Friday, February 17, 2012

Princess of the Wild Swans blog tour: Interview with Diane Zahler

Diane Zahler is the author of the new novel Princess of the Wild Swans, as well as two other fairy tale retellings, The Thirteenth Princess and A True Princess.

Why did you decide to become a writer of fairy tale retellings? Have you always loved fairy tales?

I’ve loved fairy tales since before I was old enough to read myself. I even wrote my own versions in elementary school! Fairy tales are great to retell because they have such a universal appeal. Many of them started as oral tales that helped to explain or elaborate on people's most basic fears and desires. Readers recognize their own feelings when they read, even hundreds of years after the original stories were written down, and even in their retold forms. (And, of course, I love magic.)

Do you plan to write more fairy tale retellings? What is your own favorite fairy tale of all time?

My fourth book, which will be published in September 2013, has a fairy tale at its center, but it uses the story as a springboard. It's more of an original tale than a retelling. As for a favorite fairy tale -- well, I love "The Twelve Dancing Princesses," which I retold as The Thirteenth Princess. And "Rapunzel" has always been a favorite, despite Shannon Hale's comical rant against it. "Why didn't the prince just bring a ROPE?" she asks. It's a great question -- but you could ask a similar question about almost any fairy tale. Why did Snow White eat that apple, given what she knew? Why didn't Sleeping Beauty just stay away from sharp objects? Why did Little Red Riding Hood wear such bright colors when there were wolves around? Any fairy tale requires a certain suspension of disbelief.

What are some of your own favorite books and authors?

There are so many! I worked in the children’s room of a public library through high school and college, so I kept reading children’s books long after I grew up. Fantasy books I loved include the Narnia series, all the books by Edward Eager and E. Nesbit, James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl, The Phantom Tollbooth by Norman Juster, The Wonderful O by James Thurber, The Gammage Cup by Carol Kendall, Ursula Leguin's Wizard of Earthsea books, A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle. Realistic fiction I read and reread include All-of-a-Kind Family by Theodore Taylor, The Saturdays by Elizabeth Enright, From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsberg, the Henry Huggins and Ramona books by Beverly Cleary, and Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh. I’m probably leaving out dozens.

When you are not writing, how do you enjoy spending your time?

Reading. And I love to travel -- in fact, right now I'm in Belgium and will be here for five months. I plan to go all over Europe -- as much as I can afford to! -- and maybe even make it to Morocco. And I love to eat whatever they're serving where I travel (within reason).

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Just this – I hope your readers love Princess of the Wild Swans! And thank you so much for hosting me on your blog.

To learn more about Diane Zahler and Princess of the Wild Swans you can visit her website (where you can also see a list of the other stops for the blog tour). You can also read my review of Princess of the Wild Swans here.

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