Tuesday 16 September 2014

Retelling the Tale by Vicki Weavil + GIVEAWAY!

On the blog today, I am super pleased to have Vicki Weavil, author of the YA fantasy novel Crown of Ice. Vicki is such a wonderful cheerleader for other Month9Books authors (me and Dorothy included), and she was kind enough to stop by and share a bit of her writing process with us. But first, a quick peek at her book ...

Title: Crown of Ice
Publication date: September 9, 2014
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.
Author: Vicki L. Weavil

Thyra Winther’s seventeen, the Snow Queen, and immortal, but if she can’t reassemble a shattered
enchanted mirror by her eighteenth birthday she’s doomed to spend eternity as a wraith.

Armed with magic granted by a ruthless wizard, Thyra schemes to survive with her mind and body intact. Unencumbered by kindness, she kidnaps local boy Kai Thorsen, whose mathematical skills rival her own. Two logical minds, Thyra calculates, are better than one. With time rapidly melting away she needs all the help she can steal.

A cruel lie ensnares Kai in her plan, but three missing mirror shards and Kai’s childhood friend, Gerda, present more formidable obstacles. Thyra’s willing to do anything – venture into uncharted lands, outwit sorcerers, or battle enchanted beasts — to reconstruct the mirror, yet her most dangerous adversary lies within her breast. Touched by the warmth of a wolf pup’s devotion and the fire of a young man’s desire, the thawing of Thyra’s frozen heart could be her ultimate undoing.

CROWN OF ICE is a YA Fantasy that reinvents Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Snow Queen” from the perspective of a young woman who discovers that the greatest threat to her survival may be her own humanity.


Retelling the Tale
by Vicki Weavil

CROWN OF ICE is a retelling of a fairy tale—a type of writing project that brings with it special challenges and rewards. On the one hand, I had the benefit of inheriting the framework of a story, some basic characters, and thematic elements. On the other hand, I had to find a way to tell an original story that still referenced its source material in a believable, and respectful, way.

Before I started writing CROWN OF ICE, I re-read the original story, “The Snow Queen”, by Hans Christian Andersen. First published in 1844, this was a story I’d discovered when I went through my fairy tale reading phase as a child. (I also went through a myth and legends phase, a folk tale phase, and … well, you get the idea). I’d always loved Andersen’s literary fairy tales and “The Snow Queen” was my favorite. However, it had been some time since I’d read it, so I knew I had to familiarize myself with the details again, just to see it this tale would work as the basis for a Young Adult fantasy.

The major challenge was the Snow Queen herself. In Andersen’s story, she’s basically a force of nature, with few human characteristics. She looks like a lovely woman, but has no real personality beyond her power over the elements and her icy exterior. She isn’t truly evil, or good, because she’s a construct, not a person.

In order to tell the story from the point-of-view of the Snow Queen, I had to turn her into a real, human, character. This brought up a whole range of issues, such as—why is the Snow Queen only seventeen? Is she immortal, or is she human? If this young woman is only the last in a long line of Snow Queens, what happened to the girls who came before her?

The interesting aspect of this questioning is that it led to some of my favorite elements in CROWN OF ICE, including the concept that my protagonist, Thyra Winther, was a human girl who had been transformed into the Snow Queen by a powerful sorcerer. This not only brought in a new character to play the role of villain, it also allowed Thyra to be fully human, but a human who could become immortal if she completed the sorcerer’s task—reconstructing a shattered enchanted mirror by her eighteenth birthday. Of course, it also led me to create the consequences—if Thyra fails, she must spend eternity as a mindless, disembodied, wraith. The idea of this consequence also explained what happened to the previous Snow Queens, and allowed me to populate Thyra’s isolated, icy palace with some spooky fellow inhabitants.

In writing CROWN OF ICE, I didn’t follow Andersen’s plot exactly, but I did include references to many aspects of his story. If you look closely, you can see reflections of the original fairy tale laced throughout my book, including an enchanted mirror, a magical flower garden, crows (ravens in the original), a group of wanderers, and, most obviously, a talking reindeer named Bae.  I also kept the basic thematic elements of intellect versus heart, sacrifice versus selfishness, and the power of love (and not just of the romantic variety).

It was actually a wonderful experience to write this book as both a reflection and a reinterpretation of a classic fairy tale. As I have done in other posts, I encourage everyone to read the original story. It is in the public domain and thus freely available online, at sites such as Wall of Thorns: http://wallofthorns.com/snowqueen/snowqueentitle.html

CROWN OF ICE would not exist without the inspiration of “The Snow Queen,” written by a brilliant storyteller from the nineteenth century. So I must conclude by saying (as I do in the acknowledgements for my book) “Thank you, Mr. Hans Christian Andersen.”

About the Author

Vicki Lemp Weavil was raised in a farming community in Virginia, where her life was shaped by a wonderful family, the culture of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and an obsession with reading. Since obtaining her undergraduate degree in Theatre from the University of Virginia, she’s gone on to acquire two masters degrees, living in places as diverse as New York City and rural North Carolina. She’s currently the library director for a performing an visual arts university.  Vicki loves good writing in any genre, and has been known to read seven books in as many days. She enjoys travel, gardening, and the arts. Vicki lives in North Carolina with her husband, son, and some very spoiled cats.


And now ... the giveaway!

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