Thursday, July 26, 2012

Gold Star Interview - Alethea Kontis!

Hello All!

As you all know, when I LURVE a book, I give it a Gold Star Review here. Well, to liven up the blog a little, I'm going to (try to) interview the author of each book that receives a coveted Gold Star! I hope you'll enjoy these quick, little interviews. :D

Today's guest is the fabulous Alethea Kontis! I'm so excited. Alethea's debut YA novel, Enchanted, is one of the BEST fairy tale mash-ups I've read, ever! You can check out my gushy review here.

Welcome, Alethea! Thank you so much for stopping by to chat with me. I have just a couple of quick questions for you:

1.  How long did it take you, from first spark of idea to final proofs, to write Enchanted?

The original short story, "Sunday" (technically a novelette, since it was about 10,000 words), was written for a fairy tale contest held by my online writers group (The Codex Writers) in the summer of 2005. That story was published in Realms of Fantasy magazine in the fall of 2006. So it took a good seven years for that to go from being a handful of magical story seeds to a book on a shelf in the bookstore...but I had the opportunity to publish a few other books during that time. And seven is a magic number, so I'm okay with that.

Unfortunately, I don't have the luxury of seven years to write the sequel!

2.  If you could write a book under a pseudonym that no one would ever connect to you, are there any genres you would love to secretly explore? 

I am a very lucky author in that I am already published in a myriad of genres without having to use a pseudonym. Score one for Princess Alethea!

When I was a teenager, I decided to be romantic and submit some of my stories under the pseudonym "Madeleine Mercer." Madeleine is the name of my maternal grandmother (and my middle name), and Mercer is the maiden name/stage name of my aunt, actress Ernestine Mercer, who passed away in 2011. Marion Zimmer Bradley sent back a scathing form letter with my rejection telling me all the reasons why I should NEVER EVER USE A PSEUDONYM. I was too scared by that letter to ever do it again.

*OMG. That is one of those letters that you both treasure and fear. I can't believe you have a letter from THE Marion Zimmer Bradley!!*

3.  I LOVED that Enchanted incorporated bits from *so many* different fairy tales. Did you have a favorite growing up, one that always resonated with you? 

My two favorite fairy tales growing up were "Snow White and Rose Red" and "The Goose Girl." I loved the story of the grumpy leprechaun with the long beard (who makes a brief appearance in Enchanted) and the Bear Prince...I actually cast Snow White and Rose Red as sisters of Seven Woodcutter (Five and Six), in a scene that got edited out. But never fear, they will be back!

"The Goose Girl" was just wonderful all-over...and the talking horse's head never bothered me one bit. Drops of blood and an evil maid overpowering the princess and her talking horse...what's not to love? And such great characters! Conrad was a clever boy to ferret out that something was wrong. The king was a clever man to listen to such a boy...and then to turn around and force the evil maid to offer up the idea for what later became her own punishment (also mentioned in Enchanted). Teaser: A good chunk of this storyline will appear in Friday's book!

4.  If you could cross one thing off your bucket list tomorrow, what would it be? 
I hate the term "bucket list." Mine is a "Princess List." You can find it here:

The easiest thing would probably be to take a hot air balloon ride...but I'd much rather go spend Guy Fawkes Day in England. I miss England.

*Me too! I have family "across the pond," but we do NOT get to visit enough!*

5. Quick picks list:
Favorite vacation destination?
England. Specifically to visit my friends Kit McCormick, Jennifer Lee, Mark Newton, and Christian Dunn. 

Favorite childhood book?
Goop Tales by Gelett Burgess. They Call Me Boober Fraggle by Michaela Muntean. The Nunga Punga and the Booch, by Jean Wilson Kennedy. The Tattooed Potato and Other Clues by Ellen Raskin. Gertie's Green Thumb by Catherine Dexter. How to Be a Perfect Person in Just Three Days, by Stephen Manes. Fairy Tales. Anything by Ogden Nash. I CANNOT PICK ONE, THERE WERE JUST TOO MANY. I've been a rabid reader since the age of three.

Favorite writing snack food?
Hummus and veggie chips. And that's all Sherrilyn Kenyon's fault. 

Favorite clothing item?
My emerald green Dartmouth shirt. I didn't attend Dartmouth, but I visited there, and might have applied if it was less than $20K a year. Theodore Geisel went there. You may remember his as Dr. Seuss.

Thank you so much, Alethea, for letting me interview you. It was a pleasure!

For more information about Alethea and her books, check out her website at

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