Carey: One of my most favorite YA reads of this year was the quirky, imaginative story Robin in the Hood by Diane J. Reed. In addition to being a kick-ass author, Diane has interviewed numerous Once Upon A Time cast members about the hit show-which is so cool! I’m thrilled to have her here today to talk fairy tales and fandom.
CC: We always start with the same curiosity: What book spoke to you most during your teen years?
DJR: I loved so many books! But I have to say my favorite was When the Legends Die by Hal
|Visit Diane: www.banditsranch.com|
CC: Do you have a book (or books) that you reread regularly? If yes, what book and why?
DJR: One book I read regularly is Blackbird House by Alice Hoffman. This particular book is a collection of short stories and her lyrical writing is exquisite! She's truly a master of the craft. She also delves into the waters of magic realism and I LOVE how she depicts the mysterious & magical aspects of life that sometimes we can only sense through the quiet whispers of our spirits. She's also the author of Practical Magic—a hugely fun book about witches, written long before the current paranormal craze, and it was made into a fantastic movie! I believe I've watched that film 100 times, and I even designed my kitchen after the one in the film. Can you spell O-B-S-E-S-S-E-D? Did somebody mention "spells"? ; )
CC: What YA novel or novels have you read recently that you most want all your friends to read?
DJR: I came awfully late to this party, but I adore Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl! It's just so beautifully written and I love the teen narrator Ethan Wate's insights into life. I also really enjoyed Maid of Secrets by Jennifer McGowan with its wonderfully smart spy heroines and Doon by Carey Corp & Lorie Langdon with its unique blend of magic & history that impacts present-day teens.
CC: Aww – thanks for the DOON shout out! What made you want to write teen fiction? Is there any link to the stories you read growing up?
DJR: I simply love the vulnerability and need for courage that all teens experience. It's an amazing, magical time where you're deciding who you really are and who you want to become—and that takes GUTS! You can wimp out and put one foot after the other by following the life that may have been "prescribed" for you, OR you can dig down deep, search your soul, and go against the grain. It's a perilous age for everyone and I love examining the choices people make. One book that really influenced me growing up was National Velvet by Enid Bagnold about a teen girl who poses as a boy so she can enter her horse in the most dangerous steeplechase race on earth: The Grand National. Many jockeys and horses have died in that race, but she refuses to let anything stop her. Like The Hunger Games, every time I read a book about teens who muster up extraordinary bravery, I'm hooked!
CC: Tell us about ROBIN IN THE HOOD. Where did the inspiration for this story come from?
DJR: Yowza—believe it or not, I once held a job in a juvenile detention program that was the last stop for teen boys before they turned 18 and faced decades in prison for federal crimes. We're not
CC: How closely does Robin in the Hood mirror the original Robin Hood story?
DJR: Robin in the Hood is meant to tread lightly within fairy tale territory, but also to mix it up a little & provide a more modern, "edgy" feel to the legend. So instead of Robin being a guy, I decided to depict the character as teenage girl who makes the decision to rob from the rich to give to the poor. And most certainly I was playing with the Sherwood Forest concept when I created Bender Lake—a boondocks haven for those who are running from the law as well as their exes! Also, the motley group of characters who appear at Turtle Shores Trailer Park mimic Robin Hood's band of Merry Men outlaws in a comedic way. But unlike the original Robin Hood, who is an expert marksman and always noble of purpose, my Robin steals out of desperation at first, but then begins to develop a real heart for the unfortunate people around her that galvanizes her into more noble endeavors.
CC: Both your YA and adult books are modern day fairy tales. Why do you suppose fairytales continue to be so popular?
DJR: Because they're TRUE! You can often tell "soul truths" in fairy tales that you somehow can't quite comprehend any other way because life is so complicated and mysterious. For example, I read an archaic version of Cinderella recently where one of the stepsisters cut off her big toe to fit into the glass slipper. The prince thought she was the real deal & hoisted her onto his horse for a ride back to the castle—but she left a trail of blood behind her the entire way. NOTE TO SELF: If you're dating someone who leaves a trail of blood in their wake, no matter how much they try to smooth talk you, they're NOT the real deal! I love how fairy tales aren't afraid to illuminate the dark recesses of the human spirit as well as the noble victories.
CC: You are very active in the ONCE UPON A TIME (OUAT) fandom. Tell us a little about what that’s like?
DJR: You know, I sort of fell into it. I loved the show and began following @OnceUponAFan on twitter as a result. The creator of the fansite, Gareth Hughes, later asked me if I would like to write a couple of articles on the origins of fairy tales for the website, which I thought would be fun. He liked my work and when the occasion arose, he asked me if I would mind interviewing the cast & creators of the show. Of course I said yes! From there it snowballed and to date I've done 11 interviews with the cast & writers of ABC's hit show Once Upon a Time. I'm hoping to do interviews for their new spin-off Wonderland this fall as well : )
CC: Do you have a favorite OUAT character or storyline?
DJR: Well who couldn't love the enduring battle between Regina, played by Lana Parilla, and Rumpelstiltskin, played by Robert Carlyle? The actors are SUPERB and I think I could happily watch them read the phone book! Every second they are on screen is a thrill for me. So talented : )
CC: We’ve got a lot of aspiring authors visiting our blog. Would you share with them your path to publication? (And any words of encouragement would be great additions *s*)
DJR: My biggest advice is to just start writing and get your books out there as fast as you can to start building platform and fans. Don't wait for traditional New York publishers to "approve" of you or your teachers or mother to say it's good enough—go Indie if you have to. You'd be stunned at how much audience you can gain if you work hard, constantly refine your craft, and go for it! The real test of how worthy your work is comes down to the readers who are eager for more. Get out there on Wattpad or write for fansites, or better yet, load up your work on Kindle and sell it. Somewhere out there are hearts that are willing to read your stories. Be bold, be confident, and keep writing!
CC: What’s next for you?
DJR: I just finished a fun & irreverent fairy tale book for children called The Boys Who Farted and Flew (because sometimes magic gets stinky ; ). I'm now working on the sequel to Robin in the Hood where Robin and her boyfriend Creek go to Venice in search of her long-lost mother.
About Diane J. Reed: I was the kind of teen who hitchhiked her way out of church camp to go play pool with strangers, then picked the cutest guy to go make out on the beach. Since that time, I moved to the Rocky Mountains & I write books that are infused with enchantment, where characters dare to break through boundaries and believe in true love. I have a soft spot for artisans & outlaws of the heart, those of us who burn brightly to live each day as a gift—because it is! I'd love to hear from you, so feel free to visit my website www.banditsranch.com or message me on Facebook or Twitter (@DianeJReed) to share the whispers of your spirit.
Thanks Again Diane. I will be eagerly awaiting your fantastic OUAT interviews and the next installment of Robin & Creek in la bella Venezia!
Carey Corp is the author of DOON, Brigadoon reimagined, co-written w/Lorie Langdon. Book 1 coming 8/20/13 from the new YA imprint BLINK (a division of Zondervan/HarperCollins)
Join the DOON journey: www.doonseries.com