|Artwork copyright © 2012 by Todd Harris|
One of the questions I sometimes ask is "If you could write a sequel to any book, what would it be?" - In some ways you did this with A Hero's Guide. What was the most fun for you in writing this book?
Yes, in a way, Hero’s Guide is a sequel to four different stories — Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Rapunzel — since it takes place after all of those tales. But it’s also a completely new story unto itself — and that was the fun part. I really enjoyed taking these classic characters that most people think they know already, and moving them in unexpected directions — giving Cinderella a powerful right hook, making Prince Charming run shrieking for his life at the sight of some dwarfs, etc. It’s probably not what most readers will anticipate from these characters, but in this story, it all makes perfect sense.
Out of the 4 *Prince Charmings* - was there one of their stories that surprised you as you were writing about them? Did anyone change in unexpected ways as you wrote the story?
Before I started writing, I worked out the personalities of all the princes, crafting them from the scant tidbits of character we were given in the original fairy tales. But I never anticipated how these guys would then develop and evolve once they started interacting with one another. Sometimes I felt like I was just sitting back and watching to see what these guys did next. I wrote one scene for instance, where Duncan (Snow White’s silly little prince) asks one of his teammates to use him as a weapon — to literally throw him at an enemy. I thought to myself, “That’s insane.” But it’s totally what Duncan would have done in that moment. It was actually Gustav (Rapunzel’s big, burly prince), who surprised me the most, though. I never intended him to be a man of much emotional depth, but as the book went on, he ended up revealing more and more of his softer side. And that’s something that I never planned.
If you think back to being a child, what was the one book that seemed to be a turning point for you?
The one that hooked you into being a reader? Or the book that you kept coming back to over and over again? I was hooked on reading from the time I first cracked open Tikki Tikki Tembo. But the literary turning point for me was probably The Hobbit, which I read when I was nine. And as a kid, the books I actually re-read multiple times were the Dragonlance Chronicles by Margaret Weiss and Tracy Hickman. I was obsessed with that series. As books that were essentially Dungeons & Dragons game tie-ins, they were far, far better than they ever would have needed to be. The characters, pacing, and action scenes were awesome. And there was so much drama. It was like a fantasy soap opera in a lot of ways. Ooh, just talking about them is making me want to go find them again.
Did you always see yourself as a writer or storyteller? Or was there a moment in time when you decided "I want to be a writer"?
I was telling people I was going to be a writer ever since I was seven. The first story I remember writing was a sci-fi epic (well, epic for second grade) titled “The Space Race.” It was about a sort of Cannonball Run through the solar system. I remember one of the racers getting tangled in Saturn’s rings.
What advice would you give to children who want to someday become writers?
Embrace revision. Whatever you initially put down on paper is never going to be as good as what you come up with after re-examining and reworking every paragraph. Once you write that final line of a story, it’s so tempting to sit back and say, “I’m done!” But if you do, you’re not bringing your story to its full potential. Think of your first draft as a cupcake — even if it’s a moist, delicious cupcake to begin with, isn’t it going to be so much better after you ice it?
If you could show up in any book as a character, what book would it be and who would you be?
I don’t know. Is there a book set in a magical land where nothing dark and sinister is going on? Where everybody is happy and there’s no evil menace threatening to destroy the world? Maybe some unwritten Lord of the Rings sequel where nothing happens except the hobbits drinking tea, having second breakfasts, and telling each other stories.
I noticed that A Hero's Guide is the first in a series. Do you have any idea how many books we can look forward to reading in the series?
There will be at least three. I’m in the fabulously fun and exciting process of revising the second book right now.
Some of us really nerdy book lovers have multiple "to-be read" bookstacks around our homes. Do you care to share what is in your bookstack or even a picture of your "TBR" pile?
My entire house is a TBR pile. I seriously don’t think I could make it through all of these books in a lifetime, especially since I keep adding new ones. But here’s the stack that is currently next in line (though it’s very likely several new titles will slip in between these as I read).
Don't Forget to stop by Walden Pond Press and check out all of the Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom Blog Tour stops.
Here is a chance to listen to The Hero's Guide prologue:
For more information about author, Christopher Healy: Website | Facebook | Twitter
Check out the book tour stops, just in case Christopher Healy is going to be in your home town in the next week.
The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom Giveaway:
One lucky teacher or librarian has the opportunity to win a complimentary 30 to 45 minute skype visit with Christopher Healy for his or her classroom or library and two copies of The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom with signed bookplates for your school/classroom library.
The Contest will run from Friday, May 4th to Friday, May 11th at 11:59 p.m. Pacific time.
You are welcome to leave comments in the comments section but to enter the giveaway, please complete the entry form below.