Interview with Kristina Wojtaszek, author of Opal

Publisher: World Weaver Press

Publish Date: December 18, 2012

Order From:  Amazon / Barnes & Noble

Synopsis: White as snow, stained with blood, her talons black as ebony...

In this retwisting of the classic Snow White tale, the daughter of an owl is forced into human shape by a wizard who’s come to guide her from her wintry tundra home down to the colorful world of men and Fae, and the father she’s never known. She struggles with her human shape and grieves for her dead mother—a mother whose past she must unravel if men and Fae are to live peacefully together.

Trapped in a Fae-made spell, Androw waits for the one who can free him. A boy raised to be king, he sought refuge from his abusive father in the Fae tales his mother spun. And when it was too much to bear, he ran away, dragging his anger and guilt with him, pursuing shadowy trails deep within the Dark Woods of the Fae, seeking the truth in tales, and salvation in the eyes of a snowy hare. But many years have passed since the snowy hare turned to woman and the woman winged away on the winds of a winter storm leaving Androw prisoner behind walls of his own making—a prison that will hold him forever unless the daughter of an owl can save him.

Author Interview: 1. Please tell us about your current release

Opal is the story of two lost souls trying to riddle out their pasts and futures while navigating through the mysteries of the world of Fae. Fae are often more animal than human, but more sentient as well. They are creatures of fairy tale and myth… or so the world of man would like to think. Along these separate paths to understanding the magic of their existence, a new version of the Snow White tale is told, and it's anything but what you might expect.

2. How did you come up with the idea for your book? / 3. Can you tell us about the journey that led you to write your book?

I was really into reading the old versions of fairy tales at the time, and as I read the Grimm's Snow White, I marveled at all the little details that have been lost to the popular Snow White tale as we know it today. One of the most inspiring was the mention of three birds coming to mourn over Snow White's casket; an owl, a raven and a dove. I wondered what those specific creatures might represent in the story, and decided to come up with new roles for them. That led to doing away with the seven dwarfs, and designing a race of humanoids that could shape shift into various wildlife, which I called the Fae. After that, the story came together in ways that surprised even me! (If you're into fairy tale research, you can read more about Opal's ties to various versions of Snow White retellings here:

4. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything about the book?

You know, as I reread Opal for the 50th time during line edits, I kept finding myself grinning, seeing all the little surprises that were in store for the reader and just loving it! That's how I knew it was really ready for publication, and I really can't think of a single thing I'd change.

5. What was the hardest part of writing your book.

The hardest part for me was giving myself enough distance to really do good, critical editing. I think it's a knee jerk reaction to glare at revisions and editor concerns at first, but every bit of it, in the end, made Opal so much stronger.

6. Do you have a musical playlist you listen to when writing? If so, what kind of music?

I used to have a rule that I would only ever listen to non vocal music while working (I thought words would be too distracting). So, while writing Opal I listened to a lot of instrumental music from various movie soundtracks, including Whale Rider, The Green Mile, The Chronicles of Narnia, Backdraft, and many more. I also found some interesting New Age music from India that I really enjoyed. But it really depends on the book, and even the quality of the scene I'm writing. Right now, I'm breaking my rule and listening to a lot of Pop and Alternative music, with plenty of lyrics, while working on my new SciFi novel. Whatever clicks with the emotional quality of the work I'm doing, I listen to.

7. What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

I write a lot in my head. There was a time when I wasn't brave enough to call myself a real writer, or to pursue writing for publication, but I could never fully devoid myself of creating stories. So I did it in secret. I guess you could call it daydreaming. Now I pursue daydreaming on purpose, and I even pretend to be sleeping sometimes so that I can work out a scene in my mind over and over again. I commit important details to memory as best I can so that daily life won't get in the way of what I want to put down, even if I can't work in any writing time for several days.

8. Do you plan any subsequent books?

I am working on a sequel to Opal called Obsidian. Obsidian continues in the world of Fae, but in the far future, where the story of Opal is little more than legend. It's also a retelling of another classic fairy tale, but you'll have to wait to find out which one!

9. Please tell us your latest news.

Aside from Obsidian, my latest obsession I'm working on is a SciFi novel that dabbles in romance. I can't get my mind off of it, and I hope to be finishing it up in the next few months.

10. Do you have anything specific you want to say to your readers?

Yes! Guys, I know the cover is really feminine, and it's a Snow White retelling, but we aren't talking Disney princesses here. In fact, Opal is written from two points of view, one of those being that of a young man who escapes an abusive father, strikes out on his own, learns wilderness survival skills, and even starts a war. So dudes, if you're into fantasy and adventure, you should totally snag the book for your wife, girlfriend, sister, daughter, whoever… and when you see it lying around on her night stand, take a peek. I promise, I won't tell!


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