Today we’ve got the author of The Stepsister’s Tale on the blog to talk to us about the challenges she had while writing this book, then you can enter to win! 😉
What really happened after the clock struck midnight?
Jane Montjoy is tired of being a lady. She's tired of pretending to live up to the standards of her mother's noble family-especially now that the family's wealth is gone and their stately mansion has fallen to ruin. It's hard enough that she must tend to the animals and find a way to feed her mother and her little sister each day. Jane's burden only gets worse after her mother returns from a trip to town with a new stepfather and stepsister in tow. Despite the family's struggle to prepare for the long winter ahead, Jane's stepfather remains determined to give his beautiful but spoiled child her every desire.
When her stepfather suddenly dies, leaving nothing but debts and a bereaved daughter behind, it seems to Jane that her family is destined for eternal unhappiness. But a mysterious boy from the woods and an invitation to a royal ball are certain to change her fate...
From the handsome prince to the evil stepsister, nothing is quite as it seems in Tracy Barrett's stunning retelling of the classic Cinderella tale.
Guest Post by Tracy Barrett
The biggest challenges of writing this book
The Stepsister’s Tale took me a long, long time to write. I think that from the time I started it to the time when I signed the publishing contract was seven years! I don’t mean that I wrote all day, every day for seven years, though—I’d write for a while and hit a snag and put it away for a few months, and then take it out and delete a lot of it and write some more and hit another snag. Finally, with help from my agent, Lara Perkins, I managed to whip it into shape and get it submitted to Annie Stone, my editor at Harlequin TEEN, who identified some of the things I hadn’t been able to fix earlier and gave me guidance about how to make them better.
It’s hard to identify the single biggest challenge to writing this story. I can identify three, though, that really got in my way:
1. One of the hardest things was making sure that Jane stayed front and center. Isabella kept trying to steal Jane’s thunder and get all the attention, so I had to remind myself that this was Jane’s story, not Isabella’s. Cinderella has already had her turn! Jane had to have as rich an inner life as any Cinderella who’s ever been written about or filmed, and as many dreams, as many difficulties to go through, as much triumph.
2. Since I don’t know of any version of the story (and believe me, I’ve read a lot of them) where Cinderella is anything other than good and sweet and put-upon and I had decided to write a counterpoint to that, I kept making her worse and worse until she was positively demonic! I had to pull back and make her human—a bit spoiled, perhaps, and sometimes bratty, but not evil. Lara was especially helpful in identifying ways to do this.
3. The challenge that made me get stuck the longest was near the end. If Cinderella isn’t the main character and if she doesn’t behave in a way that makes her deserve to live happily ever after, why does she get to marry the handsome prince? This was a problem that took me a long time to break through. The answer came to me, as many answers to this kind of problem tend to do, as I was falling asleep. (Don’t worry—no spoilers!) When I woke up, I wrote the ending.
About the Author
Tracy Barrett is the award-winning author of several books for young readers, including the Sherlock Files books, King of Ithaka, Cold in Summer and Anne of Byzantium. Her books have been named an ALA Best Book for young adults, a Bank Street best children’s book of the year, and a New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age, among many other honors. She is a professor of Italian language and civilization at Vanderbilt University and lives with her family in Nashville, Tennessee.
This post is part of The Stepsister’s Tale blog tour.
Monday, June 9th – Fiktshun (Character Interview)
Tuesday, June 10th – Harlequin Blog
Wednesday, June 11th – Xpresso Reads (Guest Post)
Friday June 13th – About To Read (Guest Post)
Monday, June 16th – The Irish Banana (Author Interview)
Tuesday, June 17th – On The Verge (Author Interview)
Wednesday, June 18th – Refracted Light Reviews (Guest Post)
Friday June 20th – The Book Cellar (Guest Post)
Thanks to Harlequin Teen and Kismet Book Tours, you can enter to win a copy of The Stepsister’s Tale.
There is also a grand prize of a HarlequinTEEN Goodie Bag, all entries into the daily giveaways on each tour stop count towards the grand prize!
- Open to US and Canada only
- Full contest terms and conditions found on Rafflecopter