Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Mistress of the Wind by Michelle Diener with Interview


On Tour with Prism Book Tours


Interview

1)      First, tell us about yourself – where you live, your family, and those sorts of details.

I live in Australia with my husband and two children. I was born in London, but I grew up in South Africa. I've been really privileged to travel widely through the world, and I think that informs my books.

2)      How long have you been writing?

I've been writing since I was really young. I would write stories for my brothers and sisters (I have two of each) and for my friends at school.

3)      Do you have a favorite place to write?

I have several. On my bed, on my verandah and at my desk. My hammock always looks appealing, but I can't work there for longer than about ten minutes before it gets too uncomfortable to type at a weird angle. :)

4)      Why did you decide to write Mistress of the Wind?

I've always loved fairy tales. But when I was at university, doing research for a history paper on the witch hunts of the 17th Century, I came across a really interesting (but totally unrelated :)) journal full of articles on the meanings of fairy tales. It was fantastic, and mind-blowing. I suddenly saw the subversion in  the tales. Even with the whitewashing that went on in the Victorian era to make fairy tales moral tales and warnings, especially to girls, to be good, and obedient and incurious, I realized one could read a subtext to the tale. I then went on to read books on the interpretation of fairy tales by Jungian psychologist Marie-Louise Van Franz and others, and books like Clarissa Estes's Women Who Run With the Wolves, and I found an even deeper love for the tales. Or rather, I finally understood why I loved them so much. I think I'd subconsciously understood the deeper layers, but now I could trace those layers better. I started thinking about writing a book based on one of my favorite fairy tales, East of the Sun, West of the Moon, and ended up weaving some other myths through the tale, to have the story that is Mistress of the Wind. But I really enjoyed the fact that at its heart, I've kept it as a story on a number of levels, just like the original. It can be about a woman who meets an enchanted prince, falls in love with him and then, when a combination of the circumstances of his enchantment and her actions cause him to be taken from her, she goes on a long search to find and rescue him, getting help from people along the way. Or it could be about a woman coming into her power, and mastering the facets of her personality and understanding her faults and her strengths so that she is able to take on anything that is thrown at her with a clear idea of her worth, and it could be both those things at once. And I don't push the second interpretation on the reader. Some readers have 'got' it straight away, and I totally, totally love that.


5)      Who is your favorite character in your book and why?

Astrid, my heroine. She knows she is worthy of respect, if not love, just for being who she is, and so she has fought against her father's attempts to beat her down and break her. That makes it extremely hard for her to accept some of the conditions that are set on her behaviour by her lover. While she fights against the literal, and figurative, burying of her personality and her need to be free, by her imprisonment in the heart of a mountain, she tries to accommodate his need for her to never see him as a man, to stay inside, to stay in the dark, but it is eating away at her. Even though Bjorn, her lover, tells her that the conditions of his enchantment are the only things making him hold her back, she sees what he cannot, that his enchanter is merely delaying the end. That the evil queen has no intention of letting him win, and if he does, she will have nothing to lose by reneging on their agreement. Astrid only breaks the enchantment conditions out of concern for his life, but she has also seen it for the slow death it is. She is proactive, and she wants to do. To fight rather than wait at someone else's pleasure, for something she is sure will not be granted, no matter if she and Bjorn follow the conditions or not. The consequences of that act drive the second part of the book, where Astrid has to confront her faults and her power, and decide how to control them.


6)      How about your least favorite character? What makes them less appealing to you?

Dekla, the troll princess that Bjorn has to marry. She has cause to feel undermined by her mother, unloved and cast aside for power and gain, but instead of learning from that, she undermines others to make herself feel better, and there is a spitefulness and a self-centered egoism about her that is more sly and evil than the straight-forward power-hungry attitude of her mother.


7)     Do you proofread/edit your own books or do you get someone to do that for you?

