Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
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A trilogy of alternative fairytales & retellings for YA readers. Meet Creepy the unknown 8th dwarf and learn the truth about Snow White. Discover a teen princess who hires The Frog Prince witch to get revenge on a Mean Girl at school. And learn what happens when a man who lives high above ground encounters a boy thief named Jack!
TaleSpin is a new twist on old fairy tales.
Enter after the Excerpt for you chance to win a prize pack from TaleSpins author Michael Mullin.
Interview with Author Michael Mullin
Can you talk a little about what the book is about?
TaleSpins is a collection of three alternative fairytale retellings. 8 tells of the previously unknown 8th dwarf (nicknamed Creepy) who affects the Snow White story we all thought we knew. In The Plight and Plot of Princess Penny, a teen princess hires a witch to get revenge on a Mean Girl at school. And the final story, Jack’d, is a modern, urban, fantastical retelling of a giant who meets a boy thief (with beans, but no stalk!)
Where did you get the idea for the book?
While working at Disney I wrote two sequel stories to Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas (the rhyming picture book that inspired the movie). I met with Burton and got his approval for both stories, but they were never published. 8 was meant to be my original follow-up for that same nearly-all-ages Nightmare audience. After waiting a long time, I decided to write two more stories and go my own way with TaleSpins.
How long did it take to write the book?
It was over a decade spread out over the calendar, but it was a project that got shelved and resurfaced over and over again. Once I made the commitment to write the second and third stories and print the collection, it all came together in a little over a year.
Who is your favorite character, or what character was the most fun to write?
Although I have soft spots for Creepy and Princess Penny, I think the doctor in Jack’d is the most interesting to me because he and I share the same adult perspective on things. I also created him to live beyond that story and take on a continuing, yet-to-be-revealed role within the TaleSpins brand.
Can you talk about how you wrote it? Did you do any outlining? Did it take you in any unexpected directions?
I still write longhand, which people find interesting, and I use a red pencil, which people find odd. I sketch stories out and then, for this book, there was the crafting into rhyming verse, which took some time. Unexpected directions for me usually involve characters who are too passive. Lighting a fire under them and seeing what they might do and what happens as a result is an interesting challenge.
How did you come up with the cover?
The image of Creepy’s eyes looking up through the floorboards has become a kind of brand image. It comes from the eBook cover (and now print book title page) for that story. I used that and replaced the wall section with a simple title graphic (also created by the artist) against a graded background.
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I liked the idea in high school, but didn’t take it seriously until sophomore year in college when I switched my major from Economics to English. Back then I was focused more on film, but that was a turning point for sure.
What are you favorite books and authors?
I’m a little all over the place in my reading. Back when I began to take writing seriously, I was influenced by books like The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera, A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving and Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice (back when vampires were actually cool, unlike now.) I’m also a bit of a Hamlet geek.
What are you working on next?
I have a middle-grade novel, a humorous, sci-fi adventure, that’s ready to go once I get a few pieces of art together. In addition to that, the first TaleSpins story, 8, is going to be published as a comic book. Both of those titles are due in the first part of 2014.
What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Learn the business side of publishing as well as the craft itself. The industry is on its ear and changing constantly. By becoming experts in the new ways of marketing and promotion, authors can take advantage of the turbulence (chaos?) and better position themselves to succeed. That said, be a brutal self-editor and write a good book, too!
The stories we pass down from parent to child
Were once realistic, but somehow turned mild.
We tweak and revise and when all else fails
We choose to omit certain crucial details,
Until they’re forgotten, and nobody knows
How a story originally, truthfully goes.
Take Snow White for example, a popular tale
With plenty of unpleasant truths to unveil.
For instance, I’d wager that you didn’t know
Seven lived in that cottage
~ while one lived below.
- 1 of 3 T-shirt designs
- a set of 3 art prints
- a Print Pack: 2 bookmarks/2 stickers & 3 postcards (1 of each story design)
- The Larry Gets Lost picture book of their choosing (signed)
Open worldwide! Enter through Rafflecopter. Entry dates are 10/28/13 at 12 AM Eastern Time – 11/12/13 at 12 AM Eastern Time.