviews for each of the short stories in this collection) on my book blog tomorrow, so stay tuned! 🙂


More Links

You can find the VJA books on Goodreads HERE.

If you’d like to read my full reviews for these books, you can find them by clicking the covers below. 🙂

 


Tour Schedule

Visit these blogs during this week to find interviews, book reviews, and much more!

November 5

November 6

November 7

November 8

November 9

November 10

November 11


Giveaway

As part of this special blogging event, we are giving away a $25 Amazon gift Card.

Enter to win HERE.

And don’t forget to check out www.vintagejaneausten.com if you’re curious about the series.


Thoughts? Share ’em below! Thanks for reading! 🙂

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Interview with Author Claire Banschbach + Giveaway + Rise of Aredor/Wildcat of Braeton Relaunch!

Today I’m joining in on Claire Banschbach’s relaunch blogtour with a double book spotlight, giveaway, and an interview with the author herself! 🙂

Check out the tour schedule on Claire’s blog!

Some time ago, the publisher of The Rise of Aredor and The Wildcat of Braeton went under, so Claire has been hard at work getting both novels back out and published under her own label, Campitor Press. They’re now available again! (And The Rise of Aredor is 99 cents on Amazon during the blogtour, September 28-30!) I haven’t read them yet, but I’ve heard they’re quite good and feelsy. 😉 (And also that they’re not actually about animals, but people, despite the covers. XD) I look forward to trying them out someday! 😀

Also, if you’d like a taste of the Aredor universe, Claire has some short stories (she might even post one during the tour) on her blog; you can find and read them here.

Claire herself is an absolutely delightful person, both online and in person (I got to meet her and she’s awesome!) so I’m excited to have her over to my blog for an interview! 🙂

Author Bio

Claire M. Banschbach is a native West Texan. She discovered a deep and abiding love for fantasy and science fiction at a young age, prompting her to begin exploring worlds armed only with an overactive imagination and a pen while obtaining degrees in Kinesiology from Texas A&M and Physical Therapy from Texas Tech University.

She talks to fictional characters more than she should while struggling to find time for all their stories. She currently resides in Arlington, TX where she works as a Pediatric Physical Therapist.

You can connect with her on Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Blog | Instagram

Interview with Author Claire M. Banschbach

Find the other Random Facts scattered through the other spotlight posts on the tour!

1. Deborah: Pen, pencil, or keyboard — and why?

Claire: I actually will go back and forth between pen and keyboard, depending on the project. Both the Aredor books were written by hand and I recently found the giant stack of notebooks when I moved. (Visit my Facebook page to see me with The Rise of Aredor ;)) I do type faster than I write, so I’m on the computer for most projects these days, but I do love to pull out a notebook and pen and go old school for anything from a short story to a full length novel!

2. Deborah: Do you have a character who was your favorite to write in these books?

Claire: It’s kind of a toss up between Aiden and Trey as far as favorite to write. Aiden is obviously in there more, being the main character of book 2. I definitely enjoyed writing any scene with him in it. Trey was another fun one as a minor character, just because he’s kind of intense, snarky, and will do just about anything as long as it’s dangerous, so yeah… 😛

3. Deborah: I look forward to meeting both characters! Top five favorite authors?

Brian Jacques, JRR Tolkien, Andre Norton, KM Shea, and recently discovered HL Burke. I will pretty much read any of her books.

4. (Apparently I need to try Norton and Shea, since the other three are fabulous. XD) Do you have a favorite food?

All food? Lol! My friends and family know they can bribe me with anything remotely resembling pizza and tacos.

5. Zoo or museum, and why?

Ooh, tough one! I think it would depend on what exhibit I’m going to see at a museum. But I also like hanging out by the big cats at a zoo and swooning over otters. Zoo probably.

6. Otterssss! ❤ You are my kind of person. 😉 Do you listen to music while writing, and if so, what music do you enjoy most?

Oh yes! I listen to music all the time. Typically for writing I have an epic instrumental soundtrack playlist going, but I have one WIP right now that I usually put on my random playlist which contains anything from rock to Christian, pop to Celtic rock, oldies to acoustic covers. But usually I have some sort of instrumental/epic going.

