Sunday, February 23, 2014

Giveaway and Interview: The Reflections of Queen Snow White

The Reflections of Queen Snow White
What happens when "happily ever after" has come and gone? On the eve of her only daughter, Princess Raven's wedding, an aging Snow White finds it impossible to share in the joyous spirit of the occasion. The ceremony itself promises to be the most glamorous social event of the decade. Snow White’s castle has been meticulously scrubbed, polished and opulently decorated for the celebration. It is already nearly bursting with jubilant guests and merry well-wishers. Prince Edel, Raven's fiancé, is a fine man from a neighboring kingdom and Snow White's own domain is prosperous and at peace. Things could not be better, in fact, except for one thing: The king is dead. The queen has been in a moribund state of hopeless depression for over a year with no end in sight. It is only when, in a fit of bitter despair, she seeks solitude in the vastness of her own sprawling castle and climbs a long disused and forgotten tower stair that she comes face to face with herself in the very same magic mirror used by her stepmother of old. It promises her respite in its shimmering depths, but can Snow White trust a device that was so precious to a woman who sought to cause her such irreparable harm? Can she confront the demons of her own difficult past to discover a better future for herself and her family? And finally, can she release her soul-crushing grief and suffocating loneliness to once again discover what "happily ever after" really means? Only time will tell as she wrestles with her past and is forced to confront The Reflections of Queen Snow White.

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interview with Blkosiner's Book Blog
--The Twitter version: tell us about your book in 140 characters or less.
A timeless tale of love, loss, grief and finding hope and direction again once the “happily ever after” ends.

--How did you get the idea for the story?
Well, I think to properly answer this question, you should really know something about where I was emotionally back in 2006 when I originally wrote the short story upon which The Reflections of Queen Snow White is based. In the space of about three or four months, both of my grandfathers died unexpectedly. During the same period, my wife also lost a grandmother and a grandfather, so there where a lot of funerals going on over a very short amount of time. Now funerals, by their very nature lead to a certain amount of introspection about one’s own mortality, but particularly with the sudden passing of both grandfathers and, as a consequence, how hard my grandmothers took their deaths, it led me to wonder on their behalf – “So… What now?”
They had both had wonderful, loving relationships – many long, happy years together (over 60 years). In the case of my maternal grandmother and grandfather, they had never loved anyone else, having married straight out of high school. There was no question in my mind, nor indeed anyone who knew them, that theirs had most certainly been a real-life “happily ever after”. Now it was over. It made me wonder, “When your life has been so closely tied up with and centered upon one other person for so long, what do you do when they are no longer a part of your life? How do you pick up the pieces and move forward?” That was the original kernel of the idea for The Reflections of Queen Snow White.
--Which character would you most/least like to have dinner with?
At the beginning of the story at least, I don’t think dinner with Snow White would be much fun, but that’s really the point. She is so wrapped up in her own grief and depression, she has forgotten how to live. The Reflections of Queen Snow Whiteis really about her emotional journeyto find herself again and rediscover joy.
--Do you have any other works in progress? Any teasers or release dates?
As a matter of fact, yes.I have a HUGE project I started WAY back in 2004 that is nearly complete. I lived in Japan for about a decade so I have drawn on that experience to craft a fantasy series based upon Japanese myth, legend and folklore, rather than the European model that is so prevalent in fantasy literature today. Originally it was a 406,000 word behemoth, but I've edited it down to three volumes that are between 95,000 and 120,000 words each. Here's a 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.
--What book(s) is your book’s “cousin”? (Similar kind of read,set-up or style)
Hmm… Well I suppose the easy answer is Snow White and the Seven Dwarves by The Brothers Grimm since my novel is heavily based on that story – rather like a sequel, in fact. However, I’m not really aware of another take on this faerie tale that uses quite the same approach as The Reflections of Queen Snow White. Maybe I’m just woefully under-read, but I’d like to think my work is unique in that regard. J
--What are some of your favorite books? Do you still have much time to read?
I try to make as much time as I can for reading, although I don’t have nearly as much time as I used to. I feel like a good author should constantly be honing their craft and a great way to do that is by reading the work of people who put out great books. I try to read a variety of genres so that I can pick up lots of different conventions and devices to put in my personal “writing tool box”.
Some of my favorite books would be the Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn trilogy by Tad Williams, Watership Down by Richard Adams, Shogun by James Clavell, and The Stand by Steven King, but I read a little of everything. Lately, I’ve really been trying to check out the work of other independent authors and support their efforts.

