Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Interview With Heather Dixon

Today I interviewed one of my favorite authors of all time, Heather Dixon. I find it sad that she doesn't have all the fame she deserves. I absolutely adored her book, Entwined. (You guys must have liked the review, it is the second most popular review on this blog!) Anyway, check out the interview and watch the trailer for her new book, Illusionarium, out this May!

NOTE: She is extremely gorgeous and could cause fainting, squealing, evil pangs of jealousy, shattered mirrors, crying, or obsessed staring at this screen for several hours. 


Why did you choose the twelve dancing princesses? What is your favorite fairytale besides that one?

I've always loved the Twelve Dancing Princesses.  I remember looking through page after page of a beautifully illustrated storybook when I was a kid, and just wishing I could live in their world.  So, the visual element just really stuck for me.  

I also have, like, a million sisters. :D

Some of my other favorite fairy tales are Cinderella and the Seven Swans, because those characters are so selfless.  I really admire that.

Who was your least favorite character to write about and why did you dislike them?

I liked writing all the characters, but I will admit, I had a hard time writing the scenes where Azalea and her father were fighting--particularly when he gets back from the war, and he wants to mend everything, and they're being so bratty and unforgiving.  That was difficult.

Does Mr. Bradford have a first name?

Hahaha.  Of all the questions people ask me, this is the one I hear the most!  Yes, he does.  It's William :) (Cue Sarah's internal screaming!!!!!! Ship name: Azaliam?)

What do you think are the pros and cons of doing retellings, where you already have the basic storyline to start from?

I think the biggest pro of doing a retelling is that the structure and idea is already there--now you just need to build on it.  That really give a jump start into the story.  On the other hand, if it's a popular story you're retelling, a lot of readers may be purists and have a hard time with how you've elaborated on it.  So there's definitely good and bad to both.

What was, in your opinion, the best new element added in Entwined that was not in the twelve dancing princesses?

You know, I think the theme of forgiveness, and the element of the girls vs. their father goes really well with this story.  I also liked the Victorian element--dancing was so huge in that era, and being in Mourning gave the princesses a sympathetic reason to break the rules.


What, in a nutshell, is this exactly about?
Illusionarium is a story about inner compasses.  If a person doesn't consistently point north, they'll veer into southerly darkness.  in the story, Jonathan, who is 16-years-old, has to find a cure for his dying mother and sister within 6 days.  He becomes so desperate, he resorts to doing morally questionable things--like stealing, and breaking a prisoner out of her cell.  

Eventually, he ends up in an alternate London where--like him--the civilization refused to always point north, and now everything is falling apart.  Jonathan can either play along with their games in order to get the cure, or do what he knows is right--even if it means death.

Is it similar to Entwined in any way? What different aspects of writing did you get to explore?

It's both similar and very different.  Like Entwined, it takes place in the Victorian era, and it has a similar wry sense of humor.  Family is the drive of the story.  But unlike Entwined, it doesn't have much romance.  Instead, there's a lot more action, adventure, & monsters.  I think people who liked the humor and characters in Entwined will probably like Illusionarium for those same reasons.

What is one of your favorite scenes in the book?

I love the scenes where Jonathan is fighting with Lockwood, an airship lieutenant who's about Jonathan's age.  At the first of the book, they hate each other and are at the jugular.  Eventually, they have to put their issues aside and fight the baddies together.

Every scene with Lieutenant Lockwood is a whole lot of fun.  He steals the show.

This is from a male perspective, whereas Entwined was from a female. Is it more challenging or easier to write from the POV from the opposite gender of yourself? What did you have to do to make sure the POV sounded more convincing?

It was a definite challenge!  Thankfully a lot of the guys I work with, who also have excellent story sense, were willing to read and give me some tough feedback through the writing process.  I described clothes waaay too much, and weapons not enough.  And I often spent too much time on feelings, and not enough time on action.  Which of course was great for me to learn as I revised.  More importantly than writing from just a guy's POV, though, I had to write from Jonathan's POV.  That was a great experience.  He's a funny, good-natured character who gets the holy tar beat out of him.  Time after time, he pulls himself up again to fight the baddies for the sake of his family and friends.  He's really a selfless character.  I enjoyed spending time in his head.

Favorite quote or a teaser quote?

Here's one.  Jonathan and his father are discussing fantillium, a chemical that causes shared hallucinations:

"It causes acedia," my father said.
"It means," said my father, "it dulls the conscience."
I paused.  I hadn't noticed that.  I'd felt more alive with the chemical in my blood--lights were brighter, sounds were clearer.  The lab even smelled sharper.  I hadn't really paid attention to much else.

Is there anything you are particularly nervous about as this book is getting into the world? Why?
Yes.  I'm concerned that it won't reach the audience I wrote it for.  The publisher has chosen to market it for the same audience as Entwined, and I don't think those readers will like it as much!  But I'm taking steps to get Illusionarium to the people who will.

Illusionarium Book Trailer: 


-Her blog: (It is hilarious. The only author blog I regularly visit.) http://story-monster.blogspot.com
-Preorder Illusionarium on Amazon by clicking here.
- Order Entwined on Amazon by clicking here.

1 comment:

  1. These covers are absolutely gorgeous! (: Thank you for sharing! I'll have to pick up these books sometime. (: So much to read, so little time!!

    New follower via GFC and Bloglovin! Found your blog through the blogger lift page on Goodreads. (:

    Pearl @ AsteriskPearl's Book Blog


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