7. What’s your current writing project, and what can readers expect next from you?

I have two I’m working on right now. One is the WIPs mentioned above – The Mountain Baron, is a N/A fantasy with a healthy dose of angst, stabby outlaws, and brothers. I have too much fun with it. The other is a fantasy/western Snow White retelling for a contest. As far as the next publishing project? My fantasy/adventure story, The Wolf Prince, about brothers, curses, and faeries is with the editor right now and I’m hoping to publish by the end of the year.

8. Exciting! I can’t wait. 🙂 And lastly: any words of wisdom for fellow writers/authors?

Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback. Don’t compare yourself to other writers, as in don’t measure your skill or success by other people. Don’t be afraid to take a break from writing! And remember, we’re all writers just trying to get our worlds out on paper – we’re all in this together.

Thanks so much for joining us, Claire!

Book Spotlight: The Rise of Aredor

The Rise of Aredor

Lost in a foreign land and separated from his family, Corin does his best to survive as a slave in the household of a Calorin lord. With newfound friends he fights for survival in ambushes and wars. For one act of bravery, he is awarded his freedom and returns to a home that has been invaded and ravaged by the Calorin armies. When Corin sets foot on Aredor’s shores, he has one goal in mind: find his family. He is driven into the forest, where he is reunited with childhood friends. From the shelter of the woods, they begin a spirited rebellion against Corin’s former cruel master, who now holds sway over Aredor. Follow Corin’s path in his quest to free his imprisoned brother, find a father who has vanished, and ultimately free his country in The Rise of Aredor.

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Book Spotlight: The Wildcat of Braeton

The Wildcat of Braeton

His term of service to Lord Rishdah now complete, Aiden returns to his home in Braeton. As he travels he hears rumors that trouble plagues Braeton. Clan Canich is being attacked from within. He arrives, determined to save his father, his brothers, and his Clan from the treachery of one man.

A year has passed since the Calorins were driven from Aredor and Corin is struggling to rebuild his country. Despite the peace, a fear haunts him that the Calorins aren’t far away. The Hawk Flight takes to the forest again to defend the borders against a possible attack from the neighboring country of Durna and its Calorin ally. 

As Aiden and Corin struggle to adapt to their new lives they know one thing for certain – war is coming to the North! 

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Giveaway

Claire is giving away ebooks of The Rise of Aredor and The Wildcat of Braeton, a set of 4 notecards of the series artwork, and the grand prize is a paperback set of the books + 1 notecard of choice!

The giveaway will run from 9/28 – 10/4

Enter via the Rafflecopter HERE!

Have you read any of Claire’s books? Or do you want to? 😉 Thanks for reading! 🙂

Giveaway + Publishing Tips with Jamie Foley (Arbiter Blogtour)

Today I’m excited to be part of a blog tour to celebrate the release of Arbiter by Jamie Foley, the second book in the Sentinel Trilogy!

Book 1

I just read book 1, Sentinel, and fell absolutely in love with it! Unlike anything I’ve read before, Sentinel is a thrilling fantasy adventure in a fantasy world with modern aspects, fantasy mind-powers, and, oh yeah, an apocalypse — plus great humor, awesome characters, a hint of Christian allegory, and all rolled up in a gripping, good clean novel. 🙂 It ended at a surprising point and left me needing book 2!

Book 2

I’m so excited that Arbiter has released now, and can’t wait to dive into reading it soon. 😀

(Read my review for Sentinel — and the prequel novella, ViperHERE on my book blog!)

Jamie Foley is a great author and a lovely person; I got to meet her at a writing workshop where she was speaking on publishing and marketing and other cool authorial things. I absolutely loved all the cool info she had to offer, so I’m excited to share some of her thoughts about the publishing world and other fun things in an interview below. 🙂

Don’t forget to scroll down for links at the end, and enter the giveaway too! (Who wants to enter to win books and gift cards? You know you want to!)

Interview

1. Welcome, Jamie! Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Howdy! I’m a workaholic marketing specialist/webmaster/graphic artist/indie publisher/author. Apparently that’s a thing…?

