You'll remember a couple of posts ago I participated in a cover reveal for Kirsten Fichter's upcoming book, The Rose and the Balloon. Well, now I'm back with an author interview! I'm always a fan of fairy tale retellings, so I was pleased to get the chance to ask Kirsten about hers. (Also, I was totally supposed to post this yesterday, but my family is in the middle of moving and I completely forgot. Arrgh)
What was your inspiration for The Rose and the Balloon?
The first spark of inspiration was Rooglewood's Beauty and the Beast contest. From there, it all barreled downhill as I plotted and began writing. I completed the tale in 18,000 words and with plenty of time left to enter it in the contest... and I forgot to send it in. And then I didn't remember about it until 5 or so days after the contest closed. Not exactly the happily ever after that most authors imagine, but that's what happened.
What do you think makes it different from other Beauty and the Beast retellings?
Most Beauty and the Beast retellings, I feel, are darker in tone, and focus a lot on the Beast's curse. I wanted something that still tasted like Beauty and the Beast, but was much lighter. Even though I was obstinate on writing it without magic (another thing that I think is not usual to most retellings), I didn't originally plan to put a slight steampunk twist into it. In the end, I completed an upside-down and backwards retelling that starts off with the Beast's mother destroying the roses of Beauty's father and then offering her son's hand in marriage to make up for it.
How long did it take you to write The Rose and the Balloon?
Not very long. If I remember correctly, it only took about 2 or 3 months to finish the first draft, and then I spent another month or so later on editing and polishing and fleshing out scenes.
Which character do you relate to the most?
Probably Janelle. She loves her father a lot, but she still is pretty stubborn. As a side story, my boyfriend read the tale and then asked me if I wrote it based on our relationship because I acted the same way to him that Janelle acts toward the Beast. That wasn't intentional, considering that I wrote The Rose and the Balloon a year and a half before I met my boyfriend, but I still think it's funny. Janelle is like me in too many ways. Particularly in the stubborn category.
What do you hope your readers take away most from reading the story?
The Rose and the Balloon isn't meant to be a deep story. I wrote it mainly for fun, and to also make a few jabs at the beloved Disney film. However, there are some deeper, hopefully thought-provoking themes woven throughout the story on the topics of selfishness and true love. While I don't believe this tale will change the world, I do hope that readers will find it a clean and upside-down Beauty and the Beast story that they can enjoy.
Thank you so much, Kirsten! I can't wait to get a chance to pick up The Rose and the Balloon. And for all you readers out there, the book is available on Amazon.