Friday, May 23, 2014

Mirror Mirror on the Wall...

Hello all! I hope you have all had positively magical weeks thus far! 

I do have just a couple of quick reminders before we dive into today's post. For all of you in the Boise area, I will be having a book signing on Friday, June 13th at Hyde Park Books!

Also, I just started a new mini-blog called Case (Un)Managed about life in the social work and helping professions fields that is being updated approximately every other day!

This week we are joined by David Meredith and his book "The Reflections of Queen Snow White."

David Meredith's "The Reflections of Queen Snow White" is an interesting and fresh take on a familiar story. 

Set years after the events that we all know from our childhood Disney retelling of the classic fairytale, readers find Snow White looking back and facing her life in a revealing way. Meredith portrays a much deeper character than the singing, frolicking, conversing with woodland creatures one that most people picture when Snow White's name is mentioned. 

The book takes readers on a tour of Snow White's past, exploring her relationships with the dwarves, her subjects and especially Prince Charming in a real and emotional way. I particularly appreciated that Meredith did not portray Snow White as a perfect princess, in his work she definitely has her human flaws.

I also found it interesting that the author painted Snow White's marriage to Prince Charming as an almost political move. While the story is still romantic, it does bring a different edge to it.

This dramatic account as Snow White looks deep into herself from the very mirror that was used by her enemy will keep readers turning pages. Fans of the mini-series "The Tenth Kingdom" and the T.V. show "Grimm" will love this book.

And here is what the author has to say for himself!

When did you start writing and what prompted that start? 

I guess I’ve always had a little bit of the writing bug. As far back as elementary school I was writing stories on notebook paper in pencil and binding them together with marker-decorated shirt boards. 
I wrote a lot of crappy fan-fic and horribly cliché poetry in middle school and high school and I certainly wouldn’t want anyone to see any of that early work now, but those were important steps in developing as a writer. 

I guess the reason I have pursued it for so long though is that I’ve always felt like I had these stories bubble up inside my brain that needed to come out – things that would stay stuck in my head until I got them down onto paper. I think what finally convinced me to publish though was frustration. 
I had written several other novels before "The Reflections of Queen Snow White," but gotten nowhere with traditional publishing. I had gotten into this pattern of submitting my materials, waiting for months, and then getting yet another form rejection letter. When I did get feedback it was generally good. The few editors who took the time to write me a personalized response seemed to like my work, it just wasn't what they were looking for - didn't fit neatly into their predetermined slots. 

I decided to publish my work myself and take it directly to the public and so far, it has worked out well - "The Reflections of Queen Snow White" is closing in on 100 ratings on Goodreads and enjoys a 4.04 star average. 

Why did you choose Snow White as the focus for your book? 

On the one hand, I realize she might seem a little cliché at first glance - after all the Disney version of Snow White is iconic and there have been countless riffs and re-tellings. She is one of the first characters we think of when we hear the words "faerie tale princess". Who doesn't know Snow White? 

However, I felt like the intimate familiarity we all have with her really helps the reader connect to her older self. Much like an old friend I haven't seen in years, I sill care about her. Also, in reading the original Grimm faerie tale, there is a lot of really interesting darkness that I've tapped into for The Reflections of Queen Snow White. I think it helps elevate the level of drama and emotion in the story. 
You spent nearly a decade teaching English in Japan. Did you experience a sort of reverse-culture shock on your return to the United States? 

I Might Be The 8th Dwarf
 I did actually. In fact, the reverse culture shock was worse than the culture shock I experienced after I got to Japan. I think that might have been because I wasn't expecting the reverse culture shock, but there were lots of adjustments I had to make when I moved back to the US for good. 

For one thing, people struck me as being really loud and rude when I first returned, because I had gotten so used to the more reserved Japanese communication style. Also, I was amazed by the number of really large people I saw everywhere. Obesity is relatively rare in Japan. 

Probably the most difficult thing, though was that I had just gone through this amazing, life altering experience, gotten a more expansive view of the world and my place in it, and as a consequence really scrutinized and reevaluated many of the core beliefs and attitudes I had held before I left, but everyone who had been close to me - friends, family, old acquaintances - expected me to be exactly the same. 

I had moved forward and changed, but they had stayed the same. I still cared about them of course, but I had a lot of trouble relating to them like I had before. That was actually kind of sad and a little traumatic - some of those relationships never quite as close as they had once been. 

What was your favorite part of this book to write? 

In terms of what I found the most fun, I think it is the sequence when Charming is forced to mediate a truly stupid dispute between one of his nobles and one of Snow White's nobles. Without giving too much away, I'll just say that it works as a good break in the drama (a little comic relief), and was a lot of fun to write. 

In terms of what I think is the most impactful writing, I really like the funeral sequence. I think it vividly illuminates Snow White's mental state and is intensely relatable to anyone who has gone through a similar experience of loss and grief. 

Did you find yourself struggling to create a magic mirror with a personality? 

I don't think I struggled really, but I did give it some careful thought. The mirror in both the Disney version as well as the Grimm Faerie Tale is not developed very much as a character, but at the same time comes off as something sinister. I wanted the mirror to play a more proactive role in "The Reflections of Queen Snow White," but at the same time come off as less villainous. 

I suppose I view the mirror simply as a tool - a powerful tool, but still just a tool, the impact of which is determined by the intentions of the user. Just like a knife can be a good when you use it to cut up food for dinner, it can be an evil if you use it to stab someone to death, but the knife itself is really neither good nor evil. It's just a knife. 

In much the same way, I envisioned the mirror as being neutral and even a little sympathetic. After all, it was misused for years and secreted away by a narcissistic sociopath then abandoned in a storage room for decades more. In a way, you could argue that the mirror is just as abused as Snow White. 

I had a soundtrack playing in my head for much of this book. Was there any music in particular that inspired you? 

For this novel, nothing in particular, but I will admit to listening to a whole lot of movie sound tracks on Pandora as I wrote it. I think I tended to gravitate toward epic scores - for example the music of Braveheart, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, etc. 

If you had to decide which of the fairytale step-mothers or adoptive mothers (of which there were a prolific amount) was the most evil, who would you choose?
Snow White's is pretty bad. After all, in the original Grimm story she not only tells the huntsman to bring Snow White's heart back in a box to prove that she is dead, but also directs him to bring back her lungs and liver so that the queen can have them cooked and served to her for dinner. 

I do make it clear that she is horribly abusive and self-absorbed, but I don't think I take Arglist quite that far in "The Reflections of Queen Snow White." Even though she is admittedly a horrible human being, I also try to help the reader understand her insecurities and motivations to better comprehend her obsession with Snow White. 

If you're interested in "The Reflections of Queen Snow White" it can be found on  Amazon.

As always, you can find me on FacebookTwitter (@AllisonHawn) and Goodreads

No comments:

Post a Comment