I live in central Texas with my Irish cowboy husband, hyperactive toddler, and snuggle-bunny Australian Shepherd. We’re rabid gamers and unashamed nerds.

2. Which book in the Sentinel trilogy surprised you the most while writing it?

Definitely Book 2: Arbiter. I didn’t expect the villain to come alive and be so… well… loveable over the course of the story. More than one beta reader said they learned to love him despite his nefarious deeds.

And Jet did some things I didn’t have in my outline. I tried to argue, but he’s so thick-headed.

(Oh my, I can just see that of Jet. XD)

3. What’s next in your writing/publishing plans after the final book (Sage) releases?

I’m working on two new series, both of which I hope to traditionally publish. One is called Emberhawk, which happens in the same world as The Sentinel Trilogy, but thousands of years in the past.

In Emberhawk, elementals vie for control of human tribes and empires, sparking wars that shape the nations of Sentinel. I’m planning for Emberhawk to be a series of three novels with a tad more romance than The Sentinel Trilogy, but just as much action and suspense.

The second series is still early in development, but… *looks over shoulder and whispers* It’s set on a totally new world with rune magic!

(Looking forward to both! :))

4. Zoo or museum, and why?

OK, I love zoos, but I definitely have to go with museums. My hubby and I are total nerds, always slurping up random worthless trivia and awesome historical tidbits. I love learning about the past — the more ancient, the better!

5. If you could choose one place to visit, real or fictional, where would you go?

Do I have to choose one?? Well… then it would probably be Narnia. Assuming that I couldn’t go back in time and ancient Earth. Or Rivendell. Or Kashyyyk… sorry.

(I’m totally up for Kashyyyk or any of those! ;))

6. Which aspects of indie publishing have been the most challenging and most rewarding?

It’s challenging to supply your own funds for crafting a professional work all by yourself, but if you know it’s what you want to do as a career and you save up, you’ll find that most all of the pros out there are happy to work with indie authors. Learning the ropes is tough at first, but boy, is it worth it!

One bonus of indie publishing is that you can be a little more… out there… than some publishers might approve of. Yes, you should definitely hire a professional editor or two, but at the end of the day, you get to make the call when your work is ready for the world to see.

Another reward is when the monetary investment returns and you don’t have to pay any middle-men. But if you can land a contract with one of the Big 5 publishers, signing that baby would definitely be worth it!

7. What is the difference between traditional and self-publishing, and what is a hybrid publisher?

There are a bunch of differences, but really it’s a matter of rights. As an independently published author, you’d maintain all of your rights and would take all of the profits from your book sales for yourself. But you’re a one-man show.

If you’re lucky enough to land a traditional publishing contract, you’d sell your rights to the publisher and make a much lower royalty percentage. But you’d have a team of experts behind you with a vested interest in making your book awesome and selling as many copies as possible.

A hybrid author has one foot in each camp. They have been traditionally published, but also self-publish some of their works.

8. What are the advantages of being a hybrid author versus just sticking with indie or traditional?

There are lots of advantages! Hybrid authors have the best of both worlds. They have the full force of a publisher’s resources gunning for their success–large traditional publishers help tremendously with marketing and may even hire a publicity firm for a project or two.

And when traditional authors self-publish on the side, they make a killing on the royalties because they’ve already got a large fan base, thanks to their publisher. Because of this, hybrid authors tend to make more money than both independent and traditional authors (on average).

9. Are there any well-known authors who have chosen to hybrid publish their work?

Oh, yeah! I’ve chatted with bestselling authors Ted Dekker and Beth Wiseman about their decisions to self-publish after many years of publishing traditionally with the ‘Big 5’ publishers.

The sad truth is that authors simply don’t make as much moolah as we used to. The market is changing, and a lot of big-time authors are barely hanging on. This is why you see well-known authors turning to self-publishing–even if they’re also continuing to publish traditionally–to make more money on the side.

10. What advice would you share with an aspiring author?

Decide if you want to write for pleasure or for business. It’s OK just to write for pleasure and not publish everything, just like it’s OK to be a hobby artist or musician!

