Author Chat with Gail Carson Levine (Ogre Enchanted), Plus Giveaway! ~ (US Only)
Today we're excited to chat with Gail Carson Levine author of
Read on for more about Gail and her book, plus an giveaway!
Meet Gail Carson Levine!
Gail Carson Levine's first book for children, Ella Enchanted, was a Newbery Honor Book. Levine's other books include Ever, a New York Times bestseller; Fairest, a Best Book of the Year for Publishers Weekly and School Library Journal, and a New York Times bestseller; Dave at Night, an ALA Notable Book and Best Book for Young Adults; The Wish; The Two Princesses of Bamarre; A Tale of Two Castles; and the six Princess Tales books. She is also the author of the nonfiction books Writing Magic: Creating Stories That Fly and Writer to Writer: From Think to Ink, as well as the picture books Betsy Who Cried Wolf and Betsy Red Hoodie. Gail Carson Levine and her husband, David, live in a two-centuries-old farmhouse in the Hudson Valley of New York State.
Meet Ogre Enchanted!
Set in the world of the Newbery Honor-winning Ella Enchanted, this tale by beloved author Gail Carson Levine stars a clever heroine who is determined to defy expectations—and outwit a fairy’s curse.
Evie is happiest when she is healing people, diagnosing symptoms and prescribing medications, with the help of her devoted friend (and test subject) Wormy. So when Wormy unexpectedly proposes to her, she kindly turns him down; she has far too much to do to be marrying anyone. And besides, she simply isn’t in love with him.
But a certain meddling fairy named Lucinda has been listening in, and she doesn’t approve of Evie’s rejection. Suddenly, Evie finds herself transformed from a girl into a hideous, hungry ogre!
Stuck in this new and confusing form, Evie now has only sixty-two days to accept another proposal—or else be stuck as an ogre forever.
~ Author Chat ~
YABC: What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
I’ve long wanted to retell “Beauty and the Beast,” and Ogre Enchanted is based on a gender-reversed variant called “The False Prince and the True.” In both “Beauty and the Beast” and the alternate, the beast lucks out by discovering on the first try the perfect love. In both, he or she never has to choose between marrying someone who doesn’t suit or remaining a monster forever–between regaining a human form or maintaining self-respect. I wanted to explore that, and I was delighted that I figured out a way to do it in a prequel to Ella Enchanted .
YABC: What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?
A moment more than a scene. It’s when Evie saves herself from being eaten by an ogre by announcing that the ogre has a toothache. I’m happy about it because it’s such an unexpected escape from the fangs closing in on her throat. And story elements that I set up without anticipating this moment come together. The reader knows Evie’s a healer, and of course ogres don’t floss or brush their teeth. It makes perfect sense that their teeth would be bad. Plus, it’s funny, and I love to be funny.
YABC: Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now?
These are lessons that I have to relearn with every book: that writing requires reserves of patience, that I have to put up with the slowness of my process, that my inner doubts are not helpful and not to be listened to, that I’ve done this before and I can do it again. Each one is the most important lesson!
YABC: What do you like most about the cover of the book?
I love the cover! And I love so many things about it, like the way it seems to sparkle and the gold lettering. But most of all I love the drama, which suggests that the figure is about to whirl and bare her fangs in a horrible grin.
YABC: What’s up next for you?
My historical novel, A Ceiling Made of Eggshells , about the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492 will be out in May. I did a lot of research into the period and events that led up to the expulsion. It’s ancient family history on my father’s side, and I wanted to understand it.
And I’ve just started work on a new fantasy, this one based on the Trojan War in Greek mythology. I’m especially interested in the character of Cassandra, who had the gift of prophecy and the curse of never being believed. What would it be like to see the future? How would it feel again and again to fail to avert disaster?
YABC: Which was the most difficult or emotional scene to narrate?
For a funny book there’s a lot of heartache in Ogre Enchanted . It is awful to be turned into an ogre while retaining enough humanity to disgust and horrify yourself. In this form, Evie falls for the conniving merchant Peter, who dupes her into believing that he loves her back despite her appearance, her stink, and her diet. The moment when she realizes that he doesn’t really care for her is very sad, and I had a lump in my throat the whole time I wrote it.
YABC: Which character gave you the most trouble when writing your latest book?
Wormy, I guess, who has to be seen to change and grow even though he isn’t present for much of the book.
YABC: Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: Drafting or Revising?
Revising, by far. Plot is the most important story element for me. Character is super important, too, but secondary, according to my hierarchy. However, plot doesn’t come easily or naturally to me, so I struggle with the first draft. As soon as I type The End , I’m flooded with relief. My only job after that is to shine up the manuscript. The biggest change I always make is to cut. I don’t think I’ve ever written a novel that I didn’t put on at least a two-hundred page diet before it was all over. (I add pages, too, in the process, but the result is always a slimmer book.) And I polish my paragraphs and sentences and even words, which I love to do. I consult usage books–it’s heaven!
YABC: What would you say is your superpower?
Flying. And being invisible. And seeing through solid rock. Those are my superpowers.
YABC: Is there an organization or cause that is close to your heart?
I support The Lisa Libraries, which was begun by kids’ book author Ann Martin and which provides free children’s books to nonprofit organizations across the country.
By: Gail Carson Levine
Release Date: October 16th, 2019
One winner will receive a copy of Ogre Enchanted (Gail Carson Levine) ~ (US Only)
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