We’re into the last week of the 2016 2K Indie Book Tour (co-hosted by Kate Evans and myself). Kicking off week three is fantasy/fairy tale author Bill Hoard.
Bill Hoard is possessed of two superpowers: he can sleep almost anywhere at almost any time, and he reflexively forms an opinion on any topic within seconds of hearing a single fact. He writes, teaches, ponders, wonders, teaches a little more, and generally makes a nuisance of himself on social media. He suffers from a debilitating appreciation of pipe smoke, old books, and tweed.
Here, Bill shares a bit about his fairy tale, The Dagger and the Rose:
An adopted princess, a dark stranger, and a kingdom of masked souls. The king brought Iris into his castle when she was only days old, but on her sixteenth birthday she will be swept into an adventure which threatens to uncover or destroy her home, her life, and her very identity.
The Dagger and the Rose is a contemporary take on the great fairy tales. Illustrated in striking water colors, it evokes the wonder of the great bedtime stories.
Now, here’s our interview with Bill:
What was the inspiration behind your book?
I have been a reader of fantasy, myth, and fairy tale for a long time. With The Dagger and the Rose I wanted to take a shot at exploring some of the great mythic themes which are present in some of our most archetypal fairy tales. I have also been following the critique that a lot of our recent pop-culture fairy tales, tend to treat the princess as a flat character who is really just there to be rescued by the heroic prince. Some of the most recent fairy tales (particularly from Disney) have tried to get away from that but they often do it by just shifting the princess into a different role. I wanted to see what would happen if I told a classic fairy tale story entirely from the perspective of the princess. What are her motives and how does she grow, change, and direct the story?
So The Dagger and the Rose is a classic style fairy tale but it breaks with tradition by focusing on the motives, decisions, and agency of the princess.
Those old fairy tales are so often beautifully illustrated (checkout Arthur Rackham’s work on the original Peter Pan stories, you won’t regret it!) that I knew I wanted to have The Dagger and the Rose illustrated as well, but as a poor independent writer, there was no way for me to afford full illustrations up front (Dagger has 12 full page, color illustrations as well as number of woodcut style inserts). I ended up contacting a tremendous up and coming Illustrator (Leah Morrison) who was willing to help me run a successful Kickstarter campaign to fund her work as well as the other costs of publishing a fairy tale.
Who is your favorite character?
My favorite character is Princess Iris. It is her story after all.
What is one thing you want readers to know or “get” about your book?
I really hope that readers are able to see themselves in the main character. I would love for them to really enjoy the classic traditional fairy tale plot and themes through a more nuanced lens.
Who is your ideal reader? Or, who will enjoy your book?
The Dagger and the Rose is for everyone who enjoys fairy tale fantasy. There is some violence in it which may make it a little rough for readers under 10 or so, but as with any classic fairy tale, it is intended for readers of all ages.
What three writing tips do you have for aspiring authors?
First, write what you love. I have found that I can get through a first draft of all sorts of writing but unless I really love what I am working on it is tremendously difficult to come back and give it the polishing a good story deserves. This also entails reading a lot. It is incredibly important to expose yourself to a great diversity of writing, classic and contemporary, fiction and non-fiction, literary and popular, because you never know what you might find yourself jiving with so much that it inspires a new project or takes a current one in a fresh and exciting direction.
Second, if you can, write in a community. I didn’t start really writing well until I got involved in a writers/philosophers/lit-crit group called Pints and Prose with some awesome people who could encourage me, throw ideas out, and hold me accountable to finish sections and re-write or polish rough points. We still meet every other Monday night and I feel like my best work happens on Tuesdays just after a meeting. It was also through my writing/creative community that I was able to get an incredible team (Twelvesteed Productions) to produce the promo video for my Kickstarter campaign. And, of course, it was after a Pints meeting that Ben Y. Faroe asked me to co-author the Hubris Towers series with him. Everything just works better in community.
Third, diversify your projects. I write because I love stories. It is really important to me that I always have a project on deck which I can be excited about working on. This can slow you down (and I’m sure the more disciplined folk out there are shaking their heads) but I think it keeps the writing process fresh. I am a firm believer that well executed projects of passion are always better than well executed projects of pragmatism. Keeping several different projects on board (I write fairy tales, urban fantasy, humor, and a little theology), increases the quality as well as the scope of my work.
Where can readers buy your book?
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-dagger-and-the-rose-bill-hoard/1123108369?ean=9781943383092
Clickworks Press: http://clickworkspress.com/book/daggerandrose
Where can readers learn more about you?
I’m on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/authorbillhoard and twitter https://twitter.com/BaztheFitz . I also just started building my own website http://www.billhoardauthor.com and can be found at Clickworks Press http://clickworkspress.com/author/bill-hoard. The Kickstarter page for the book is still available (the campaign has ended) as well https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1526537734/the-dagger-and-the-rose.