But if you do want to be a career writer, realize that you’re starting a small business—and all small business require a monetary investment and a start-up period of a few years. Be willing to learn, save up, and sacrifice. Surround yourself with professionals—from top editors to bestselling authors to award-winning cover designers to marketing gurus—and I promise your hard work will pay off.

Great advice — thanks so much for joining us, Jamie!

Tour-wide Giveaway

Blogtour Schedule

The Books

This is getting a bit long, so check out the links to the books to read more about them! 🙂

Sentinel (Book 1)

Amazon (Kindle/Paperback)Signed PaperbackGoodreads

Arbiter (Book 2) — just released!

Amazon (Kindle/Paperback)Signed PaperbackGoodreads

Sage (Book 3)

Coming soon!

Viper (Book 0) — prequel novella

Amazon (Kindle/Paperback)Signed PaperbackGoodreads

What do you think, Roadlings? Do the books intrigue you? Is this an awesome giveaway? (Yes.) And did you find any of the publishing info interesting? Drop a comment to let me know what you think, and thanks for reading! 🙂

Paper Crowns Blogtour: Mirriam Neal Interview

PaperCrowns3

I’m SUPER excited to be part of the Paper Crowns blog-tour (going all month long!) with an interview with Mirriam Neal herself! *cue excited squealing*

I kid you not when I say that when I learned Paper Crowns was published, I spent the next day+ dancing ecstatically around the house making high keening happy noises and randomly shrieking “Paper Crowns is published!!” (You think I’m joking? Ha. Just ask my poor family who had to put up with my fangirling…)

I had the pleasure of beta-reading the story when it was first written, and I remember flailing with happiness whenever I found a new chapter in my inbox. THIS BOOK IS EXCELLENT, PEOPLE.

I recently got the published version (THAT was a happy day, aaahhh!!) and read it again and it was just as good — or, well, BETTER BECAUSE IT’S PUBLISHED! (Aside from some typos. Which I have it on good authority are being fixed, so.) I plan to read it again very soon. Maybe tomorrow… And again soon after that. (What, I’m totally normal, honest.)

PaperCrowns1

(My cat, Callette, was not thrilled about a photo-shoot… BUT CATS. Unfortunately she is not blue, but I love her anyway…)

I AM NOT EXAGGERATING WHEN I SAY THAT THIS IS ONE OF MY FAVORITE BOOKS EVER. It’s just… perfect. Mirriam Neal is a genius writer, and while I’ll read anything she writes, this just takes the cake as the best ever because of its unexpectedly light fantasy faerie-tale feeling. The CHARACTERS are the best of ever (Halcyon! Azrael! Astryn! Ginger! Salazar! Asterope! I love them alllll!) and the humor and bickering and plot and setting are all just perfection.

It has everything: a sarcastic fey blue cat, a fire elemental, a grouchy wysling, a gingery heroine, friends and traitors, villains and lovable heroes, lots and lots of snow, muffins, forests, and a good deal of folded paper. It makes you laugh and wrenches at your heart and makes you fall in love and long to go on an adventure. I LOVE THIS BOOK SO MUCH.

I’m so very excited it’s published now so that I can insist everyone reads it.

And I do, you know. Insist you read it, that is. You will NOT regret it.

THIS BOOK THOUGH!!! ❤

Here’s a bit about the book and author and then on to the interview!

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Paper Crowns

Ginger has lived in seclusion, with only her aunt Malgarel and her blue cat, Halcyon, to keep her company. Her sheltered, idyllic life is turned upside-down when her home is attacked by messengers from the world of fae. Accompanied by Halcyon (who may or may not be more than just a cat), an irascible wysling named Azrael, and a loyal fire elemental named Salazar, Ginger ventures into the world of fae to bring a ruthless Queen to justice.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads | Publisher


Author Bio

tumblr_o4995pxJel1tkzty6o1_500Mirriam Neal is a twenty-two-year-old Northwestern hipster living in Atlanta. She writes hard-to-describe books in hard-to-describe genres, and illustrates things whenever she finds the time.  She aspires to live as faithfully and creatively as she can and she hopes you do, too.

You can connect with Mirriam online here:

Blog | Email


Interview with Mirriam Neal

Deborah: Could you tell us a little about your usual writing process (planning/pantsing), and how the process of writing Paper Crowns was similar or different?

