I would like to welcome Michelle Diener to my blog today! She was nice enough to sit down and answer a few questions about herself and her newest novel The Golden Apple!
I know you’ve just published The Golden Apple and I really want to talk about that. But first, I’d like my readers to know a little about you.
What is your favorite quality about yourself?
Thanks so much for having me, Kelsey! I think I'm a nurturer. I'm always feeding people, baking things and I get satisfaction from helping my friends.
What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life?
My two beautiful children. They are my delight and joy.
We’re going to talk about this book that you’ve written, but first, let us learn a little about how you got your start in writing.
How has your upbringing influenced your writing?
It's influenced me in the complete freedom my parents gave me to read whatever I liked. I was given full reign over my parents' library, and the local library and the school library. I read widely, and sometimes far out of my age group. That freedom fed my love of the written word and the ambition I had to write.
What do you consider the most challenging about writing a novel, or about writing in general?
One of the most challenging things is putting yourself out there. It is a lot of work, a lot of very hard work, and then, unlike most jobs, you put your work out for the whole world to look at, and they quite often offer their opinion. :) That's how it should be, but knowing that doesn't make it any easier. I've had to learn to make peace with the fact that once your work is published, whatever it is to you, it has a separate relationship with your readers, and will be different things to different people.
Okay, now we can get to talking about The Golden Apple.
Tell us about a little bit about The Golden Apple.
The Golden Apple was inspired by the fairy tale The Princess on the Glass Hill, although very loosely. It was more the almost hidden gem within the tale that drew me, because I love writing about strong female characters, and the original tale was really all about the male protagonist. But one line in the tale indicated the hero couldn't have won his fame and fortune without the help of the princess whose hand he was trying to win, and that little power switch intrigued me, and I ended up basing the whole story on that.
How did you develop your plot and characters?
I only use the plot of the original fairy tale at the very beginning of the book, as the kick-off point. Using the idea of two characters caught up in an enchantment and being forced to do something neither of them want to do, I also wove some really elemental fairy tale motifs into the tale. The dark forest, the magical things that happen to them, the enchanted creatures they meet are all drawn from years and years of reading fairy tales from all around the world. But for me, the characters were the key. Like in the fairy tale, The Princess on the Glass Hill, my heroine, Kayla, is a princess of a small kingdom. She isn't pampered and her sense of responsibility to her people is highly developed. Rane, like the hero in the original tale, has had a hard upbringing, and he's more stuck on social hierarchy than Kayla is, but they are both honorable and loyal, and they are both full of surprises.
What was the hardest part about writing this book?
I ended up writing the scenes with Kayla and Rane's brother, Soren, a number of times. I wanted to get their reactions to each other just right. For some reason, it was a hard thing to do, but after about four rewrites, I think I finally did manage to get something that felt in character and right.
Who designed the cover?
Laura Morrigan designed the cover. I had something very specific in mind, and she managed to really portray it just as I had imagined.
Have you started your next project yet? If so, can you tell us anything about it?
Yes, I'm working on the sequel to The Golden Apple right now. It's entitled The Silver Pear, and it will be out this coming fall. Readers will be able to find out what happens to Rane and Kayla next.
Do you have any specific last thoughts that you want to say to your readers?
I hope that my books can transport you into an alternative universe for a little while, which is what happens to me when I read a really good book. Nothing makes me feel like I've done a good job more than that.
BONUS FUN QUESTIONS
What is your favorite color?
What is your favorite food?
What’s your favorite place in the entire world?
I'd have to say wherever my family is.
Are you a person who makes their bed in the morning, or do you not see the point?
I make my bed. I'm a Virgo. Enough said. :)
Do you get road rage? If so, what bugs you the most about other drivers?
I hate it when people don't indicate. It's such an easy thing to do, and so arrogant not to do it. As I say to my kids when it happens, 'that person obviously thinks I can read their mind.
Michelle Diener writes historical fiction and fantasy. She was born in London, grew up in South Africa and currently lives in Australia with her husband and two children.
When she’s not writing, reading, or driving her kids from activity to activity, you can find her on her website, blogging at Magical Musings, or online at Twitter, at Google+ and Facebook.
Kayla’s world has been turned upside-down . . .
Her father has made her the prize in a deadly, impossible tournament, and Kayla has retaliated in the only way she knows how; by choosing her champion beforehand. But taking control of the outcome changes the game completely, and when the real reason behind the strange test becomes apparent, Kayla realizes not just her life, but her entire kingdom is at stake.
Rane’s honor is torn in two…
In order to save his brother, Rane will do whatever he has to–including deceive and betray a princess. He knew nothing about this tournament would be easy, but when it turns into a deeper, far more sinister game, Rane is forced to see it through to the end, or leave his brother at the mercy of their enemy.
Now their fates are entwined, and they must venture into the deep, dark forest together . . .
Kayla and Rane are bound to one another by an enchantment and Kayla’s actions. But the sorcerer forcing them to do his will may have miscalculated, because no-one comes out of the Great Forest unchanged. No-one.
The author has graciously offered an E-book of The Golden Apple (Kindle only) to one lucky reader. To enter just fill out the Rafflecopter form below. International. Ends April 10.