3 QQ is an ongoing blog feature in which we ask authors joining Nora for an upcoming Turn the Page Bookstore signing some questions about their current release, upcoming books and anything else that strikes our fancy
The next Turn the Page signing will be magical indeed! Nora is signing Dark Witch, the first book in her brand new Cousins O’Dwyer Trilogy. And she’ll be surrounded by magickal authors, including Carolyn Turgeon, a writer who takes a modern twist on classic fairy tales including Godmother: The Secret Cinderella Story, Mermaid (a retelling of the Little Mermaid) and her middle-grade novel The Next Full Moon (her version of the Swan Maiden).
1. The loose theme for this signing is magick and romance. How do you fit those two elements into your writing?
My books are mostly retellings of fairy tales, so there’s always some magick in them. Even my first novel, Rain Village, which is not a fairy tale, is about the real-world magic of the circus and of stories and of meeting the person who sees something beautiful in you that you can’t see yourself. There’s a scene in that book where our protagonist hears “The Lady of Shalott” for the first time and is so overwhelmed and transported that the woman speaking has to stop and comfort her, remind her that it isn’t real. I love those earthbound moments of magic as much as the fantasy ones—the mermaids drinking magic potions, the swan removing their feathered robes and becoming maidens, the witches turning men into stags. As for romance, there’s always a prince, though in my books he might not always be as perfect (or faithful) as the prince most girls long for. Most princes aren’t, after all. At least in my latest book, The Fairest of Them All, there’s a hot brooding falconer around to pick up the slack.
So this witchy, autumnal signing is right up my alley, and I hope to come away with some new tricks and spells, not to mention a signed copy of Dark Witch!
2. Your latest book, Fairest of Them All, pulls from two seemingly disparate fairy tales. What’s the allure in retelling fairy tales for you?
Well, I love fairy tales, first of all, I love that mix of glitter and beauty with darkness and horror that seems to be at the heart of most of them. And I also love the idea that there are stories we’ve told and retold for centuries, that live in our blood and bones, and that as a writer you can go in and remake them, illuminating their hidden parts. In my case, I’ve focused on minor female characters and on imagining what it would be like to be them. What would it be like to be the godmother sending Cinderella to the ball (would you be jealous? would you consider going in her place, the way my character does?) or the stepmother of Snow White or the human princess competing with the little mermaid for the prince? I like to focus on the complicated relationships between the women in these tales and to find some way to bring them together. The Fairest of Them All is my first mash-up, though; in it, Rapunzel grows up to be Snow White’s stepmother. When you start looking at these female characters and what limited options they have, their stories really start to blur together. How else is a Rapunzel or a Cinderella going to end up, after a decade or two have gone by? In the traditional fairy tale, I don’t think that any of these women end up well.
3. Do you do anything special for Halloween?
I more do special things to celebrate autumn than to celebrate Halloween. I actually spent the last few Halloweens in places like Iceland and Nicaragua. This year, though, I’ll be home in Pennsylvania where I can do (and have been doing) all the beautiful autumn-y things I love, like going to fall festivals and driving by spooky cornfields and walking through corn mazes and bobbing for apples and going on hayrides. Okay, I might not really bob for apples, except in my heart. I also like going to stores and buying all the spice candles and glittery pumpkins and spiders and ravens.
Bonus Q: What’s your favorite Halloween candy?
This question made my heart flutter. Probably candy corn, since I only associate it with Halloween (and awesomeness).
And when I was a kid in Illinois, I loved the crazy sticky popcorn balls the neighbor lady made.
Even if you can’t make it to the signing, you can take advantage of Turn the Page’s Virtual Signing feature by ordering a book and having your favorite author personalize it for you before the event is finished.