On the eve of her only daughter, Princess Raven's wedding, an aging Snow White finds it impossible to share in the joyous spirit of the occasion. The ceremony itself promises to be the most glamorous social event of the decade. Snow White’s castle has been meticulously scrubbed, polished and opulently decorated for the celebration. It is already nearly bursting with jubilant guests and merry well-wishers. Prince Edel, Raven's fiancé, is a fine man from a neighboring kingdom and Snow White's own domain is prosperous and at peace. Things could not be better, in fact, except for one thing:
The king is dead.
The queen has been in a moribund state of hopeless depression for over a year with no end in sight. It is only when, in a fit of bitter despair, she seeks solitude in the vastness of her own sprawling castle and climbs a long disused and forgotten tower stair that she comes face to face with herself in the very same magic mirror used by her stepmother of old.
It promises her respite in its shimmering depths, but can Snow White trust a device that was so precious to a woman who sought to cause her such irreparable harm? Can she confront the demons of her own difficult past to discover a better future for herself and her family? And finally, can she release her soul-crushing grief and suffocating loneliness to once again discover what "happily ever after" really means?
Only time will tell as she wrestles with her past and is forced to confront The Reflections of Queen Snow White.
1. If you could work with any other author, who would it be and why?
Probably Neil Gaiman or Tad Williams - Williams because he’s probably my favorite author and Gaiman because he is just incredibly creative. There is something about the quality of his writing where if you pick up a piece of Neil Gaiman writing, you know that’s exactly who wrote it. His is a very distinctive style and I admire that.
2. What would be a typical working day for you? When and where do you write?
As far as my writing goes, I still have a day job (and a night job as well, as a matter of fact) so I just have to squeeze it in whenever and wherever I have a little time. The most important thing to me though is to work on my writing and promotion at least a little every day, even if I only get 5-10 minutes, just to keep my momentum going and avoid stagnation and writer’s block.
3. What is the hardest part of the writing for you?
I suppose it’s not responding to negative reviews. I’m not by nature a vitriolic or overly reactive person, and I make it a point to NEVER respond to negative reviews (I think it’s grossly unprofessional), but it is maddening when you read a review and it’s obvious that the reviewer either totally didn’t get the point you were trying to make at all or complains about something that was specifically spelled out in the initial query (the sex and violence content of a story for example). Still, as with any artistic medium, there will always be people who do not care for your work and their opinions on how it affected or failed to affect them are perfectly valid, so you just have to shrug and move on.
4. When and why did you first start writing?
I’ve always written. Going all the way back to when I was about nine years old writing stories on notebook paper and binding them with old shirt-boards decorated with Crayola marker I wanted to create stories, but it took quite a bit longer for me to feel confident what I wrote was good enough to show other people. I don’t think that happened until well into my adulthood – when I’d finally had enough literary experience as well as life experience to make my writing feel authentic and real.
5. How did you come up with the idea for your book?
The original version of most fairy tales where pretty brutal, (especially compared to the highly sterilized Disney versions that most people are used to). However, in spite of the fantastical elements they invariably contain, they are at their root, very real. They speak to our deepest desires, darkest fears, and greatest flaws, but they are also aspirational. They provide us with examples, regardless how improbable, of how we might overcome desperate circumstances to achieve greatness and contentment in a world where such things often seem rarified and elusive. They give us hope that everything really will work out in the end. The best of them leave you with a sense, on some level, the story really could have happened.
In the case of Snow White, I think most people can relate to depression. Most have either experienced it themselves or know someone dear to them who has. However, I noticed that fairy tale princesses, particularly of the Disney variety, in spite of horrible trauma and tragedy just simply don’t appear to have the same weaknesses and failings as regular people by suffering the long term effects of those traumatic experiences. I felt like this actually served to distance the character from the reader. I think my approach more accurately examines the likely effects that a life of neglect and abuse (like the one Snow White was forced to endure) would have in real life. It’s the sort of thing that really has the potential to break a person and I wanted to explore that struggle more thoroughly.
Now, the other part of the inspiration, the real world part, was rather personal. In the space of about three or four months back in 2006, both of my grandfathers died unexpectedly. As I observed how hard my grandmothers took their deaths, it led me to wonder on their behalf – “So… Now what?”
They had both had wonderful, loving relationships – many long, happy years together (over 60). Now it was over. It made me wonder, “When your life has been so closely tied up with and centered upon one other person for so long, what do you do when they are no longer a part of your life? How do you pick up the pieces and move forward?” That was the original kernel of the idea for The Reflections of Queen Snow White.
6. Are you a big reader? If so, what are you reading now?
I would say “usually” in answer to that question. I am currently working on my doctorate degree so I don’t have a whole lot of time for pleasure reading these days. At present I am mostly pouring over a fat, heavy textbook on research statistics. When I do have time to read something for fun, it is generally fantasy genre literature. The most recent title I read was George Martin’s first volume of Game of Thrones. I also tend to read a lot of work themed on Japan, (I lived there for nearly a decade). I think James Clavell’s Shogun and Liza Dolby’s The Tale of Murasaki are particularly good, but I try to read lots of different types of writing to expand my literary tool box.
7. Do you have any advice for other aspiring writers?
-Be confident in your craft, but open to criticism.
-Read lots of different writing styles to expand your writing tool-box.
-Be pleased with your work but never satisfied – Always strive to be better on your next piece of writing.
-Enjoy the process – Writing should be about process first and product second. If you fail to enjoy or attempt to rush the process, your work will likely suffer for it.