--If a fairy godmother told you could be put into the world of your favorite book for 24 hours, which book would you pick and why?
You know, I hope you don’t take this as a cop-out sort of an answer, but I think my response to that is - I don’t need a fairy godmother to put me into the world of my favorite books. Whenever I read them, I’m there and I think that is just part of the magic of reading. It sucks you in and permeates your being far more than even a really good movie, play or TV show can. You can’t get much more real than playing a tale inside your own head, so yeah… When I read, I’m always there.

--Do you need anything to write (music, coffee, etc)? Are there any songs on your playlist- songs that inspired you or that were playing while you wrote?
Well, I do drink gallons of black coffee and music really helps me work. I listen to a variety of different things but always try to play music that fits the tone of whatever I’m writing to put me in the right mindset. For example, when I was writing battle scenes for my next novel (Shirobara Falls) I listened to a lot of Japanese death metal and hardcore rap. For The Reflections of Queen Snow White I listened to things more like Bjork or Evanescence or just really sad instrumental music.

--If you could have any superpower what would you choose?
It may be cliché, but flying. It would sure beat my hour-long commute to and from work every day! J

--Besides writing, what do you like to do in your free time?
I do read when I can. For example, right now I’m hurrying to get through Catching Fire, for my wife. She wants me to read it before we go see the movie. Also, I’ve been kind of lazy about it since last summer, but I do really enjoy weight training and working out. There’s just something really nice about doing something that keeps your body occupied but leaves your brain free to think on other things. Besides, it’s good for me. I usually coach swimming in the summers too.
--What is one thing you would tell your 15 year old self?
Don’t worry. It gets better.

Lightning round: this or that?
Vanilla or chocolate?Chocolate
Video or Board Games?Video
Summer or Winter?Summer
Edward or Jacob?Jacob
Hockey or soccer?Soccer
Ebook or paper?Maybe ironically, but paper
Salty or sweet? Salty
Beach or mountains? Mountains
Phone call or email?E-mail
Early bird or night owl?Before I had kids, night owl.Now… Well… I just don’t sleep. J
Dog or cat?Dog
Messy or neat?Messy
Ninjas or pirates? Of course, ninjas!

--Is there anything else you want to add or say to your readers?

Just that I hope you’ll all go on Amazon and buy a Kindle copy of The Reflections of Queen Snow White right away AND send it as a gift to all the book lovers in your life too. So far the reviews have been great and I really think you’ll love it. Thanks very much for having me and I hope you all read and enjoy The Reflections of Queen Snow White!
Blkosiner's Book Blog Giveaway
The Reflections of Queen Snow White on amazon (Int)
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-Ends on 3/23/2014 11:59 pm EST
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  1. Flying would be a great power to have! I must agree! Great interview ladies!

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  2. Interview is well done! :) This books looks interesting to read! :D

  3. Nice interview! I read a really good review for this the other day. I love the story premise.
    Thanks for sharing!

  4. I like the inspiration behind the story, I like that it's so personal. That should definitely show in the story. As for superpower, I like flying (very cool and convenient), but I would go for mind reading/control. I'm always curious that way. Great interview :)

  5. i like the book already by reading the interview.. i think it is great that you draw inspiration from real life

  6. "The Reflections of Queen Snow White" Mr. Meredith, your interview and comments encouraged me to buy this book. I have wondered what happens after the happily ever after because reality is always waiting. I am also interested in the book you are working on. Wit traffic problems the way f2f hey are flying would be a good choice. Thank you.


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