May 6, 2012

Interview: Sarah Cross

I recently had the chance to interview Sarah Cross, author of Kill Me Softly (now in stores!) She's an awesome woman who adore fairytale as much as I do and also has a lot of book on her TBR list that I do.

1. Were you a big fan of fairy tales as a child? Which were your favorites?
I was! Hmm, favorites ... I liked "Cinderella" because the art was so pretty. I had a big book of Disney fairy tales, and "Cinderella" was illustrated by Mary Blair. Talk about gorgeous! And I was a big fan of the bad kid fairy tales, like "Goldilocks and the Three Bears" and "Jack and the Beanstalk." I guess I was less interested in happily-ever-afters at that age, and more interested in breaking into someone's house, busting up their furniture, eating their porridge, complaining about it, stealing their treasures and getting off scot-free. For the record, my favorites have changed since then.

2. Where did you get the idea for Kill Me Softly?
I had wanted to write a fairy tale novel for a long time, and there was one fairy tale in particular that I wanted to retell. It took me years to figure out how I wanted to retell it, and then one minor piece of the story clicked, and I started to build on that. I know that's really vague, but it's hard for me to talk about this book's inception without spoiling it. But if I look further back, I think the books that really got me interested in the idea of retelling fairy tales were Tanith Lee's Red as Blood, Anne Sexton's Transformations, Angela Carter's The Bloody Chamber, Robert Coover's Briar Rose, and Spells of Enchantment edited by Jack Zipes, just because they opened up so many possibilities, and made me look at fairy tales in an entirely new way.

3. Describe Kill Me Softly in 10 words or less.
What if your life was like a fairy tale?

4. If you could rename your book, what would you pick?
I chose the title before I'd written a word of the actual book, so I can't imagine any other title except this one. It's been a part of the story for so long! I guess I'm lucky I got to keep it, because I didn't have a list of back-up titles ready.

5. What books are you most looking forward to reading in 2012?
Black Heart, the third book in Holly Black's Curse Workers series, which is a very imaginative retelling of the fairy tale "The White Cat." Diana Peterfreund's For Darkness Shows the Stars. Sarah Rees Brennan's Unspoken. Malinda Lo's Adaptation. Barry Lyga's I Hunt Killers. Grave Mercy by R.L. LaFevers. This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers.

6. Are you a book buyer or a book borrower?
Both, but I use the library a lot. I love libraries. Going to the library is like being sent into a store full of things you love, and being told, "You just won a shopping spree. Take anything you want. Take everything you can carry and bring it home." Sure, you have to return the books in a few weeks, but you can always check them out again.

7. What are your "must-haves" while writing?
Tea and my laptop. If I have those two things, I'm good.

8. What were your first thoughts when you saw the cover of Kill Me Softly?
The first cover I saw was just a comp, so it didn't have the font with the thorns and the vines, but I thought the bloody rose concept was really cool and fitting for the book. I had asked for something traditionally beautiful but also unsettling, and the designer definitely delivered. I also really liked that it had a "painting the roses red"/Alice in Wonderland feel to it. It said "fairy tale" to me in a modern way.

Thanks for having me, Hannah!

Fairytale art by Mary Blair:


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