A themed tour with Prism Book Tours.
by Alethea Kontis
Hardcover & ebook, 320 Pages
February 3rd 2015 by HMH Books for Young Readers
“A fabulous fairy-tale mashup that deserves hordes of avid readers. Absolutely delectable.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review of award-winning series debut Enchanted
Readers met the Woodcutter sisters (named after the days of the week) in Enchanted and Hero. In this delightful third book, Alethea Kontis weaves together some fine-feathered fairy tales to focus on Friday Woodcutter, the kind and loving seamstress. When Friday stumbles upon seven sleeping brothers in her sister Sunday’s palace, she takes one look at Tristan and knows he’s her future. But the brothers are cursed to be swans by day. Can Friday’s unique magic somehow break the spell?
The Casting of the Swans – GUEST POST
As many writers—and children in Deep-Doodoo Trouble—know, the best stories are often an amalgamation of more than one thing. One idea comes to mind that sparks a myriad of other ideas…some you might have had a very long time ago, and some you might have imagined only yesterday.
The seven Swan Brothers of Dearest were a story born of three such singular ideas.
Idea 1.) I knew that two of the main fairy tales in Dearest were going to be “The Goose Girl” and “The Wild Swans” (known by the Brothers Grimm as “The Six Swans”–there are 11 brothers in the Andersen version). Two questions immediately had to be answered: Geese or Swans, and How Many Brothers? I called my cousin Jamie, a Florida Waterfowl Biologist, and after a lengthy discussion we decided on swans. For the second…well…seven is a magic number…and there’s that infernal Christmas song that always gets stuck in everyone’s head…
Idea 2.) When I did a blog tour for Enchanted, one of the bloggers asked me who my Dream Cast would be. At first I didn’t know what she was talking about. I came up with these characters on my own! Only a few were inspired by certain people in my life…and they are all me in some ways…but they certainly weren’t based on any actors. Buuuuuut that wasn’t entirely true. Jolicoeur, in fact, was very much based on my annoyance that the character of Mr. Eko (spoiler) left the show Lost entirely too soon. Some lousy writer killed him; I defied the universe by bringing him back to life in my book. Because I could.
Inspired by this blogger’s question, I began setting up Pinterest boards for each of the books in the Woodcutter series. I have since fallen in love with being able to have this collage full of inspirational photos to refer to–it’s the sort of thing I would paste on my wall at home if I thought Mom wouldn’t have a hissy fit about ruining the paint. By keeping it all on the interwebs, my bedroom doesn’t look like the home of a CSI serial killer, and Mom stays sane.
Idea 3.) I’m part of an online group blog called The Waterworld Mermaids. We all met at a Romance Writers Retreat in DC, once upon a time. It’s a great group and a really fun blog. We often do fun themed posts for the holidays. One Valentine’s Day in particular, Mermaid Kerri Carpenter put together a post where a bunch of us wrote about some actor or model guy we idolized as teenagers.
I had just started writing Dearest, and it was slow going. But I knew exactly who to pick for Kerri’s post. There was one boy for me above all others: Jonathan Brandis. I loved him down to the tips of my toes for most of my young life…and when he committed suicide in 2003, I was devastated. I found a picture of Jonathan online, and as I began to write about him, I remembered what I had done for Mr. Eko. If I could bring him back to life as Jolicoeur, why couldn’t I do the same for Jonathan? Immediately, at that very moment, he became my Tristan Swan.
But what about the rest of the brothers? Well…what about all the other boys I had loved as a teen? Noah Hathaway for sure (I actually met him once, you know. Super sweet guy. I blushed horribly when I met him. We took a picture—I looked sunburnt). To complete the nod to The Neverending Story, I even called him Sebastien. River Phoenix was a given. Not sure if I loved him best in Sneakers, or as a young Indiana Jones. When I pulled up his photo…wow…I never realized just how much he and Jonathan Brandis favored each other. They even look like brothers! Almost twins. Well, I had to have some twins…why not Scott Grimes? Frog was such a great film. Cheesy? Absolutely. Didn’t make me love Scott any less. Besides, redheaded twins are always a good idea. *wink*
I had just finished watching Merlin on Netflix, and Bradley James’s Arthur was everything I wanted in Christian. That left one brother, the youngest and cleverest, and I knew Thomas Brodie-Sangster would be perfect for the part. Especially after I saw his first appearance in Game of Thrones.
I think the most difficult thing about doing the Dream Cast for Enchanted was that the book had already been written. The Swans were only germs of ideas when I cast them. But once I could see them in my mind it completely solidified their characters—who they were, their strengths and weaknesses, their flaws and triumphs. I never stopped thinking of them as actors. In essence, I wrote these men the best roles that I could, and the actors made brought them to life for me.
I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to achieve just this sort of amazing magic again…but I’m so very, very glad I did for Dearest.
|Alethea Kontis courtesy of Lumos Studio 2012|
New York Times bestselling author Alethea Kontis is a princess, a fairy godmother, and a geek. She’s known for screwing up the alphabet, scolding vampire hunters, and ranting about fairy tales on YouTube.
Her published works include: The Wonderland Alphabet (with Janet K. Lee), Diary of a Mad Scientist Garden Gnome (with Janet K. Lee), the AlphaOops series (with Bob Kolar), the Woodcutter Sisters fairy tale series, and The Dark-Hunter Companion (with Sherrilyn Kenyon). Her short fiction, essays, and poetry have appeared in a myriad of anthologies and magazines.
Her YA fairy tale novel, Enchanted, won the Gelett Burgess Children’s Book Award in 2012 and the Garden State Teen Book Award i 2015. Enchanted was nominated for the Audie Award in 2013, and was selected for World Book Night in 2014. Both Enchanted and its sequel, Hero, were nominated for the Andre Norton Award.
Born in Burlington, Vermont, Alethea currently lives and writes in Florida, on the Space Coast. She makes the best baklava you’ve ever tasted and sleeps with a teddy bear named Charlie.
Check out Alethea’s Road Tour HERE!
3 Woodcutter Sisters Prize Packs (signed copies of Enchanted, Hero, & Dearest – US Only)
Ends March 8th