A few weeks ago, author RG Dole tagged me in this Writing Process Blog Tour. RG is the author of a supernatural star-crossed lovers book called Immortal Longings (as a fan of The Vampire Diaries and The Originals, I hope to get to it soon!), and I’m honored she thought of me for this.
I’ve been struggling to find the time to pick up the torch, so without further ado:
What am I working on?
Damsels in Distress, the sequel to Desperately Ever After, is due out next month. It’s hard to say too much about the story because the first book is still brand new and I don’t want to give anything away! I’ll just say that Damsels in Distress continues Belle’s struggle and also adds Sleeping Beauty (Dawn) into the mix. Dawn is a background character in Book One for space reasons, but her story is actually one of my favorites. I really can’t wait for everyone to get to know her better. There are so many questions people never ask about the Sleeping Beauty tale: What kind of man would discover a comatose woman in the woods and decide to kiss her? How would she feel waking up covered in dust with a stranger’s tongue in her mouth? What if she had been in love with someone else before the curse hit? How would she reconcile her old life with her brand new existence?
After that, I’ll be diving into the third installment in the series, as well as writing my first Desperately Ever After novella. The latter will tell the story behind Grethel, the woman who took Rapunzel as a baby and kept her in that tower. There are so many minor characters in the series that I’d love to explore further, so I hope it’s the first of many side projects.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I usually describe the Desperately Ever After series as Desperate Housewives and Sex and the City meets the Brothers Grimm. It’s a whimsical take on what happened to our most beloved fairy tale princesses after true love’s kiss. It’s different because, as one blogger pointed out in June, it’s not a retelling. I didn’t want to do the standard modern recreation—where “Prince Charming” owns a Fortune 500 company, for example, and “Cinderella” works in the mail room. Instead, I wanted to continue the tales where they left off, and I wanted the characters to actually BE those princesses.
So I created a new world for them, the United Kingdoms of Marestam, and based it on New York City. Instead of boroughs, there are kingdoms. Instead of one supreme mayor, there’s a Prime Minister. And these women (some queens, one a princess, and one an infamous socialite) are the very best of friends—supporting each other, dealing with how their lives have turned out, and seeing each other through all of life’s trials and triumphs. I can’t think of anything like it on the market.
Why do I write what I write?
Desperately Ever After is the result of a Disney-obsessed kid growing up. An active imagination and tendency to over analyze everything also helped! I grew up on the happily-ever-after films, but always scrutinized how quickly the characters fell madly in love. The insinuation was that because they were physically attracted to each other, they were perfectly matched in every other way … and their lives were going to be filled with rainbows and butterflies and infinite happiness forever after.
But life just doesn’t work that way, and I wanted to know what really happened after “the end.” And more importantly, I wanted to know something that the original stories never told us—how the characters felt. What would they have said if they had the freedom to do so? If their choices weren’t marriage, poverty, or spinsterhood? If they had the luxury of deciding between the designated hero, someone else, or no man at all
How does my writing process work?
Sit with the intention of typing for hours. Get distracted. Open Word document. Decide I need more coffee. Type a few sentences. Check email. Type a bit more. Check Twitter. Take the dog for a walk. Write more … It pretty much goes like that all day.
I try to start with a basic outline, which MIGHT (if I’m lucky) last through the first draft. But by the time I come back to revise, the characters have usually come so alive in my head that they’ve taken over. I wind up rewriting entire plotlines because they’ve taken control. And when that happens, there’s only so much I can do! A few years ago, I thought it was ridiculous when authors described their characters as real people with minds of their own; but now that I’ve experienced it, I can verify that it’s true … and it’s really quite amazing.
Now, it’s my turn to point you towards two other writers worth taking a look at:
Blogger and author Mari Passananti has two very different books under her belt: The Hazards of Hunting While Heartbroken and The K Street Affair. One’s a political thriller while the other falls under women’s fiction. Can you guess which is which?
Zanna Mackenzie is the author of If You Only Knew and How Do You Spell Love, two books that I’m hoping to gobble down this summer. She’s also a dog lover, which makes her extra special in my book 😉