Book Spotlight and Interview: The Grimm Chronicles, Vol. 2 by Isabella Fontaine and Ken Brosky
The Grimm Chronicles, Vol. 2 by Isabella Fontaine and Ken Brosky
About The Grimm Chronicles: 200 years ago, the Brothers Grimm made a horrible mistake. With the help of a little magic, they brought all of their beloved fairy tales to life. But there was a problem: the longer the fairy tale characters remained on earth, the more Corrupted they became. The big bad wolf. Heroic princes. Millers’ sons. Cinderella. Evil consumed all of them because they didn’t belong. Every generation, a hero emerges to remove the Corrupted and fix the mistake of the Brothers Grimm. Enter: Alice Goodenough, who’s just turned 18 and is about to finish up her junior year of high school. After finding a magic pen in the basement of her library, her happy little life disappears. Now, she hunts down the Corrupted … With a little help from a giant talking rabbit named Briar. http://www.thegrimmchronicles.com/
About the authors: Isabella Fontaine lives a quiet life on a farm in rural Wisconsin. She enjoys reading Grimm’s Fairy Tales and writing on a typewriter, which annoys her cats. This is her first book collection.
Ken Brosky received his MFA from the University of Nebraska-Omaha. He’s written a number of books and regularly publishes short stories. He also helps out at Brew City Press whenever possible. This is his first young adult collection.
I want to thank you for being my guest here on Mymcbooks Blog
Thank you for having me!
What is the last book you read? I started reading “Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore” but only got about halfway through. It felt a bit like an ode to Google’s Awesomeness and started really bugging me. Very subjective opinion, though. From what I understand, it’s a pretty well-liked book.
What was your favorite children’s book? Calvin and Hobbes, no doubt. For a while, I really got into the “Choose Your Own Adventure” books, too. I had Roald Dahl phase, too. Oh, and “White Fang” was a big one for me, too. Made me terrified of wolves for awhile, though.
What were your earliest memories of writing? I used to write and draw comics with my friend when we were really young. We made it a business and sold the comics to our parents. And they bought them, too. We learned early on how to be entrepreneurs. We pocketed a little of the profit, then spent the rest on more comic book paper and special pens to make everything really shine.
Were you encouraged to write or was it something that came natural? My parents thought I was a good writer. That meant a lot. Don’t dismiss the power you have over your kids. All it took to set me on the path to writing was a single compliment from my parents.
Do you generally get a story idea first or does the main character develop first? Usually, the story comes first. Characters tend to come more difficultly. I try to avoid the most common clichés, but that doesn’t mean I’m always successful. To make things interesting, I try to pick and choose qualities from real-life inspirations, then throw all those qualities into a blender and see what it turns into.
What inspired you to write The Grimm Chronicles? We wanted to write a Young Adult series, and we wanted to use the stories of the Brothers Grimm. But we also wanted to explore the hero’s journey in an unconventional way. Also, we wanted to write something that would actually be read by more than a dozen people. And I was getting sick of pouring my heart and soul into writing projects only to see them rejected a hundred times by agents and editors. So we went a different way and haven’t looked back.
What was special about Alice Goodenough, the newest hero of the book? Alice is like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, only she needs to use her brain to think her way out of situations. She’s limited in what she can do with her magic pen because it requires her to have knowledge. So she has to learn. She has to be smart in order to survive.
Are you working on a new book? We’ve been toying around with a science-fiction series, but I’m not going to start it until this series is finished. This is a 12-episode series, and we’ve already released 7. So this entire year will be spent on The Grimm Chronicles.
What is the most difficult part of writing? Staying focused. I can write a couple pages, then my mind starts to wander. It’s really annoying, but that’s the way we’re programmed now, I guess! Still, it has its advantages … writing for hours on end can be a pain in the wrists. So far, the ideas are coming to me pretty easily. And when they don’t, I can always consult the outline.
Let me tell you something about the outline, because it’s pretty important. When an idea hits you, just plot out some basics. Let your mind really wander. Then, once you actually start writing the dang story, you always have something to draw upon when you’re feeling stuck. It’s saved me more than once.
Do you write full time or do you still have a day job? I teach college English classes at various Wisconsin universities. It’s a great job. I don’t think I’d stop even if The Grimm Chronicles was a best-seller.
How do you react to a bad review? Art is subjective. Some people will like something while others will hate it. You can’t let it get to you … unless there’s something specific that you can improve. For instance, we once got a review that pointed out some grammar issues. That was something we could fix (and thought we HAD already fixed before publication), so we went back and fixed it.
But some people just plum won’t like a story. And it’s not anyone’s fault. It’s just a matter of opinion and taste and interest. No big deal. Can’t take those things personally.
What do you hope that readers will take away from your book? That knowledge is power.
Who are some of your favorite authors you would love to dine with? I’ve often thought it would be fun to dine with Ernest Hemingway. But what if he’s in a bad mood? What if he starts drinking a bunch and gets all rowdy and annoying? That would spoil the dinner, I think.
So maybe Stephen King. He seems all right. Still, I haven’t read any of his recent stuff, so what if he asks about it? Then it would get awkward. I’d lie, of course. But then he’d catch me lying and it would get even more awkward. Then what? I’d have to politely excuse myself to the bathroom and make a getaway through the window. But what if he lives in a gated community and I can’t escape? Then I’d have to go ring his doorbell and calmly explain that I was trying to escape his home but the front gate won’t open and could he please open the gate!
As you can see, most writers are quite insane and should eat alone whenever possible.
What author inspires you the most and why? Right now, no one in particular. I need a new author to latch myself onto. The last few books I’ve read have been real disappointing and so now I need to reinvigorate myself and find someone new. If that doesn’t work, I’ll go back to reading P.G. Wodehouse.
What discipline do you impose on yourself regarding schedules, goals, etc.? Write whenever I have a free moment. Utilize my time as efficiently as possible.
What advice would you give parents on selecting the right books for their children to read? Let them pick.
What advice you would give to new writers? Find an editor who can give you a fresh perspective. I wouldn’t have been able to do this without my partner.
Thank you for this interview. No, thank you! Bloggers are the people who make 21st-century literature breathe.
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My name is Ella Johnson. I started Mymcbooks to promote reading. As a former teacher, I know that making basic education fundamentals interesting to children can be challenging. Education can be fun, exciting and captivating for children with the right learning tools. So my goal is to “make learning interesting and fun” for the children while they learn, by introducing them to fun books with colorful and captivating illustrations.
In 2009, I start the giveaway program giving away free school supplies at random to 2 winners each year. I also started a monthly free giveaways for books and gifts.
August 2010, I extended the free school supplies from 2 to 5 winners at random on my blog and also give away 20 bags full of school supplies to familes in need at Chick-fil-A in Brandon, Florida during their family nights. And in 2012, I beat my that number and gave away a lot of school supplies to needy families. Hopefully, I can continue to do this each year.
In 2011, I started writing reviews on children’s books then giving these books away free on Mymcbooks Blog. I increase the number of books we giveaway free to help support parent. My goal is to give away as many as I can each year. This is also a great way to introduce parents to new books.
Mymcbooks blog is always looking for other ways to give kids free books. So I started Mymcbooks Birthday Library http://mymcbooksbirthdaylibrary.wordpress.com/
My goal is to giveaway at least 300 books to children each year.
Books Given in 2011: 315
Books Given in 2012: 380
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Read Interview about Ella Johnson, http://melangeofcultures.wordpress.com/2011/07/31/interview-with-ella-johnson-founder-of-memorable-children-books-gifts/ Interviewer: Nicole Weaver
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