It’s my turn to do The Next Big Thing Blog Hop! If you don’t already know, it’s an idea originating in Australia that celebrates what children’s/YA writers are working on or what they have coming up next. I was tagged to participate by the wonderful Shelby Bach, one of the very first manuscript readers for my very first children’s book, The Thirteenth Princess. She has her own new title coming out in July, Of Witches and Wind. You can read about it here. And she’s asked me to answer The Next Big Thing questions about my own upcoming book.
What is the working title of your next book?
The working — and final — title is Sleeping Beauty’s Daughters. Remarkably, this book has had the same title since its first moment. Here’s its beautiful cover!
Where did the idea come from for the book?
It came from a brainstorming session with my then-editor, Maria Gomez. I had a contract for Princess of the Wild Swans and an “as-yet-unnamed fairy tale,” and we were tossing ideas around at lunch. She was the one who said, “What about something like…Sleeping Beauty’s Daughters?” I fell in love with the title, and the ideas sprang from that. Not the way I usually work!
What genre does your book fall under?
Middle grade fantasy, or fairy-tale retelling. For 8-12 year olds (or older, or younger) who love fairy tales and adventure.
What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
I used to imagine various Fannings playing princesses in the film versions of my books, but they just keep growing up. Now I think Quvenzhane Wallis would make a fabulous Luna — she’s the difficult younger sister in the book. And if she has an older sister…well, there’s my Aurora!
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
What if Sleeping Beauty’s terrible curse was passed on to her children?
Who is publishing your book?
HarperCollins Children’s Books.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
Probably about six months. But that was really just a start. Characters came and went, changed ages and hair colors, moved up and down in rank; settings emerged from the sea and disappeared again…only the plot stayed the same.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
This one isn’t really a retelling of a fairy tale, it’s an original tale. But it’s inspired by “Sleeping Beauty,” so I’ll mention some of the fairy tale retellings I admire enormously — Shannon Hale’s The Goose Girl, Robin McKinley’s Beauty, and Edith Pattou’s East. I don’t know if Sleeping Beauty’s Daughters can compare, but it aspires.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
My sister and our relationship were a large part of the story’s inspiration. Not that we’re exactly like Luna and Aurora (I hope not, anyway — I’d be the extremely difficult Luna in our version), but I think the book is as much about sisters as it is about magic. I wanted to show the ups and downs that all sisters have in their relationships. My princesses torment each other, but they also have each others’ backs.
(This is a very old and kind of scary publicity photo for a book my sister and I wrote together. We had our makeup professionally done. Can you tell? I think that the fact that we co-authored books and didn’t kill each other is a testament to the bonds of sisterhood.)
What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
There’s magic, a curse, good fairies and bad, princesses, a cute boy, a voyage and a quest, danger, and sisters. I hope that list includes something to intrigue any reader!
Thanks for checking out my new book! Be sure to stop by the blog of Erin Jade Lange, author of the critically acclaimed Butter, who allowed me to tag her for next week (Wednesday, March 20). Her blog is here. And check out my co-blogger for the day, Mindee Arnett. And in addition, when I asked to tag Shelley Moore Thomas, author of the fabulous Seven Tales of Trinket, she told me that she’d already been tagged and asked to tag me instead! You can read her Next Big Thing answers here.