Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Author Interview - Ashlee Willis

So I'm taking a quick break from the countdown to WPFP's release (Just six more days though!) for an interview with an author I love about a book I'm wonderfully excited about. It's Cinderella, which has been on my mind of late, so let us commence!

Book Description: 

Deep in a forest glade, the fey folk dance with Isidore, a young human child. Their kinship is the very fabric of her childhood. When her mother dies and her world darkens with sorrow, Isidore finds her belief in the fey folk wavering.

The love of her new step-sister, Blessing, proves an unexpected gift in her time of need. Yet even as their friendship blooms, Isidore begins to see that Blessing is everything she herself has always wanted to be, but is not. Jealousy grips Isidore as she watches this beautiful new sister steal away all she holds dear.

Driven to desperation, Isidore turns to the fey folk once more. She has only one wish to claim from them, one chance to make things right. But she must tread carefully. For wishes, like hearts, are easily broken. And obtaining the one thing she desires could mean destroying the one thing she truly needs.

 Author Bio:
Ashlee Willis is the author of fantasy for young adults. While most of her days are balanced between writing, reading and being a stay-at-home mom, she also finds time to enjoy forest rambles, crocheting, and playing the piano. She lives in the heart of Missouri with her family.

1. What drew you to write a Cinderella retelling?
I actually wrote it in response to the Rooglewood Press contest that was going on at the time. I don't believe I would have ever written a Cinderella retelling on my own, as Cinderella has never been one of my favorite fairy tales. The version I've published now has gone through some hefty revisions and changes from the original that got sent into the contest, however!

2. What are the twists that make your retelling unique?
The one thing I knew I wanted to do differently was tell the story from another person's point of view. So I chose to tell A Wish Made of Glass from the stepsister's angle. The rest of the story, however, is based so loosely on the original Cinderella tale(s) that it would almost be a stretch to even call it a retelling. I took the elements I thought were intriguing from the older versions and simply inserted them into a story of my own.

3. What do you think is the great attraction of the fairy tale Cinderella and why it's such an easy tale to retell?
I think its attraction lies in its simplicity and its beautiful happily-ever-after. Which, in fact, is what made it such a difficult tale for me to retell! I like complicated, troubled characters and plots, and stories that don't wrap up every loose end perfectly. And while I did keep a small part of the simplicity and happily-ever-after in my story, I added a lot of darkness that wasn't in any of the originals.

4. What would you say is/are the essential elements of a Cinderella retelling?
I'm not sure there are any particular essentials. But if it's going to be a retelling (or rather a rehashing, like mine!), it needs to at least be recognizable to anyone who knows the original Cinderella story. Maybe you've got the same cast of characters, maybe you kept some of the great props from the original (pumpkin, glass slippers, etc.), or maybe you've just stuck closely to the original and made one or two small, significant changes . . . anything goes. That's why fairy tale retellings are so varied and creative and intriguing, and why so many people love to read them.

5. What is your favorite traditional version of Cinderella? Your favorite modern retelling (besides your own)?
Charles Perrault's version has always been my favorite traditional version. I liked that he took the freedom to make some of his own changes to the tale by turning the slippers from gold to glass, and even by coming up with the idea of lizard footmen :) Of modern retellings, well, I actually featured some of my favorites on my own blog recently, along with interviews from the authors. Without a doubt these five retellings are ones I'd recommend to anyone looking for a Cinderella fix ;)

I am incredibly excited about this book!

Thank you so much for having me! It was an honor, Kendra!

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