Book Giveaway and Author Interview with Diane Zahler

Interview with Diane Zahler

Can you tell us a little about your new novel, A True Princess?

A True Princess is loosely based on the Hans Christian Andersen tale “The Princess and the Pea,” and its dangerous elves were inspired by Goethe’s poem “The Erl-King.”  It’s the story of Lilia, a girl brought up by a shepherd and his family. She leaves the farm to travel north to find her family, and her two friends, Kai and Karina, make the trip with her. Their journey takes them through the dark and dangerous Bitra Forest, where they stumble into the kingdom of the evil Elf-King and his beautiful daughter. When Kai is taken prisoner by the elves, Lilia knows that she must find a way to save him. Her quest takes her to a castle in search of a magical jewel – but another search is taking place at the castle, a search for a true princess.

Were you a fan of fairy tales as a child?  What is your favorite?

File:Yellow Fairy Book 1894.jpg
The Yellow Fairy Book, 1st Edition 1894

I loved fairy tales and fantasy. I read all the Andrew Lang fairy tale collections — the Yellow Book of Fairy Tales, the Red Book, the Blue Book – if there had been a Puce or Vermillion Book, I’d have read those! “The Twelve Dancing Princesses,” which inspired my first novel, The Thirteenth Princess, was always one of my favorite stories.

Have you learned anything about yourself through your characters?

When writing both The Thirteenth Princess and A True Princess, I reacquainted myself with the girl I had been when I first discovered fairy tales. That girl craved magic in her own life and found it in the books she read. I realized that the longing for magic has never really left me. Now, though, I can find magic not only in the books I read but in the books I write.

What has been the most challenging aspect of writing the book?  Was it difficult to re-imagine “The Princess and the Pea” to fit in with how you visualized the story?

A True Princess was the first book I’ve been able to write without having to stop to do other projects. I found the story flowed very easily – though that’s not to say it didn’t have to be revised. And re-revised! The story only uses “The Princess and the Pea” as a jumping-off point: it also includes Nordic myth, heroic falcons, fierce wolves, a dog who was based on my own dog, and a touch of romance. I’m a fan of heroines who take charge of their own destinies, and Lilia does just that. As the story begins, she doesn’t know who she is or where she is going, but as her quest progresses she discovers more than that: she learns the extent of her own strength.

Can you share a few details about your next project?

I’ve finished a third fairy-tale novel called Princess of the Wild Swans. It’s based on “The Wild Swans,” a story that both the Grimm Brothers and the Hans Christian Andersen treated. Watch for it in 2012! And I’m hard at work on a fourth novel, also based on a fairy tale.

Bookscoops Giveaway Details

The lucky winner will receive one hardcover copy of A True Princess, courtesy of Harper Collins. This giveaway ends on February 19, 2011 at 11:59 pm, mountain standard time and is only available to people living in the United States.

To enter the giveaway you may:

  1. Leave a comment about your favorite memory of reading fairytales for one entry.
  2. Write a blog post about our author interview and giveaway and tell us about it in a comment for one entry.
  3. Leave a comment about what you like most about our interview with Diane Zahler for one entry.
  4. Leave a comment on Holly’s review of A True Princess for one entry. Comments already posted will be automatically entered.
  5. Post about our author interview and giveaway on Facebook or Tweet about it, and tell us about it in a comment for one entry each.
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18 thoughts on “Book Giveaway and Author Interview with Diane Zahler

  1. I’m so excited for the release of this book, I have a little bookworm who will read in one day, and fantasies are her favorite! What I liked most about the interview was hearing all of the elements that Diane combined to come up with the story, it sounds really interesting.

  2. Holly, many thanks for hosting me, and for doing such a great job with the interview as well as for your wonderful review.
    Candice, I’m glad you liked the interview — I really hope you & your bookworm enjoy A TRUE PRINCESS!

  3. Sounds like a book we would enjoy!

    One memory that comes to mind is discovering the original Cinderella storyline — stepsisters cutting off their toes and heels… birds exacting revenge at the end. Quite shocking!

    Thanks for bringing us the interview! I love the idea of getting reacquainted with our childhood selves. What a wonderful idea.

