Favorite TV show?
I suppose that would be Chopped on Food Network. I like to cook and grew up working in my Dad’s Restaurant so I know a fair amount about it, but always enjoy learning more and trying new ingredients and cooking styles.
Best movie you’ve seen recently?
I actually haven’t been to a lot of movies lately, so that’s a tough one. I suppose it would have to be “Departures”. It’s a Japanese movie (and Oscar winner) about a cellist whose orchestra disbands forcing him to move back to his hometown in Yamagata Prefecture (near where I lived in Northern Japan for nearly a decade). Quite by accident and desperate to make a living, he ends up working in a funeral home where he prepares dead bodies for funeral and cremation, putting him in conflict with his young wife who thinks it’s creepy. I would characterize it as a dark comedy with a lot of heart and an intimate grasp of traditional Japanese culture. I thought it was great.
Favorite vacation spot?
Related to the above maybe, the best vacation I ever had was in Yunohama, Yamagata, Japan where me and my family stayed at a hot springs spa on the beach. First it was a great road trip (we lived maybe an hour and a half to two hours away) with a lot of fun stops. Once we got there, we spent several days swimming in the ocean then warming back up in the public baths. The food was all provided and EXCELLENT. I’d recommend it to anyone.
Favorite TV show from the 90’s?
It’s got to be Seinfeld. I watched it religiously back in high school and undergrad.
Drink of choice?
Alcoholic would probably be cranberry juice and vodka. Any other time, I drink GALLONS of black coffee.
If I had to pick one, I suppose it would be Sandra Bullock. She’s beautiful but still comes across as approachable and down-to-earth.
Current favorite song?
I really like “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons. I love their name too, so that doesn’t hurt either.
Can you tell us about your book, The Reflections of Queen Snow White, in 15 words or less?
It’s about love, grief, moving on, and rediscovering purpose and hope in a shattered life.
What genre is The Reflections of Queen Snow White?
What was your favorite scene to write?
There is a scene were Snow White is forced to deal with some rebellious courtiers. Up to that point I think she comes across as kind of needy and uber-dependent upon Charming, but in this scene for the first time she really gets to show off her true strength and independence.
What is your favorite quote from The Reflections of Queen Snow White?
I rather like the moment when Snow White finally resolves to flee her stepmother’s grasp and leaves her ancestral holdings. I think it’s about the first time that we see a hint that Snow White did have a little bit of a spark about her and determines to take control of her own destiny. It is a spark that she has sadly forgotten in her grief:
“It was funny really. It seemed so clear now. She had always been nearly petrified of her step mother. Snow White had always feared her down to the deepest fibers of her being, but looking out this dark, open door into the night, shivering with cold and soaked by rain, she realized that she feared Arglist no more.
Arglist’s domain was here, but out there… There in the great and trackless lands beyond the place of Snow White’s birth were a multitude of houses whose walls had never reverberated with Arglist’s indignant shrieking. There were countless mountains and valleys that had never rung with the echoes of her step mother’s furious tantrums. There were carpets and floors that had never been dampened by Snow White’s spilled blood or bitter tears.
Yes, there was danger outside these walls. Yes, there was uncertainty and fear, but there was also freedom. Far across this darkened plain, beyond the sound of Arglist’s shrill voice and the reach of her grasping hands, albeit faintly, Snow White thought she glimpsed the feeble gleam of hope.”
I guess my second choice (strictly in terms of having greatly amused myself while writing it) would be in the scene where Charming has to mediate the asinine bickering of his nobles with Snow White’s. I really like my description of one of the feuding Lords’ ridiculously garish fashion:
“Lord Stolz was the Earl of Schweinefett, a prosperous fief that neighbored both the direct holdings of the King of Geschictia as well as the sea. As a consequence, he was a fabulously rich, immensely fat man. In fact, the prodigious size of his body was surpassed only by the enormity of his overinflated opinion of himself and his own importance.
Snow White did not know him well, (he had been a member of King Justice’s Court, not her own), but could not help thinking he looked a bit like a painted clown today. His face was heavily caked with white make-up and there was a tiny, faux mole painted on at the corner of his mouth. He also wore an impressive powdered wig, which stood atop his head like a tower that a band of rebellious sheep might have constructed to ward off invasion. Every inch of the rest of his bulbous body was cocooned in a blinding array of bright colors, heavy embroidery and a veritable explosion of filigreed silk, satin, and lace. The young princess doubted that she herself had half that much fabric in her entire wardrobe.”
If you could cast anyone to play some of the main characters who would you choose?
I think Rooney Mara (from The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and The Social Network) has the right look and acting chops for Snow White. Diane Kruger (from Inglorious Bastards and the two National Treasure movies) is a blonde, but is German like the original Grimm faerie tale and would probably do a great job too. Nothing a little hair dye couldn’t fix. J For the mirror, perhaps James Earl Jones or Christopher Lee, but definitely someone with a very distinctive voice
What do you want readers to take away from The Reflections of Queen Snow White?
It is very much a story about coming to grips with grief and finding the joy in your life again. I guess what I want people to take away is this central message – It is foolish to despair. There is always hope and you are never as alone as you think you are.
Is this a standalone or will there be a sequel?
It’s a standalone although I’ve had requests from a number of people asking me to do similar stories on other faerie tale princesses. I’m not certain that I really want to do that, but it’s something to at least consider for the future.
Did any music help inspire you to write The Reflections of Queen Snow White?
Not specifically, but I think Johnny Cash’s “Hurt” captures exactly the right tone – the same sort of melancholic despair and loneliness and regret that is choking Snow White at the beginning of the story.
Are you currently working on anything else?
Actually I have a HUGE project that I started way back in 2004 that is nearly complete. It is the first three volumes (Though I will be releasing them separately) of an epic fantasy series and is based upon Japanese mythology and legend. Here’s a brief synopsis:
On the happiest day of the year, Taro’s world ends.
His people and his family are slaughtered. His lands are brutally laid to waste by merciless, imperial forces. Taro is certain that neither he nor the ghosts of his lost loved ones can rest until he has visited the same devastation tenfold upon the heads of the vile collaborators. Consumed with grief for the fallen and guilt at his own survival, he gathers his scattered people and solemnly vows bloody revenge on the allies of the Emperor in the neighboring barony.
At the same time, young Naomi, cherished daughter of the doting Lord of Numanodai, is blissfully unaware of the chaotic world spinning out of control all around her. She fervently studies the arts of dance, music, and poetry as she dreams of being accepted into the distant imperial court. However, when disaster visits her very doorstep and she loses everything that she holds dear, Naomi must learn what it truly means to be a woman and a ruler. She must come to grips with her own gnawing grief and paralyzing doubt if she is to have any chance of saving her beaten and bedraggled people from Taro’s unreasoning fury.
In the process, both she and her pursuer discover a magical world of vengeful akuma demons, fierce kitsune fox-people, droll tanuki badger-folk, and the mysterious, arcane power of the ikioi. Taro and Naomi must decide whether to use this power for healing or destruction, revenge or redemption. They must choose whether to react to their pain and loss with wrath or with love. In the end, both must come to understand that the only thing that really makes them different is the choices they make and what they are willing to sacrifice in attaining that which they desire.
I’m hoping to release the first volume, Shirobara Falls, sometime next year. J
What is currently in your TBR pile?
Next has to be Catching Fire. I’ve been ordered to hurry and get through it. My wife really wants to go see that movie over Christmas Break and insists I read it first, which is probably a good idea anyway. I’m also really far behind on Tad William’s Otherland series. I really liked the first book, but haven’t made the time to read the rest yet.