I want to say that the book by Rhiannon came out February 24 and this post from me is my congratulations to her.
SO CONGRATS, Rhiannon! ❤ I hope this year will be amazing for you. I can only add that I looking forward to start A Wicked Thing, which is already waiting for me on my Kindle!
Rhiannon Thomas’s dazzling debut novel is a spellbinding reimagining of Sleeping Beauty and what happens after happily ever after.
One hundred years after falling asleep, Princess Aurora wakes up to the kiss of a handsome prince and a broken kingdom that has been dreaming of her return. All the books say that she should be living happily ever after. But as Aurora understands all too well, the truth is nothing like the fairy tale.
Her family is long dead. Her “true love” is a kind stranger. And her whole life has been planned out by political foes while she slept.
As Aurora struggles to make sense of her new world, she begins to fear that the curse has left its mark on her, a fiery and dangerous thing that might be as wicked as the witch who once ensnared her. With her wedding day drawing near, Aurora must make the ultimate decision on how to save her kingdom: marry the prince or run.
Rhiannon Thomas weaves together vivid scenes of action, romance, and gorgeous gowns to reveal a richly imagined world… and Sleeping Beauty as she’s never been seen before.
1) Were there any funny stories while you worked on A Wicked Thing? Or maybe, at that time, the book had a different name, which now makes you smile?
A Wicked Thing went through loads of names. Giving it a title was kind of a nightmare. It was called After for a long while, which I really liked, but there are already a lot of books called that. But I am terrible at naming things. The day before I was supposed to give my editor a list of potential titles, I remember sitting in a café with some of my friends and a notebook, just trying out every possible combination of Sleeping Beauty related words and quotes from the book, desperately hunting for anything that might work. Argh, titles.
But what always makes me smile about the book is the evolution of one of the characters, Finnegan. He didn’t appear in the first draft, and he was just a plot device in the second – I needed Aurora to have a meeting with somebody important, so she could then miss the meeting for Plot Reasons that I don’t remember any more. That part of the story didn’t stick around, but my friend read that version, and her main feedback comment was “I want more Finnegan.” He was in like four pages of the book at that point. So I rewrote and gave him a bigger role, then gave the book to another friend. “I love Finnegan,” she said. “He should be in it more.” So I gave him a BIGGER role. Then my agent told me that she loved Finnegan and he should be in it more. Then my editor told me the same thing. By the end, I was considering scrapping the whole thing and just calling it The Finnegan Story.
They were right, though. He was a really fun character to write, and he ended up being key to the story that I wanted to tell over the series.
2) What inspired you to write A Wicked Thing?
Originally, it was all about the “true love” trope. When the idea first came to me, Twilight was the hottest thing in YA fiction, and there were loads of stories about Fated Love, or other scenarios where two people simply have to be together because destiny says. It really got me thinking, because if a stranger showed up and told me he was my true love and we were destined to be together and save the world, I’d be more than a little freaked out. And I don’t think that sort of pressure is exactly conducive to romance, or at least to a healthy relationship.
And Sleeping Beauty ends so weirdly. Disney made it so that the prince and the princess had at least met before the kiss of true love, but most of the versions have them as total strangers. So what would really happy after the true love’s kiss? The question really bugged me, and it ultimately became A Wicked Thing.
3) Can you share your most favorite quote from your book? (If it’s too spoilery, then your favorite quote from another book).
I’m going to give one of my favorite quotes from another book, which is “Kiss me, Hardy, kiss me quick!” from Code Name Verity. If you’ve read the book, you’ll know what an amazing moment that is, and I dream of being able to pull different parts of a story together in a punch-in-the-gut moment like that one.
4) How long did it take you to write your novel? What was easier to write: the beginning or the ending?
It took about a year to write A Wicked Thing to the point that I thought it was finished. Then it took another three months of editing it with my agent, and two months more editing it with my editor, before it was officially done.
The ending was definitely easier than the beginning. In fact, I think the ending is one of the few things that survived from my very first draft. The words came out right the first time, whereas I rewrote the first chapter more times than I’d like to remember.
5) Can you tell us how you became a published author?
After I graduated from university, I was pretty lost in a sea of “what do I do with my life now??”, and since I’d always wanted to be an author, I decided I would try and write a novel while I was figuring things out. Then I got pretty darn lucky. I queried agents with the novel starting August 2012, and about a month later, I got an offer of representation from my amazing agent, Kristin Nelson. After that, we revised the book together, and then she sent it on submission to publishers. HarperTeen liked it enough to publish it, so that was that! I stopped trying to figure out what sensible career I should be trying to pursue, and started putting all my energy into writing instead.
6) If you could, would you write a letter to Aurora? If the answer is yes, what would be the main theme of the letter?
Hmm, I think my letter to Aurora would be full of cheesy sentiments, like that she should Believe In Herself, and that she shouldn’t sacrifice herself to make others happy. It would probably turn into a feminist pep-talk about how girls are expected to never be “selfish” or put themselves before others, and how that’s totally wrong and she should be able to do what makes her happy.
Also, I’d tell her that you should never trust cute guys in bars. Because seriously.
It was a lot of fun! Thank you so much, Rhiannon 🙂
About the author
Rhiannon Thomas is an English lit grad from Princeton University. She currently lives in York, England, in the shadow of a thirteenth-century Gothic cathedral. When she isn’t lost in YA fantasy, she writes about feminism and the media on her blog, http://www.feministfiction.com.