My Thoughts: For those of you who follow my blog you know how much I love fairy tales, and Cinderella happens to be my favorite. I was first drawn to this book because of the title and cool cover. I was excited to see what Melissa did with my favorite fairytale. I thought it was really unique to have two characters named Cinder and Ella instead of just Cinderella. Ella is our main character and she has to go through many obstacles throughout the book to find her happy ending. I’m looking forward to reading this with my little girl when she gets old enough.
I am married and have three beautiful girls. I play three musical instruments—the piano, cello and guitar—and I am so grateful for that ability because music is a huge calming influence in my life. I do have a secret wish, however, to learn two more: the violin and the Native American flute. I like to read, but I LOVE to write. I also love gray, cloudy, stormy, rainy days.
What made you want to write a YA novel, and what inspired Cinder and Ella?
I prefer to read YA novels myself, but I also just love that age group. I really enjoyed that period of my life—even with its challenges—and it is fun to go back once in a while through a character or story. Cinderella was always a character that I related to because she is just a regular girl who is trying to do her best despite everything. I think that when I got older, though, and saw first hand how difficult it is to make it in the real world, my favorite fairy tale began to feel flawed.
What is the hardest part in writing a book? And what did you learn from writing Cinder and Ella?
The hardest part of writing a book for me is rewriting, especially when you get to the tenth draft or so. One of the things I learned from writing Cinder and Ella is that I can write a book in three weeks if I have a good outline and have thought out the plot well. Then I learned it takes me a year and a half to do rewrites.
What do you think of the cover? Did you play a role in choosing the cover?
I love the cover! My publishing company asked for ideas and input. My first idea was to do the main characters and my second idea was to do something with the trees. I am glad that they went with the trees because, along with the title, it gives a clue that there is something different about this Cinderella story.
What three words would you use to describe Cinder and Ella?
Different, fun, meaningful
Cinder and Ella will be released November 8, do you have any teasers for our readers?
“For a time, the family was happy. The father and mother found joy in their daughters, played with them while they were still small, took the time to tuck them in at night, and treated them all as precious jewels. The sisters played together well and grew in friendship and love, with only the occasional sisterly squabble, like when the eldest would rip the youngest daughter’s favorite toy from her hands merely to see her wail. But, as we all know, happiness does not always last. As the sisters grew older, an evil came upon the kingdom. And while they did not know it, the prince who had started the works of darkness would change the fate of their entire lives.”
If Cinder and Ella were to be made into a movie, who would you cast as your characters?
I think I would like to see some new faces, but Claire Danes would make a great Cinder.
Do you have a particular place to write? Do you like peace & quite, or prefer to have music playing?
Peace and quiet! The location doesn’t matter that much, but I do prefer to be alone. Another thing that helps is for my work area and surrounding space to be clean. Writing out in nature is probably my favorite, though; it is more peaceful, helps me clear my head, and is optimal for inspiration.
Who are your favorite authors? Favorite books?
AUTHORS: Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, Lois Lowry, Shannon Hale BOOKS: A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, At the Back of the North Wind by George McDonald, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Can you tell us about any current projects you’re working on?
One of my favorite projects I’m working on is a YA science fiction about a boy who finds a portal to a very strange place.