Author: Diane Zahler

I'm the author of THE THIRTEENTH PRINCESS, A TRUE PRINCESS, PRINCESS OF THE WILD SWANS, and SLEEPING BEAUTY'S DAUGHTERS, all published by HarperCollins Children's Books, and BAKER'S MAGIC, new in 2016 from Capstone Young Readers.

The Next Big Thing

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. Of-Witches-and-Wind-198x300She 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.SBDaughters HC C.email2 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 600full-dakota-fanning 936full-elle-fanning theyquvenzhane-wallis-65th-annual-cannes-film-festival-02 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.

beautyeastgoose girl

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.

Kaz and DZ

(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.


Hooray for the Bubonic Plague! (Not really. But sort of.)

In November, middle-school students Kathryn and Jenna interviewed me for a cv_082259076Xdocumentary on the bubonic plague outbreak of the 1340s. It’s their entry for the National History Day competition, which you can read about here.  They were knowledgeable and skillful interviewers. They gave me chocolate. And now…


They have won FIRST PLACE in the local National History Day competition! Let’s have a round of applause!


Plague-victims-from-the-14th-CenturyNext, they take their documentary to the state level. And then…well, I’ll keep you posted!

Hurry Up and Wait

Look what UPS brought me this afternoon! 100_6501


The pace of publishing never fails to bewilder me. This book has been written and rewritten (and rewritten, and rewritten) over…well, over quite a long time. Between each rewrite, there was waiting. Lots and lots of waiting. I publicized Princess of the Wild Swans. I wrote other stuff. I went to Belgium for five months.


Then, suddenly, the cover was done, the manuscript was being copyedited, the galleys were proofread, and in a matter of weeks — ARCs!


Now we just have to wait until August.

Up and Running (More or Less)

I’m a person who swore she’d never blog…yet this is my third blog.

True, the first was a travel blog dedicated to a five-month period I spent in Belgium in 2012. Chocolate, waffles, and beer — did I really have a choice? And the second was just a sad little addendum to my sad little first website. But this one has its very own tab. It demands that I write something.

So…I think I’m going to use this space primarily to talk about what’s happening with my books.  If there’s something you’d like to hear about from me, please let me know. I’ll take all suggestions under advisement. But there are so many really great and useful blogs about writing already; I don’t want to add another. I’m NOT going to give writing advice or describe My Process, though I may rant occasionally about the value of the adverb. Or my opinion of people who are threatened by the term “literary fiction.” (Of course, I’m the person who swore she’d never blog, so don’t take my word for any of this. I’m a very unreliable narrator.)

At the moment, I’m in that strange in-between time with Sleeping Beauty’s Daughters when proofreading is done and ARCs are yet to arrive. A sort of literary suspended animation. So I’ll give you the gorgeous book cover, if you haven’t seen it already. Love it, love it, love it!SBDaughters HC C.web