    All best!

  4. The original fairy tales are full of those strange and violent details. There’s a version of Sleeping Beauty in which the princess awakens, marries her prince, has two children — and then her mother-in-law, an ogre, tries to eat the kids!

  5. Speaking of strange details, remember in Ali Baba and the forty thieves when an intruder in the “open sesame” cave got cut up into pieces by the thieves, and was sewn back together by some one? Ugh! And don’t you think it’s sad that the real little mermaid story has the little mermaid die since she wouldn’t kill her true love, even though he decided not to marry her and so, betrayed her? So sad! (sniffle)
    I really like that twisting fairy tales together to make a new one. Shannon Hale did that in Rapunzel’s Revenge and Calamity Jack.

  6. My favorite story is the Princess and the Pea. My favorite part is when the prince goes and looks for a true princess.

  7. Candice- I hope your little bookworm gets to read this book soon! It’s a wonderful fantasy, I’m sure she’ll enjoy since she likes that genre!
    Diane- You are so welcome! It’s been a pleasure getting to know you and hosting you here at Bookscoops!
    Z-Dad- So glad you stopped by, and yes, I do remember when I first found out that Cinderella’s step sisters cut off toes to try to fit the slippers in. I remember thinking that my feet were bigger than my sisters, so if a prince did come looking and cared about shoe size, I’d be out of luck. Unless I wanted to do some serious foot chopping.
    Diane- That version of Sleeping Beauty sounds like something from Shrek- only with ogres acting like ogres ‘supposedly’ really act.
    Erica- You sound well versed in Fairy tales. It is fun to read ‘twisted’ or re-told fairytales and see how contemporary authors breathe new life and magic into old tales. I have especially enjoyed Daine Zahler’s and Shannon Hales. Since you like Shannon Hale, you should be sure to check out The Thirteenth Princess as well as this one!
    Serena- Have you ever seen the modern Princess and the Pea play? It is hilarious when the whole court takes the pots and pans out from under the bed that they had hidden there in order for the test to work right on the person they felt was the best princess. I’m glad that we have such fun fairytales to read. Thanks for stopping by

    Remember comments are open throughout the week- so spread the word for more chances to win!!

  8. I thought it was interesting that she said it was easier to write when she didn’t have other things to interrupt her. I think I would find it hard to write no matter what!

  9. I want to check out the 13th princess! It sounds awesome! Ya know, i watched the “12 dancing princesses” the one Disney created and when i read the “real” story, i was amazed!

  10. I love books that are a journey of self discovery as well as a great adventure. I like how Diane says her character Lilia learns the “extent of her own strength.” Sounds very appealing and I can’t wait to read this book.

  11. I was tweeting away on twitter trying to find something to cure my boredom – and BOOM – someone I follow tweeted this post. Now, I am not quite as bored. Thanks for posting nice material

  12. I love the idea of this book. It will be a must read for me…and the kiddos in my life. I’m going to have to say my favorite fairy tale memory took place last year in an inner-city Kindergarten classroom. We’d just finished a version of Goldilocks and the Three Bears that ended with Goldilocks getting caught in Baby Bear’s bed and jumping out the window to get away. We asked the kids what they thought happened to Goldilocks when she jumped out the window. Five and six year olds have the BEST imaginations. We got answers from “she ran home crying to her momma and never went to the bear’s house again” to “the Popo [slang for police] picked her up and took her to juvie [slang for juvenile detention if you are as unaware of these words as I want when I started working with these kids]”. I’ll never read Goldilocks again without thinking of these kids and their alternative endings.

  13. Hi all!

    Thanks for all your comments and interest. There is still time left to submit additional entries if you know anyone else who might be interested. I’ve enjoyed reading all your comments and am getting excited to announce the giveaway. I received an email asking how we choose a winner, so I thought I would let you all know. When the contest ends at midnight tonight, the comments will be closed. Then, in the next few days, I will tally up the number of entries per person, number them, and plug the numbers into a random number generator. I will then post the winner here, and email the winner for contact information.

    Best of luck and happy commenting!

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