First off, thank you so much to Kirsten Fichter for doing this interview with me! Her book (The Rose and the Balloon, which just came out!!!!) sounds amazing, as is her blog. You can find her...
on Twitter on her blog on GoodReads on Pinterest
About Kirsten Fichter:
Kirsten Fichter is a twenty-something Christian writer who is trying to find the balance between being one of six kids, a church pianist, a college student, a movie buff, a disaster in the kitchen, and a writing INFP. If you know what the secret is to balancing all of that, she’d be grateful to hear from you. Otherwise, don’t contact her unless you want to send her homemade gingerbread. Or a new piano book. Or an autographed Charles Dickens novel. In the meantime, she’ll be somewhere under a maple tree – trying very hard to finish the seventeen and half other stories she unwisely started all at once.
The awesome cover!
And now for the interview...
Would you mind giving us an overview of what your upcoming book is about?
The Rose and the Balloon is a slightly steampunk, upside-down version of Beauty and the Beast. It's not specifically a retelling, because I don't follow all the rules for that, but it's a fun adventure that began with roses and hot air balloons. Janelle is the daughter of a lord and is engaged on the spot to a prince when the queen ruins her father's beloved roses. Dmitri is a prince with a secret. And the kingdom goes nuts over roses.
What was the inspiration behind The Rose and the Balloon?
The first spark came from Rooglewood's Fairy Tale contest. In 2014, they announced the title for the Beauty and the Beast retelling, and I knew instantly I was going to write a story for it. While I did finish it in time to enter into the contest, I forgot to send the story in. But after the contest sparked it, the biggest thought in my mind was, "How backwards can I make this be?" I wanted it to be so different than all the other retellings out there.
Books can be hard work! How long did it take you to write it?
In truth? Only about 2 or 3 months. It's not an overly lengthy story (about 20,000 words), so it didn't take very long to write.
Is this novel going to be the first in a series?
That's my hope! *grins* I'd love to write a whole series of slightly steampunk, upside-down fairy tales. I've already been working on writing the second, which is a Sleeping Beauty story, and there are beginning plans for Rapunzel, Swan Lake, and Rumplestiltskin stories as well.
Which character of yours can you relate to the most- or do you see yourself a bit in each of your characters?
I probably relate most to Janelle. I'd consider that I have her loyalty to her family, though we're both really stubborn. Emphasis on really. Other than that, I'd say this was a difficult question to answer. I normally don't try to put myself into my characters. I just end up seeing bits of who I am and who I want to be coming out in all of my favorites.
Have you used any people you know as inspiration for different characters?
Another tough question. But these are really good to make me think. For RatB? I can't think of anyone in particular that I used as inspiration for a character. Queen Maeva was the result of a conglomeration of people that I used to know. My dad was a special education teacher when I was growing up, and after having interactions with the kids he taught, I'd always wanted to write a story that focused on a special needs person. I wanted to make them a real person, too, someone you could enjoy and root for, because essentially, that's who those kinds of people really are.
If your book was made into a movie, who would you like to play in it?
Ooh! The unavoidable question! What's my answer? I HAVE NO IDEA! I don't follow many actors that closely, so give me a minute to go search Pinterest.
I'm choosing these people based on their looks, so don't judge. Dakota Johnson for Janelle. Sebastian Stan for Dmitri. (Korin, I've attached pics of them below if you'd like to include them.)
How long have you enjoyed writing?
I've been writing ever since... well, I first learned to write. I have a story about a lost tooth that I wrote when I was six. But I didn't seriously start writing until I was about 15 years old when I began working on a novel set during the Civil War. It wasn't long after that point that I discovered fantasy and that's been my go-to ever since.
Do you like to listen to any soundtracks while writing, and if so, which ones?
Is the sky blue? I love listening to soundtracks while I write! Which ones? All sorts. Fun fact: I have over 95 hours of just soundtracks loaded onto my computer. Some of my current favorites are (and please note I don't endorse all these movies; I just like the music) HTTYD 1 & 2 by John Powell, Atlantis: The Lost Empire by James Newton Howard, 101 Dalmatians by Michael Kamen, Cinderella by Patrick Doyle, Ever After by George Fenton, Hook by John Williams, The Three Musketeers by Paul Haslinger, and Peter Pan by James Newton Howard. I could keep going. My favorite soundtracks change nearly daily. And for most of my favorite soundtracks, you could play the first 5-30 seconds of a song, and I could identify the track name, track number, album, and composer. Yes, it's a little overkill.
What/who are some of your favorite novels or authors?
I have way too many of both. Charles Dickens, J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Jane Austen, Donita K. Paul, Jules Verne, Jaye L. Knight, E. Nesbit, Lloyd Alexander, Jack Lewis Balliot, Wayne Thomas Batson... there are so many, but there are a few of my favorite authors. Novels? The Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Ilyon Chronicles, Peter Pan, Our Mutual Friend, Little Dorrit, Dombey and Son, Only a Novel, The Loyalty Trilogy, Left Behind, The Wingfeather Saga, Five Little Peppers, Pride and Prejudice, Emma, A Life of Faith: Millie Keith... okay, so most of these are series, but I still think they count.
Just wondering- which do you prefer, e-book, or a printed copy of a book?
PRINT! I mean, e-books are fine and all, but nothing can top a real-life, print book. You can't smell e-books anyway, and smelling them is the best part.
For fun, tell us some random facts about yourself.
I can quote most of the extended film version of The Lord of the Rings (my brother fills in the few parts I forget).
I love gingerbread. And philly cheesesteaks. And jello.
I have four sisters, and I've never ever had a room of my own.
Thanks again for the great interview, Miss Fichter! Check out her book, everyone!