Mirriam: Paper Crowns is different because it was spur-of-the-moment. I more or less woke up one day and thought, ‘I want to write this story,’ and so I did. Usually there’s a lot more work involved – I wait until I have at least half the cast created, until I have a vague idea of the ending, until I know some major plot points. Usually I have a framework, but with Paper Crowns I knew the ‘feeling’ of the book I wanted to write, and that was enough. I wish this happened more often, honestly.

PaperCrowns4

Which character from the Paper books would you say you are the most like?

I actually had to ask my friend Lauren about this. We settled on Rooney (the heroine of Paper Hearts) almost simultaneously. I’d say Rooney is more extraverted than I am, but we share many of the same characteristics.

Part of Paper Crowns takes place in our world . . . Is it any particular place—America, England… (double-decker bus?)—or did you deliberately leave the setting open to the imagination?

I deliberately left the setting open – when I began it, I wasn’t even sure it was set in our world! But I quickly realized it was, and decided it was more fun to leave it open for interpretation. Personally, I see it set in England, but that’s just me.

On that note: Accents. I hear Hal’s accent as British and Asterope’s as some sort of Irish. Is this more-or-less accurate (I hope)?

You’re correct on Asterope’s accent (points to you!) but during the rewrite, I realized Hal’s accent wasn’t so much London as a bit of Korean (Busan-dialect, specifically) with a splash of Scottish.

(I’ll probably still hear Hal as British, but oh well. XD) Will we get to learn which wysling was involved in the intriguing Hal/Astryn/kingfisher backstory and/or might we ever get this tale in book (or even short story) form? Because that would frankly be awesome. 😀

I’ve lowkey considered writing a novella dedicated to this particular slice of backstory, because it would be fantastic fun and I’m as curious about it as anyone!

(Yay!) Is Asterope still going to get his own book?

His book is waiting in the wings; very much alive, but not in the immediate future. Ras Algethi Chow gets his own novel first.

Do the verily muffins have an inspiration?

I was hungry and I wanted muffins. Hunger is good inspiration when writing food.

The main character of Paper Crowns does a lot of origami. Is that an art form you’ve dipped into yourself?

It’s inspired by two things. One: Yes, I’ve always loved origami, although I’ve never been ‘into it.’ I’ve never devoted the time – except for paper airplanes, and paper boxes. I’ve folded those my whole life, and the stories surrounding paper cranes have always fascinated me. Two: Owl City’s ‘Sky Sailing’ album featured a music video starring a paper airplane. That album heavily inspired the novel.

Your answers to a couple of questions from other interviews got me wondering about your outlook on wanting readers to take away a certain message (or not) from many of your books. I’m curious: Do you see there being a difference between tackling a “big question” in a book versus trying to preach a “message” to readers?

It’s a tricky line on which to balance, I’ll give it that, and I used to be ‘preachy’ (although even then, I was trying not to.) I think honesty and a genuine heart are very important when you really want to make your readers think and question. Readers are intelligent. They’ll know if you’re an arrogant know-it-all, forcing an opinion down their throat. Rather than forcing my opinion, I present it. I think that’s the difference.

Your books seem to have simultaneously a freshness of originality and a touch of richness of story that’s already out there. How do you view this in your own writing and what advice do you have for writers about coming up with “new” things but using echoes of other tales and, without “copying,” putting a new spin on them to deepen the story tapestry?

I’ve never been asked this question, honestly, and it’s fascinating. (Also, thank you for the compliment!) I think stories ‘echo’, as you so wonderfully put it, when there’s truth and honesty to them. People will tell you that every story has already been written. If you break a story down into a basic three-step formula, then sure, every story has been written; but I disagree with the statement. A story is so much more than a formula. Each story is different due to hundreds of tiny factors, circumstances, and personal influences from the author. I also find that you can create a world that’s been created a million times before, but if you fill that world with a cast of funky, original, diverse characters, nobody will care about the world. (At least, they won’t care about the world nearly as much as its inhabitants.) Also, I think it’s horrifyingly easy to be caught up in trying too hard. When you try too hard to be original, it shows more care about what people think than the story itself. Novels know what the author cares about, and novels know also know what the author should care about. It’s why readers, I think, can tell the difference between a real novel and a hollow one.

