Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Betsy Cornwell Interview - The Forest Queen

Photo Content from Betsy Cornwell

Betsy Cornwell is a New York Times bestselling author living in west Ireland. She is the story editor and a contributing writer at Parabola, and her short-form writing includes fiction, nonfiction, and literary translation and has appeared in Fairy Tale Review, Zahir Tales, Luna Luna, and elsewhere. She holds an M.F.A. in creative writing from the University of Notre Dame and a B.A. from Smith College.

The Forest Queen is a lyrical, female-centered retelling of Robin Hood. ☆ “With all the traditional players naturally recast as women, it becomes a fiercely female, feminist take on the traditional legend. It’s a lush, lovely exploration of the bonds of a community as one girl learns about her own privilege, and, eventually, her strength.” – Booklist, starred review

Venturess (2017) “hits a sweet spot for fairy tale and steampunk lovers alike” (Booklist). Praise for this fantasy adventure novel includes a Kirkus star and glowing reviews from VOYA and School Library Journal. Venturessis an Amazon Editors’ Pick for the best young adult books of August 2017.

Mechanica was published in 2015 and has featured on several best of the year lists, including Amazon.com’s Best Young Adult Books and USA Today‘s Must-Read Romances. In a starred review, Kirkus called this retelling of Cinderella “a smart, refreshing alternative to stale genre tropes.”

Betsy’s debut novel Tides was published in 2013 to critical acclaim including a place in the Bank Street Best Children’s Books of the Year and a Bisexual Book Awards nomination. ☆ “Cornwell’s auspicious debut weaves historical fantasy together with sensual romance.” – Publishers Weekly, starred review

Betsy is currently working on The Circus Rose, a queer YA retelling of “Snow White and Rose Red” slated for release in fall 2019.


Where were you born and where do you call home?
I was born and grew up in New Hampshire, USA, but for the last five years I’ve lived in Galway, Ireland.

What advice would you give to someone who wanted to have a life in writing?
Make time for writing and reading as much as you can - I don’t think you need to write absolutely every day, but even a few minutes a few times a week will give you a much bigger body of work than waiting for inspiration to hit will. You should definitely read every day, though: I am convinced that reading is an even more important part of becoming a good writer than actually writing is.

What were your inspirations for the character development?
I always loved Robin Hood stories and loved seeing girls in heroic roles, so I think I’ve been dreaming of a girl Robin Hood since before my tenth birthday. One character in THE FOREST QUEEN whom I especially love, though, is Little Jane - I was very tall as a kid (and I’m still tall now!) so i put a lot of the worries and insecurities I had about size as a teenager into Little Jane, and she turned out to be probably my favorite character in the book.

Was there a particular event or time that you recognized that writing was not just a hobby.
I’ve wanted to be a writer since I learned to read - so I’d have to say no!

What was your unforgettable moment while writing MECHANICA?

I was still writing MECHANICA when I got my first book deal, so that’s definitely my most unforgettable moment.

In your new book; THE FOREST QUEEN, can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about it.
THE FOREST QUEEN is a female-centered retelling of Robin Hood in which a young noblewoman becomes an outlaw fighting for justice.

Are there authors that you’re excited to engage/work with?
I just read Kimberly Brubaker Bradley’s THE WAR THAT SAVED MY LIFE and adored it, so I have to say her!

What part of Sylvie did you enjoy writing the most?
I wrote Silvie as a quiet, thoughtful person who becomes a leader out of a deep sense of justice, and I enjoyed creating a YA heroine who isn’t a natural action star.

What book would you recommend for others to read?
My favorite book of all time is I CAPTURE THE CASTLE by Dodie Smith.

What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us?
My next book is a queer YA retelling of Snow White and Rose Red called THE CIRCUS ROSE, in which twin circus performers discover that their beloved dancing bear is a cursed princess.

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
I’d introduce Silvie to Nicolette, the heroine of MECHANICA, since Nicolette grows up hearing legends about Silvie and would be so thrilled to meet her.

At a movie theater which arm rest is yours?

What do you usually think about right before falling asleep?
I have to read for at least 20 minutes before I can fall asleep, so I think about whatever book I’ve been reading.

Can you define love in your own way?
Kindness, trust, home.

What is the craziest thing you have ever done?
Probably moved to Ireland almost on a whim - but I don’t regret it!

What's your most missed memory?
I’m glad to say I still feel like my best years are in front of me, so I don’t know that I “miss” my memories, but I’d relive my teenage summers at CTY if I could.

Where can readers find you?
I’m most often on Instagram @betsycornwell now, but you can also find me on Twitter @betsy_cornwell and Facebook @betsycornwellauthor, and you can always visit my website, betsycornwell.com.

When sixteen-year-old Sylvie’s brother takes over management of their family’s vast estates, Sylvie feels powerless to stop his abuse of the local commoners. Her dearest friend asks her to run away to the woods with him, and soon a host of other villagers join them. Together, they form their own community and fight to right the wrongs perpetrated by the king and his noblemen.


"A fiercely female, feminist take on the traditional legend....A lush, lovely exploration of the bonds of a community as one girl learns about her own privilege, and, eventually, her strength." Booklist, STARRED review

"This book brings to light a strong female lead who learns the meaning of caring about others in the community...a great read with parallels to current events." 
School Library Journal

"The inspiring ethos, brisk pace, and genuinely thrilling climax all hold attention." 

You can purchase The Forest Queen at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you BETSY CORNWELL for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of The Forest Queen by Betsy Cornwell. 


  1. "What is the most important object you own?" Money, and I don't have enough of it!

  2. The most important object I own is my wedding ring.

  3. "What is the most important object you own?" I suppose all the family memorabilia and photographs that I have inherited. No one else in the family seemed interested and I have gathered for several generations.

  4. My bible would be the most important.

  5. The most important object I own is my student ESV study bible, it has lot of extra info and helps alot when I don't understand certain passages.

  6. I cannot think of any one thing that would be really important. Objects are replaceable, although I treasure all my objects.