The Next Big Thing: The Stepsister

The latest game for authors in the blogosphere is to tag each other for The Next Big Thing. Once tagged, an author answers a few questions, then tags other writers, with their permission.

Historical novelist Kim Rendfeld, author of The Cross and the Dragon , a retelling of two medieval legends, tagged me. Kim and I attended Indiana University at the same time, although we didn’t cross paths until recently.

What is the working title of your book?

The Stepsister

Where did the idea come from for the book?

I teach a children’s literature class to elementary education majors, and so I read a lot of children’s and young adult books. Right now, modern versions of fairy tales are very popular. I especially like the variations to the Cinderella story, and I wondered what I could do to make that tale different. I decided that having one of the stepsisters narrate the story would give the story an interesting twist.

What genre does your book fall under?

Gosh, it falls into a lot! Fantasy, historical fiction, children’s/young adult, and I’m giving this story a bit of a steampunk flavor as well.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Most of the characters are teenagers, and I don’t know Hollywood well enough to pick out actresses for the parts. I liked Drew Barrymore in Ever After and Hugh Dancy in Ella Enchanted, but they are both too old now. I guess this is a great chance for some new talent to get discovered.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Cinderella’s stepsister Dru, an inventor like her father, narrates this steampunk version of the classic fairy tale.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I’m looking for an agency—if you’re an agent and find my story interesting, please let me know!
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Not finished yet! My three adult novels each took about three years a piece. The only other children’s novel I’ve written took one month (I wrote it as part of NaNoWriMo). I’m guessing the first draft of The Stepsister will take about a year to finish—I’m hoping to be done by June 2013, so I can take it to the Historical Novels Society Conference.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Ella Enchanted is another retelling of the Cinderella story. Girl Genius has the same steampunk elements and a heroine a little like my own.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?

For the past few years, I’ve been writing historical fiction, reading fantasy, and teaching children’s literature. I think it’s no surprise that my latest work combines all of this.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Although readers probably think they know Cinderella and her stepsisters, when they read my version, they will discover that they didn’t know them at all. I’m aiming for a depth of character missing from most fairy tales.

Also, in The Stepsister, I use steampunk technology as a pseudo-scientific explanation for the magic that occurs in the Cinderella fairy tale.

I was tagged by:

Kim Rendfeld’s blog is Outtakes from a Historical Novelist . Her novel The Cross and the Dragon was published by Fireship Press this year.

I tag:

Beth Elliott  writes tales of adventure and romance set in the wider Regency period, including The Wild Card, shortlisted for the 2009 Romance Prize and recently released on Kindle. Beth’s blog is Regency Tales.

Tina Boscha is the author of River in the Sea, a haunting story of life on the North Sea coast during German occupation, based in part on the real-life experiences of Tina’s mother.

Tinney Heath is a fellow Wisconsin author who writes about the 13th Century. Her blog is Historical Fiction Research.  Her novel A Thing Done  will be published by Fireship Press this spring.

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