Welcome to the first day of #14Debuts, all about great 2014 YA debuts and their amazing authors! Stay tuned for guest posts, interview, dream casts and some great giveaways. Today I’m featuring:
Queen of Hearts by Colleen OakesPublication Date: February 14, 2014 Publisher: SparkPress
A Father’s Betrayal. A Kingdom with a Black Secret. A Princess Slowly Unraveling.
As Princess of Wonderland Palace and the future Queen of Hearts, Dinah’s days are an endless monotony of tea, tarts, and a stream of vicious humiliations at the hands of her father, the King of Hearts. The only highlight of her days is visiting Wardley, her childhood best friend, the future Knave of Hearts — and the love of her life.
When an enchanting stranger arrives at the Palace, Dinah watches as everything she’s ever wanted threatens to crumble. As her coronation date approaches, a series of suspicious and bloody events suggests that something sinister stirs in the whimsical halls of Wonderland. It’s up to Dinah to unravel the mysteries that lurk both inside and under the Palace before she loses her own head to a clever and faceless foe.
I seriously need to read the Splintered series by A.G. Howard. I NEED it. But while I’m on my Alice in Wonderland-like run, I guess I’ll pick up Julie Kagawa and head to the Nevernever and explore Queen of Hearts with Colleen Oakes.
Interview + Dream Cast
Who and what inspired Queen of Hearts?
I was driving to meet a friend at the mall (honestly, I only go there like once a year, just so this doesn’t sound ridiculous) and the idea just popped into my head. I had been thinking about Alice in Wonderland, and the Queen, and I think the thought that started it all was “Why is the Queen of Hearts so angry all the time?” I had wanted to venture into fantasy and a more serious story than the Elly in Bloom series was giving me, and once the idea hit I couldn’t stop thinking about it. By the time I made it to California Pizza Kitchen, I had already figured out the characters. I grabbed a napkin and began mapping out a plot. When I actually started researching, I stumbled across a quote from Lewis Carroll describing The Queen as “an embodiment of blind fury”. At that moment, I knew I would write it and when I did, it would be a story of love denied on an epic scale.
In the preface of the book you quote Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Was it a love for Lewis Carroll’s book that led you to write about Dinah?
While I do love Alice in Wonderland, I would say that my complete fall into that world happened when I was writing the book. Now I’m deep into the mythos of that world and that book, which was so wonderful to revisit as an adult as I prepared to write Queen.
How dark is the twist on Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland?
It’s pretty dark, and at times macabre and gruesome. I would say that those are among my favorite parts to write. There is a twisted part of me that loves to be a little bit terrified and a little bit dark without going too far over the edge. Movies like Coraline, Sleepy Hollow and The Others are just my cup of tea because they creep but not scare – and I think that’s my approach to the darker side of things. I wanted a distinctly dark fairy tale in the style of Lewis Carroll’s original vision.
Some of the imagery in the book reminds me of watching the Disney movie Alice in Wonderland as a child. Did the movie play any role in the development of your story?
That was a strange area for me – did I even consider the movie when I was writing the book, especially considering how vastly different they are? In the end I decided to embrace both the political satire that is Carroll’s book and the whimsy of the Disney movie and the culture that has come with that film.
It’s a toss-up between the Harry Potter series and The Song of Fire and Ice Saga by George R.R Martin. Both were epic reads that completely transported me into another world and made a drooling fan-girl out of this otherwise mature woman.
Tell us why readers will enjoy your new release.I believe that Queen of Hearts is different than any other fairy tale retelling out there, simply because it’s the story of a princess who became a villain. We are going to see a girl being very, very bad and very, very heroic. I think that prism of her character will attract readers who are looking for a little bit more dimension in their characters and in their Wonderland. What is your favorite motivational writing quote? For writing, I really have two favorite quotes. The first is “Hold the vision, trust the process.” I repeat this to myself daily, even when it feels like I am writing really slow. The other is by Stephen King: “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all else: read a lot and write a lot.”