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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Interview with Liesl Shurtliff, author of Red: The True Story of Red Riding Hood

Each of your books offers readers a spin on a classic tale. How do you decide which stories to retell? Do you find you focus more on the main characters of the classics or the overall story?  
I feel like I stumbled upon these fairytales, rather than consciously choosing them. My first idea for Rump actually had nothing to do with Rumpelstiltskin. I got this idea to create a world where names are your destiny, and then I connected that idea to the tale of Rumpelstiltskin, as his name is very key to that story. Jack and Red both came to me as I was writing Rump. I find that I focus more on the characters as I write, what they’re thinking and feeling. For me, all story flows from character, their desires and their choices.  

 Tell me a little bit about your writing process: Do you outline? Start at the beginning? The middle? The end?  
My process is probably not really a process, more like a free-for-all. I love the promise of possibilities at the beginning of a story and I don’t want to limit myself too soon. I outline just enough to get a basic structure of the story and then I start writing. I usually start at the beginning, but don’t necessarily write chronologically. I skip around and discover a lot as I go. It’s not the most economical way to write; I frequently write myself into corners and have to backtrack, but it’s what works for me.

Inspiration comes in many forms. Share three people, places, or things that inspire your creativity.  
1. My family

2. The mountains and nature in general

3. Delicious food

My blog is dedicated to my personal hiding spot, books. Name a notable book that provided you with a hiding spot.  
The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner. This was my first favorite book and I read it many time. I still have my childhood copy and I love it even though the cover has been torn off.

What can readers look forward to next?  
I’m currently working on a Snow White retelling, but told from the perspective of one of the seven dwarves. It’s a viewpoint I felt was missing from this story and I’m having a blast writing it.

About the Author

Liesl Shurtliff was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah, with the mountains for her playground. Just like Rump, Liesl was shy about her name, growing up. Not only did it rhyme with weasel, she could never find it on any of those personalized key chains in gift shops. But over the years she’s grown to love having an unusual name—and today she wouldn’t change it for the world!

Before she became a writer, Liesl graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in music, dance, and theater. She now lives in Chicago with her husband and three young children, where she still dreams of the mountains. Rump was her first novel. 
About the Book
"Red is the most wonder-filled fairy tale of them all!”—Chris Grabenstein, New York Times Bestselling author of Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library.

Red is not afraid of the big bad wolf. She’s not afraid of anything . . . except magic.
But when Red’s granny falls ill, it seems that only magic can save her, and fearless Red is forced to confront her one weakness.

With the help of a blond, porridge-sampling nuisance called Goldie, Red goes on a quest to cure Granny. Her journey takes her through dwarves’ caverns to a haunted well and a beast’s castle. All the while, Red and Goldie are followed by a wolf and a huntsman—two mortal enemies who seek the girls’ help to defeat each other. And one of them just might have the magical solution Red is looking for. . .

Liesl Shurtliff weaves a spellbinding tale, shining the spotlight on a beloved character from her award-winning debut, Rump. 


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