Thursday, May 28, 2015

Interview with Shantelle Harnu

You guys know me. If anyone so much as breathes a hint of "Fairy tale retelling" I rush to the front and demand my copy. So, when a new friend of mine announced that she's holding a blog tour for her new Christian, non-magical retelling of Cinderella (but, alas, I said new friend. Not Kiri Liz ... so it's not Secret of the Hazel Tree, which, when it releases, I will rave about for months, tell everyone to get a copy and rave about it for at least a week, and buy a (physical!) copy for myself to put on my shelf next to my Elsie Dinsmore books and sigh dreamily because it's that awesome. Anyways.)

This friend's name is Shanelle Harnu, and I haven't read the book yet - but still, I'm going to help promote, because she's also a first-time author, and I've been there, and I'm going to help her. Book, by the way, is titled Dream Not Imagined, which is pretty (And a break from all of the "of" titles I've been seeing on Cinderella retellings this year: Secret of the Hazel Tree, Wish Made of Glass, Merchant of Menace ... wait, that one's not this year ...)

About the Book

A 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.

About the Author

     Shantelle 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:

Twitter: @shantellemary

Google+: Shantelle H. 

Pinterest: Shantelle H. 

1. Welcome to Knitted By God's Plan! Can you tell me a bit about yourself?

Thank you for having me!! I’m a Christian homeschool graduate, eighteen years old, who has a great love for all things books! :D I currently live with my parents and seven siblings. And I’ve just begun my journey into indie-publishing!

2. Your book A Dream Not Imagined, is a retelling of Cinderella. Can you tell me what inspired you undertake a retelling?

There’s just something intriguing, deep, and mystical about fairy tales . . . I absolutely love them. And I love reading retellings and seeing how each one is different and unique. So yes. I’d just love to write a retelling for each fairy tale! :D (Or at least the most popular ones!) Author Anne Elisabeth Stengl launched a Cinderella-retelling writing contest like two years ago, and that’s what started me writing retellings!

3. Heh, heh, my own CinderEddy was written for that contest, though I didn't finish it in time to enter. What would you say are the essential elements of a Cinderella retelling?

Hmm, well I think there needs to be a mistreated maid as well as the stepmother and stepsisters. I’d say there should be a ball as well, or at least some type of dance! For my own retelling, I kept many of the little themes of Cinderella, but changed a bit here and there—especially since it’s a non-magical retelling!

4. Introduce us to a character from your book!

Dezmarie Abbington is a snooty, auburn-haired young woman. She puts great stock in beauty; and that’s one of the biggest reasons she can’t stand her maid stepsister, Ellie—who’s quite lovely with sunny-blonde hair and blue eyes. Read an interview of Dezmarie and her sister Adelaide here:

5. What is your favorite Fairy Tale?

Ah, so hard to choose!! But I’d have to say either The Twelve Dancing Princesses, Rapunzel, or The Little Mermaid. Dancing, mermaids, and long golden hair . . . it’s all such fun! ;D

6. What is your favorite Bible verse?

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart” Jeremiah 1:4

“For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10

7. What are three books that you would recommend to anyone?

·         Ilyon Chronicles (Half-Blood, Resistance, The King’s Scrolls, Samara’s Peril) by Jaye L. Knight

·         Books of the Infinite (Prophet, Judge, King) by R.J. Larson

·         Hebbros by Nicole Sager

Sorry, that was kind of more than three books . . . I just couldn’t help it! It’s almost the same thing, hehe. Anyway, those are some books that I found clean, deeply touching, and not too violent or gruesome. They’re all fantasy (what can I say? I love fantasy!! *grins*) but these are actually all non-magical . . . for people who aren’t comfortable with magical worlds. So yeah, I think I’d recommend those three to pretty much anyone! :)

Series totally count as one book - don't worry, I stretch this rule all the time myself.

So, what do you guys think of this book? Of fairy tale retellings in general, non-magical or otherwise? Personally, I find certain fairy tales annoying when you take out the magic (say, "Beauty and the Beast" or "Sleeping Beauty") but with Cinderella, I like it. In fact, most of my favorite Cinderella retellings are without magic (The exception being Ella Enchanted, but its core message is less magic is better, so maybe that counts?). In Fact, both my own CinderEddy, and the appearance of Cinderella that I have planned for Bookania are non-magical. (Actually, it's a joint effort of Robin and Meg that is the "Fairy Godmother" in that book, it's adorable, can't wait to write it.)


  1. Thanks for participating in the tour, and for the great interview, Kendra!! Such fun! :)

    Blessings!! :)

  2. I've been seeing rumblings about this book popping up all over the place lately. It sounds quite interesting. I love fairy tale retellings, though personally, I prefer them with a magical element. I don't dislike non-magical retellings, though.

    1. Yeah, same here. I love a retelling with a magical element, but with the exception of a few fairy tales, I don't mind it if it's removed. Can be quite interesting!

  3. Lovely review! So much fun to read. :) Thanks, guys! ^_^ And I positively ADORE A Dream Not Imagined, and fairytales are my favoritest thing probably ever. ;) I think having non-magical retellings is definitely a chance to do some switching-up of the story and see how you can handle it without it... but I think I'll always enjoy the fantastical ones best. But it really depends on the version and how it's done! This one, for example, was perfect. :D

  4. I quite adore magical fairy tales as well... but for some reason or another, A Dream Not Imagined just didn't turn out that way! I think I would kind of agree with Kendra, that Cinderella without the magic is nice. As for other retellings...

    My Beauty and the Beast retelling is magical... hehe, ;D

    Your Beauty and the Beast story is part of the Five Enchanted Roses collection, right, Jenelle? So excited to read it!!! :)

    Mystical and fae is just gorgeous, Deborah. I guess I really like historical, so I don't mind a non-magical retelling. But like I always say, fantasy and fairytale are my absolute favorites!!! :D Thanks for your sweet words!! ^_^

    Blessings all! <3

  5. Oh, Kendra, you just made my day! :) I got all excited when I saw you were introducing a Cinderella retelling that I didn't know about... and then you mentioned my book! *happy dance* I'm editing SotHT now, furiously (I hope), and I'm really trying to get it published before the summer is out. How soon... can't tell... BUT IT'S COMING!!

    Okay, this story looks amazing. I'm very much into retellings right now (as you probably very well know) and non-magical ones are the bee's knees. Or something like that. MUST READ.

    1. Eh, well, SotHT is my second favorite Cinderella Retelling ever, so yeah ... I'm really looking forward to being able to recommend it to everyone, because everyone needs to read it.

      Yeah, I think I had gotten vibes of "Fairy Tale Retellings" from you. Cinderella lends itself to non-magic so well. Such a beautiful story, and only made all the more beautiful if it's her own hard work and ingenuity that gets her to the ball.


Hi! Now that you've read my post, hast thou any opinions that thou wouldst like to share? I'd love to hear them!

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