A few days ago on the blog, my sister, Asma, reviewed Diane Zahler’s latest – PRINCESS OF THE WILD SWANS. She absolutely loved it. You can read her full review here. Today, I’m the stop on Diane Zahler’s blog tour! Along with an interview with the author, herself!
Diane Zahler: An unspeakable curse. An impossible task. A princess tested.
IceyBooks: What inspired you to write a retelling?
Diane Zahler: Fairy tales appeal to all sorts of readers, because just about everyone has experienced the feelings of longing and fear they treat. But in their original versions, most are very short. That gives a writer a lot of latitude in developing character, setting, and plot. My previous two books, The Thirteenth Princess and A True Princess, were both fairy tale retellings. The first was based on “The Twelve Dancing Princesses” and the second retold “The Princess and Pea,” along with other Scandinavian legends. So it was natural to choose a third fairy tale to retell, and “The Wild Swans” is one that has always intrigued me.
IceyBooks: Are any of the characters in Princess of the Wild Swans based on someone you know?
Diane Zahler: The handsome womanizing brother, Cullan, might be just a little like my brother at that age. He’d probably have done even better with a cloak and tall boots.
IceyBooks: Has being a writer always been your dream?
Diane Zahler: Always. It’s the only thing I’ve ever really wanted to be, since I was about seven or eight. The jobs I’ve had (except for housecleaner, which I was terrible at) were all about children’s books – library page in the children’s room, editorial assistant at a children’s book publishing company. I feel incredibly lucky that I’m able to do exactly what I dreamed of doing.
IceyBooks: When you finally got The Call from your agent, what was the first thing that came to mind?
Diane Zahler: Actually, I didn’t have an agent when I got The Call – it came from my editor at HarperCollins. She offered me a two-book contract, and I was stunned. I just sat there saying, “I can’t believe it. I can’t believe it.” I still say “I can’t believe it” a lot.
IceyBooks: Can you tell us how you signed with your agent?
Diane Zahler: I got to know the wonderful Jennifer Laughran, my agent, after my first two novels were published. We saw each other at lunches and social events (we live in the same general area) and got along well, but we didn’t really talk business. I spent some time trying to find out if she’d read and liked my books. I thought I was being very subtle. When I finally got up the nerve to ask if she would represent me, she said, “I was wondering when you’d ask!” Subtlety is obviously not one of my strengths.
IceyBooks: What are your hobbies, besides reading and writing?
Diane Zahler: Baking, eating (especially chocolate), and traveling. In fact, I’m going to be living in Belgium for the next six months, and I’ll be traveling and eating the world’s best chocolate nonstop!