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Your vivid characters are a classic feature of your work, and always one of my favorite things. Any tips for writers about writing characters, especially involving interactions, snark, and humorous banter? (Of which you are the queen.) Share your secrets if you have any…

Have a sense of humor. I know that’s not very helpful, but it’s true – you can’t write humor without a sense of it in the first place. I don’t know how to teach a sense of humor, but you can definitely learn it. What makes you laugh? Dissect that. Also, there are many kinds of humor. Subtle, circumstantial, slapstick, sarcastic, trickster. As for the non-humorous part of the question, I think it’s a tendency authors have to think they must know their character perfectly before they start writing them. I used to fill out three or four bio sheets for every character before I wrote them, but in doing so, I essentially murdered their personality before it hit the page. You want them to be alive and breathing when they first open their eyes. You DON’T want them reduced to a set of answered questions. That’s a surefire way to kill them before they’re ever really alive.

Could you tell us a little about what’s next on your writing plate? (When the next Paper book might be out, what other book(s) we might see from you next…?)

Revising Paper Hearts (the sequel to Paper Crowns) is very high on my list, as is editing Dark is the Night (a redemptive vampire novel) and finishing The Dying of the Light (a futuristic samurai retelling of Robin Hood).

Thanks very much for stopping by my blog and putting up with my pestering! 🙂 It’s an honor to have you. ❤

Thank you so much for having me! I had a fantastic time. You have mad interview skills.

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So what do you think, blog readers of mine? Was this fun or what? (Answer: yes.) Are you going to read Paper Crowns? (The correct answer is OF COURSE. Ahem.) SERIOUSLY THOUGH IT’S AWESOME. ❤ Be sure to check out the rest of the blog tour and enter the GIVEAWAY for a signed copy of Paper Crowns that Mirriam is holding on her blog! 🙂

(…And now I need to go reread Paper Crowns again.)

A Cinderella-ish Interview & Giveaway

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Today I’m joining in on the blog tour celebrating the release (yesterday!) of the Cinderella novella A Dream Not Imagined — which I reviewed recently. As I may have said before… who doesn’t love a good retelling? 😉

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Be sure to check out the other posts running through the weekend — and remember to enter the giveaway below!!

But first, I’m excited to have the lovely authoress herself over on my blog to answer some mostly Cinderella-themed questions!

Enjoy!

Interview with Shantelle Mary Hannu

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1. What do you like most about the story of Cinderella?

Hmm, the idea of a getting a gorgeous gown and fancy dancing slippers is such fun! 😀 And also, I just really like the thought of this orphan girl—hurt, belittled, and having lost all those she loved—who finds a beautiful love story despite the odds! ❤

2. Do you have a favorite retelling in book form?

Only one?? 😉 I think I’d have to say Entwined by Heather Dixon. It was quite creepy at some points, but I just ADORED all the dancing, the precious little sisters, the totally sweet romance, the magic tea set . . . It’s for sure my favorite retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses!

Others I have to mention: The Fairest Beauty by Melanie Dickerson, Cinderella’s Dress by Shonna Slayton, Before Midnight by Cameron Dokey, and The Seahorse Legacy by Serena Chase.

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3. How about favorite Cinderella film?

Totally Cinderella [2015]. I LOVED it!! ^__^ Such gorgeousness!! So lovely and sweet! An absolutely beautiful remaking of the original tale!

4. What is your favorite element in the classic Cinderella tale? (The slipper, romance, carriage, rags-to-riches…?)

A rags-to-riches is always an interesting thing to read of . . . But it can bring trouble too; like Miss Prudence. Lol! Wasn’t that her name? The strict lady who drove poor Cinderella crazy! :p

I love the glass slipper part of the story actually. Something about the prince picking up her dainty little shoe. ^_^

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5. Who is your favorite character in the Cinderella story, and who’s your favorite in your version, A Dream Not Imagined?