Well, I used to be an editor myself, so my work is pretty clean from the start. But my critque partner always helps me catch a few typos or errors. Then, if its a book for Simon & Schuster, my agent takes a look, and sends me any errors she sees, then my editor, then the line editor, then back to me, then the production manager, then back to me and then the production manager one last time. For my self-published work, it's my critique partner again, then I have three beta readers who are all eagle-eyed, and then back to me, and then on to at least one other person before I give it a bit of distance, and do a final check, usually reading it backwards so my eye can't skip over anything.


8)      What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I love reading and baking, and spending time with my family and walking.

9)      Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?

I love to read. I read really widely. I honestly couldn't name all my favorite authors, the list would be too long, but if I'm going to say five off the top of my head, it would be Terry Pratchett, Iain M. Banks, Patricia Briggs, Ilona Andrews and A.S.Byatt.

10)  What question do you wish that someone would ask about your book, but nobody has? Write it out here, then answer it.

It's funny, I don't have a specific question I'd like asked. I think that is something so personal, and I just can't put myself in a position of not knowing about the book and wanting to ask something, because I know the book inside, outside and (literally, if you see my answer on the proofreading :)) backwards. Perhaps, to give this an honest go, I'd say: Why did you choose East of the Sun, West of the Moon, specifically, as the first fairy tale retelling you did. Why do you love that one so much?

And my answer to that would be deeply routed in my personality and my love for action-adventure stories. A LOT of fairy tales are more internal explorations of self and afford little opportunity for an  action-packed adventure. East of the Sun, West of the Moon, has a really adventure-filled journey and a daring rescue plan, and I'm just a sucker for that kind of thing.


Mistress of the Wind 300Mistress of the Wind
by Michelle Diener
New Adult/Sci-Fi Fantasy
Paperback, 342 pages
Expected publication: December 19th 2013


Bjorn needs to find a very special woman . . . 

The fate of his people, and his own life, depends on it. But when he does find her, she is nothing like he imagined, and may just harbor more secrets than he does himself.

Astrid has never taken well to commands. No matter who issues them . . . 

She's clashed her whole life with her father, and now her lover, the mysterious man who comes to her bedroom in darkness and disappears to guard his mountain by day as a bear, is finding it out the hard way. And when he's taken by his enemies, no one is prepared for Astrid's response. 

It is never wise to anger the mistress of the wind . . . 

A captivating and magical adult retelling of the fairy tale East of the Sun, West of the Moon.



Praise for Mistress of the Wind:
“Diener’s adaptation retains the familiar elements of the original, echoing both the structure and spirit of the classic, but true to form, she puts her own spin both the plot and the narrative, crafting an intricately alluring tale of self-sacrifice, steadfast devotion and enduring love.“ Flashlight Commentary
“The story is fast-paced and never boring, the world a beauty and Michelle’s writing so wonderfully detailed that I felt I was with Bjorn and Astrid on their journey.“ Book Bird Reviews
Author Michelle Diener takes this re-telling to another level. She doesn’t restrict herself to an East of the Sun, West of the moon retelling. Instead we are also given parts reminiscent of Psyche’s quest. Which just allowed for a much more richer story.  Paperback Wonderland



My Review:  January 2014   ~ Review Copies ~


Mistress of the Wind

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

First, I would like to thank the author Michelle Diener for giving me this book for an honest review. I enjoyed this fairy tell, it was a fun read, I had not ever read the original fairy tale, so I cannot give a comparison. I would like to read more from this author.




Image of Michelle DienerMichelle Diener writes historical fiction. Her Susanna Horenbout & John Parker series, set in the court of Henry VIII, includes In a Treacherous Court, Keeper of the King's Secrets and In Defense of the Queen.

Michelle's other historical novels include Daughter of the Sky, The Emperor's Conspiracy and Banquet of Lies (loosely connected to The Emperor's Conspiracy).

Michelle's first fantasy novel, Mistress of the Wind, is set for a December 23, 2013, release.

Michelle was born in London, grew up in South Africa and currently lives in Australia with her husband and two children.






International Giveaway:

10 copies of Mistress of the Wind, Kindle or print, winner's choice.




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