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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Interview with Mette Ivie Harrison, author of THE ROSE THRONE

Today we welcome back Mette Ivie Harrison, author of the "The Princess and..." series of books and the upcoming The Rose Throne, among others.
Make sure to stop back tomorrow, when I'll be unveiling an exclusive "prelude" to The Rose Throne, and then join us again on Thursday, when I'll be sharing my thoughts on The Rose Throne and giving you a chance to snag a copy!

As much as we may love any particular tale, each has its own "problematic" aspects (for me, I can't get over the fact that Prince Charming has to find Cinderella, the glorious love of his life, by matching up her feet. I mean, really?). Which problematic aspect of a tale really gets under your skin?

Beauty and the Beast has always bothered me because the message can be read as encouraging women to stay in an abusive relationship because they are supposed to magically turn "beasts" into "men" worthy of love. On the other hand, it's a very powerful story and one I've retold in my own way (The Princess and the Hound) without any of those overtones.

You've written a number of fairy tale retellings and fairy tale-esque stories - what made you fall in love with fairy tales--and decide to write them?

I think that all stories are retellings on one level or another. It's just a question of whether or not the author is aware of the influence at work, and admits it. That said, my mother was one of those women who read to her children tirelessly. And I do mean tirelessly. She had 11 children and by the time I was born, she was 40. Still, she read to me every night and I used to poke her awake to finish the stories. Those early years set certain stories in my mind and I think they come out even when I don't intend them to.

Are there any tales that you would really like to retell but haven't yet, or any that you wouldn't touch with a ten-foot pole?

I would still really love to do a Cinderella retelling. I think that Cinderella is the quintessential American fairy tale, all about working hard and being rewarded for that with wealth and a good marriage. Of course, I want to twist it all up and make it a lot more complicated, but that's what I do.

Which fairy tale would you most like to spend 24 hours inside of, and which the least?

I think I always wanted to be one of the twelve dancing princesses, mostly because I am really self-conscious while dancing, which of course makes me an even worse dancer than I already am, and that's pretty bad.

If you could merge any two fairy tales (introduce the characters, combine the worlds, etc), which would they be and what would result?

I'd love to see Jack (of Jack and the Beanstalk) meet up with the Beast from Beauty and the Beast. I suspect Jack would win, but that's just me.

Someone gives you a key ring and says you can open any door you want, save one. Then they leave you alone with all those keys and doors. What do you do?

I tend to be a very cautious person. I doubt I would open that door the first day or the next day. But if you give me enough days, I might eventually work up the courage.

You have a fairy godmother who is granting you one perfect day: what does that entail?

A great triathlon race, followed by a big lunch with my family, a nap, and then time alone to read a new book by a favorite author like Lois McMaster Bujold, Megan Whalen Turner, or Robin Hobb.

Your favorite obscure (or less well-known) fairy tale?

The Happy Prince by Oscar Wilde is a favorite of mine. I have recently regained an appreciation for all of Oscar Wilde's fairy tales: The Selfish Giant, The Nightingale and the Rose, among them.

Most overrated fairy tale?

I don't really think there are any overrated fairy tales. As soon as you think one has been done too many times, someone will come up with a completely new angle and make it fresh all over again.

This or That:
- Seven League Boots or Glass Slippers?
Seven-League Boots definitely. Glass slippers seem like a huge problem logistically. I mean, what if they break? I like my feet and I need them to run on.
- Castle or Cottage?
I guess I'm more of a hermit and would prefer a cottage to a castle anyday. Though if the castle had internet and the cottage didn't, I might change my mind . . .
- Talking Birds or Talking Mice?
I have an unnatural fear of mice which makes my husband laugh. One year, I could hear a mouse chewing on our bathroom door at night and I could not go to sleep for hours, until I got up and put a pillow under the door, which didn't do anything other than make me feel better.
- Hans Christian Andersen or the Brothers Grimm?
Hmm. Both are a bit moralistic for my tastes. Can I choose Oscar Wilde instead?
I think we'll allow that. ;)

Would You Rather:
- have a prince who makes out with your, um...corpse, essentially, or a prince who can only remember who you are by your shoe size?
I guess I'd have to pick the corpse. I think we tend to have a weird fixation about the moment of death and what that means. The reality is that many cultures treat the dead differently than we do and don't have that ickiness associated with corpses at all.
- ride in a pumpkin carriage (sticky) or climb a hair-rope (tiring) to get where you're going?
Oh, I think a pumpkin carriage would be very interesting to ride in. I don't mind getting dirty, either. I'm considering trying one of those Mudder races soon.
- drink an Alice-ish "Drink Me" potion or eat part of a witch's gingerbread house?
I have a terrible sweet tooth. Gingerbread house--yes!
- be able to spin straw into gold or have precious gems drop from your lips when you speak?
Straw into gold. I actually love quilting, knitting, crocheting, and other needlework. Plus, I think I'd prefer to use my lips for speaking alone.

Thanks for stopping by Fairy Tale Fortnight again, Mette! 
For the rest of you, make sure you stop back for my review of The Rose Throne, as well as some exclusive and a giveaway!

Click here to go back to the Fairy Tale Fortnight Main Page,
where you can access the schedule! Or go here to get involved!
Credit to these awesome Deviants for our button [ 12 & 3]!


  1. Excellent answers! I think I'd pick a castle, secret passage ways and all. But I love the idea of slipping into the story of the 12 dancing princesses! Great idea! I had no idea Oscar Wilde wrote fairy tales. So much I don't know about fairy tales.
    Can't wait to read something by Mettie Ivie!


  2. I love people that are in to crafts and I love fairy tale books. She had some great answers.

  3. I love fairy tales! I think I would rather have the prince that only knew me by my shoe size, as unlikely as that is.

  4. Very lovely interview :) I enjoyed the Would You Rather Q and A.

  5. I'm sorry but you and Mette are taking classic tales too literally. Cinderella is about overcoming obstacles and finding love. Beauty and the Beast is about seeing true beauty beyond just your skin/face. Also in B&B she stood up for herself when it came to the Beast so I don't get how that suggests she was ok with an abusive relationship. She went to save her father not hang on to an abusive pseudo-boyfriend.

    Anyway this was still a good interview and the book sounds quite intriguing.


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