I’ve always had a soft spot for Anastasia, after watching Cinderella II. So her, Cinderella, or Gus. 😀

In my version . . . I do particularly like Ellie, of course! And my “fairy godmother” also endeared herself to me.

6. You wrote it originally for Anne Elisabeth Stengl’s fairytale contest, but aside from that, what caused you to write a retelling of your own? Where did the idea come from/what was your inspiration?

Fairytales are one of my favorite things to read ever. I’m just captivated by them. Cinderella, Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves . . . *hugs them all* The plots are just so neat that I want to try create my own retellings, I suppose. I would like to write a whole collection of fairy tale retellings! ^__^

Inspiration for A Dream Not Imagined? I’m not really sure. I had some ideas jotted down prior to finding out about Anne Elisabeth’s contest, but I think most of those changed, haha! I just started writing, and it all came! 🙂

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7. Do you have a favorite theme/scene/part in your story A Dream Not Imagined?

The bits about dancing are a favorite. The Epilogue gives me a soft, happy feeling. I quite like my theme sort of about surrendering . . . probably because it’s a lesson I’m learning in my own life. 😀

8. Do you have pictures and/or actors in mind to “play” the parts of the major characters in A Dream Not Imagined?

I do!! ^__^ Visit the first post for this blog tour. Or my Pinterest board for A Dream Not Imagined.

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9. Do you have any tips for writers who would like to try their hand at a fairy tale retelling?

Follow the classic storyline, or make all kinds of exciting changes . . .  either way will be amazing I think! There’s so much potential! Just read or watch the classic story, and then start writing. 😀

10. And (be honest, now — Cinderella-themed questions aside…) what’s your favorite fairytale? 😉

Um . . .  do I have to? ;D I don’t think I can pick a favorite, I just . . . can’t. My top three favorites would probably be The Twelve Dancing Princesses, The Little Mermaid, and Rapunzel.

Thanks for joining us, Shantelle! ^_^

About the Book

A Dream Not Imagined CoverA MAID, a PRINCE, and a DUKE. A GARDENER, a STEPMOTHER, and a secret…

Ellie Abbington, a beautiful yet unassuming young woman, quietly longs for her life to change. Too privileged to associate with the servants—too underprivileged to associate with her own family; she dreams a dream of a prince and a happily ever after. But it could be that her own stepsisters, conniving Dezmarie and easily-influenced Adelaide, are dreaming the same dream…of the same prince. In the end, are dreams even all they’re made out to be? Especially with deep and long-hidden secrets about to be unearthed?

A Dream Not Imagined is a non-magical fairytale novella based loosely on the classic tale of Cinderella.

Now available as a Kindle ebook on Amazon!

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About the Author

KODAK Digital Still CameraShantelle Mary Hannu was born in the mountainous west, spending her golden childhood years there. Since then, she has relocated time and again with her parents and seven siblings, making cherished memories in both the South and Central United States.

A Christian homeschool graduate, Shantelle has a passion for writing and all things books. From a young age she’s been penning tales with a hope of sharing with the world adventurous and soul-stirring stories that bring glory to God.

A Dream Not Imagined, a fairytale novella, is her first published book. She’s currently preparing a full-length fantasy novel for publication as well, and working on its sequel.

Shantelle blogs at A Writer’s Heart about her stories, favorite books and movies (with reviews), healthy wheat-free recipes, and hosts fellow authors, among other things. One of her joys is connecting with fellow writers and readers! You can also find her on:

Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Google+ | Pinterest

*****Giveaway!*****

Enter the rafflecopter form for a chance to win a kindle copy of A Dream Not Imagined and a $5 Amazon giftcard!

One winner will be chosen May 31st, and the kindle book and gift card will be sent to their email.

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But wait, there’s more!

Because I so enjoyed A Dream Not Imagined, I’m offering a giveaway of my own!

As well as the official rafflecopter giveaway for the blog tour, I am also going to give away a kindle ebook copy of A Dream Not Imagined to one random commenter here on this blog!

So comment away, and a random commenter will be chosen Monday June 1st and I will announce the winner and email them.

So, readers: A question for you! Answer for my personal giveaway:

What’s your favorite Cinderella retelling?

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