Friday, February 8, 2013

Rapunzel Untangled

Don't you just love that cover? I do!

I was so excited to be a part of the Rapunzel Untangled blog tour. I love fairy tales and retelling of fairy tales and fractured fairy tales and - well - you get the idea. I was especially intrigued with this one because Rapunzel is not a story that would be easy to set in our modern-day world. Cinderella? That's an adaptable fairy tale and there are many wonderful writers who have. But, Rapunzel? Hair that's never cut... locked away in a tower... given up by her own father...That seems almost too hard to translate to our modern age. However, Cindy Bennett has done a wonderful job. She thought of so many details (like what M&M's would taste like for the first time) that really made Rapunzel seem as innocent as she was real in my mind.

I ended up reading until the wee hours of the morning to finish because I just had to see how it ended. As for the boy, I liked Fane. He seemed believable and was the perfect combination of gallant hero and teenage boy. 

Rapunzel Untangled back cover blurb:

Rapunzel is not your average teenager. For one thing, she has a serious illness that keeps her inside the mysterious Gothel Mansion. And for another, her hair is 15 feet long. Not to mention that she’s also the key to ultimately saving the world from certain destruction. But then she meets a boy named Fane, who changes all she has ever known, and she decides to risk everything familiar to find out who she really is. Filled with romance, adventure, and mystery, Rapunzel Untangled is one story you won’t want to put down. Discover the true meaning of love and friendship in this modern twist to the classic fairytale.

Author Cindy Bennett Interview

I had the grand fortune of interviewing Cindy about her new book. She has some really interesting insights into Rapunzel’s story! (She's also a super nice person!!!)

1. Why did you pick Rapunzel to write about?
I have to admit that I've had a sort of obsession with Rapunzel for most of my life. Something about having hair long enough and strong enough to drop out a tower window and actually have someone climb up just appeals to me. So when the publisher offered me the chance to pick a fairytale for retelling, it was the first to come to mind.

2. What challenges did you face writing about a well-known fairy tale?
I wanted to keep as many of the elements from the original retellings, as well as other popular retellings while making it its own story. In the original stories, Rapunzel generally came out of the tower pregnant after being visited by the prince. I didn't feel that was particularly appropriate for YA (lol) so I left that particular element out. Honestly the most difficult decision was deciding why Gothel takes Rapunzel and locks her in the tower. That's when it veered from being a contemporary retelling to becoming a little more paranormal.

3. Who is your favorite character in the book and why?
My favorite character from the book is Fane. I really thought it'd be Rapunzel because she's the main character and the story revolves around her, but I have to admit I had so much fun writing Fane's character. His teasing nature was fun to explore, and trying to balance his extreme curiosity about the mystery of Rapunzel and the Gothel Manor with his genuine growing affection for her was very interesting to write. Plus, I love a guy with a protective nature, and Fane's definitely protective of Rapunzel. 

4. What makes your book stand out or why is it different from the other versions of the fairy tale?
I took the elements of Rapunzel and heightened them a bit. Gothel is always a bit crazy in all of the tellings, but my Gothel is entirely insane and holding on by a thread. My Rapunzel is still the sweet, naive girl of the other tellings, but she develops the backbone to discover who she really is and why she's been forced into this strange and lonely existence. She reaches out and finds her own life. And though Rapunzel might consider Fane her prince, he's not really a prince. No royalty in this version.

5. How long have you been writing?
My entire life, really. As long as I can remember I was making up stories and writing them down. However, I didn't get serious enough about writing to complete a manuscript until about 4 years ago when I finished Heart on a Chain for my daughters. It's been a wild ride since!

6. What advice would you give to kids who want to be writers when they grow up?
Keep writing, all the time. Keep the creativity flowing. Then, study the mechanics of writing - but don't let those mechanics overshadow your voice. Make sure you understand spelling, punctuation, grammar, flow, all of that good stuff. But keep your voice amidst all of that.


Fab Fane Fannigan: Are you saying you live at GOTHEL MANSION???  
RG: My mother calls it Gothel Manor, so maybe that’s different? 
Fab Fane Flannigan: No, Rapunzel, there’s only one that I know of. It has to be the same. So you live in the tower? 
RG: Uh, the tower? I don’t know. Is it a tower? 
Fab Fane Flannigan: Yes, it is. I know where it is. Rapunzel, promise me one thing.
RG: Okay. 
Fab Fane Flannigan: Don’t Google your house.

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