Book Nerd Interview
Heather Dixon grew up in a large family with four brothers and six sisters. She is a storyboard artist as well as a writer, and lives in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Viennese waltz is her dance of choice. She is the author of the novel Entwined .
Was there a defining moment during your youth when you realized you wanted to be a writer?
Hmm...not really. Mostly, I just wrote. Untraditional ways to tell stories, like radio plays and comic strips and poems and choose-your-own-adventure stories. I've always loved stories.
Why is storytelling so important for all of us?
Because our lives are story. The most basic building blocks of story--tension, resolve--is life. When we hear stories that don't resolve, it's troubling (In the same way people came home from Inception tearing their hair out, trying figure out how it ended.) We intuitively long for resolution to our life's worries and troubles.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another author?
From Martine Leavitt, who I knew from a workshop class, and respected deeply. I was struggling, unsure if I wanted to continue on this path, and asked her for advice. Among her timeless words:
"This isn't your life. Your life is your relationship with God, and your relationship with your family and your true friends. Your life is that beautiful thing that happens when you’re alone on your knees or alone with your paper and pen."
That's when I realized, it didn't matter. What mattered was making a good story, and becoming a better person. That's what was--and still is--truly important.
In your book, Entwined can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about it and why they should read your novel?
Entwined is a different take on the Twelve Dancing Princesses fairy tale, because it's a more modern version--it takes place in the Victorian era, when balls were a social staple, and society rules dictated how you'd live, what you'd wear, and who you married--I felt that time era was the perfect backdrop for a story about princesses, magical silver forests, and dancing.
But, I hope it's more than just a fairy tale. I wanted it to be a story about love and forgiveness, and about how a broken family can be mended.
Can you tell us when you started Entwined, how that came about?
I was still in college, and in the midst of dance & animation classes, when the idea bludgeoned me across the head. It wouldn't leave me alone. I grew up with a lot of sisters, and loved the visual aspects of the fairy tale, along with the dancing. But I'd never written a novel before! Poems and screenplays and storyboards, yes...but it took nearly five years to figure out how write a novel. Which is something I'm still learning!
What part of Azalea did you enjoy writing the most?
Her temper! She's fiery. When she'd stand up to the King and to Keeper, that was the stuff that put fizz in the air. I also enjoyed her scenes with Mr. Bradford, how they would play off of each other. He's so solemn and calm, I like to think they were a good match.
If you could introduce Azalea to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
Possibly to the Mad Hatter & March Hare from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. With her experience of crazy sugar teeth, mad tea sets, and unruly sisters, I think she would fit right in.
What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us?
Right now I'm working on a steampunk, about a boy named Jacks, a talented illusionist who becomes entangled in a dark circus. There are airships and evil clowns. It's called, "Illusionarium". It's still in the development stages at this point.
I'd also love to write & illustrate a book of twisted nursery rhymes.
When asked, what’s the one question you always answer with a lie?
"Your probation officer is okay with this, right?"
What’s the best advice you can give writers to help them develop their own unique voice and style?
Collect references. What are your favorite authors, what do you like best about the things they write? Combine them all together, and create new things. Collecting references & applying their knowledge to your own work, and working hard, that's really helped me to improve and develop, both in art and writing.
Who is the first person you call when you have a bad day?
My aunt Grace. I've never met anyone so happy and fun to talk to. She has 9 kids (!) but always has time to talk to me :)
Who was your first boyfriend?
Gage, 1st grade. He's the only 7-year-old I've ever met with a mustache. Basically he walked up to me and said, "You wanna be my girlfriend?" and I was like, "Sure." We saw each other on the playground sometimes.
And then, in second grade, my classmate, Angela, pulled me into a bathroom stall, locked it, and said with wide brown eyes:
ANGELA: Did Gage tell you that you were his girlfriend?
ME: (trying to remember who Gage was)
ANGELA: Well he told me that I was his girlfriend!
ME: Um. I'm going to be late for lunch...
I think that was the end of our relationship. I'm still not for sure on that...although in 3rd grade he grew a long gross turkey tail at the nape of his neck and braided it, and in fourth grade he swallowed a wire in school and had to be taken to the ER so...I think I might have dodged a bullet there.
What is the one, single food that you would never give up?
Bacon. Bacon. Oh my gosh, bacon.
Where can readers stalk you?
Best place, my blog at www.story-monster.blogspot.com
I'm also on pinterest (http://pinterest.com/betternbunnies/) & on deviantart too (http://betterthanbunnies.deviantart.com/)
Come and mend your broken hearts here.
Just when Azalea should feel that everything is before her—beautiful gowns, dashing suitors, balls filled with dancing—it’s taken away. All of it. And Azalea is trapped. The Keeper understands. He’s trapped, too, held for centuries within the walls of the palace. So he extends an invitation.
Every night, Azalea and her eleven sisters may step through the enchanted passage in their room to dance in his silver forest, but there is a cost. The Keeper likes to keep things. Azalea may not realize how tangled she is in his web until it is too late.
The truly enchanting Entwined by Heather Dixon is a beautiful and witty retelling fairy tale about twelve sisters, otherwise known as The Twelve Dancing Princesses. The writing is extremely well and with so many characters, Heather maintains a wonderful job at giving each sister a distinct personality. What’s even more creative is how the sisters are named alphabetically making it easier for readers to remember their names. Azalea’s, the oldest sister, love for dancing is prominent and Heather brilliantly makes it into a unit of its own. If you have ever read the original tale, it left many unanswered questions. In Entwine, readers are treated to the answers to those questions as the book follows the girls every step of their magical journey.
Entwine opens up a new and unique perspective to this classic tale but Heather wonderfully kept it in tune to its time-honored ways. Although the book packs a lot of pages, the story never felt dragged on and paced along quite well. The story is so mesmerizing that readers will automatically be sucked in from the beginning. Like the original, it is a magical and enchanting story with surprising dark side. Truly enjoyable and has all the elements that will satisfy any reader’s need.
You can purchase Entwined at the following Retailers:
a Rafflecopter giveaway
And now, The Giveaways.