Sunday, November 8, 2020

Hey everyone!  So a few weeks ago, I asked some of my Instagram folks to ask some questions about my new novel, The Lady of Lanaria, so I could have a Q&A session prepared for release day!  I shared these on Instagram and in the Facebook launch party event, but in case you missed it, here's the full list of Qs and As!  

Favorite part about writing this book? (@angelarwattsauthor)

Definitely watching it come together!  I actually wrote the ending first and then started on the beginning (and then rewrote the beginning once, and rewrote the ending about four different times), and it was a blast to see little bits of foreshadowing come through.  I've probably said it a zillion times and I'll say it again, but I've never felt God's hand in writing a book as much as I did with this one.  I just wrote the words and let myself be surprised with what came out.  

Who's your favorite character? (@h.s.kylian)

Oof.  This is the question I've been waffling over for awhile!  I want to say that Horace ended up being my favorite?  I mean, I love Evangeline and Gabriel, but I feel like Horace is a goldmine of earnest humor that didn't get nearly as much "screentime" as he deserved.  

Favourite scene to write?  (@oldfashionedbooklove)

I have to say that the climax was my favorite.  It's the first scene that I wrote, actually!  I really enjoyed exploring a little bit of action, the "choreography" of the scene, if you will, and how everything worked out.  It was so much fun to write!  The second favorite scene has to be when the villain tries to burn Evangeline's Bible and it...doesn't, not at first.  That was inspired by a handful of reports I've read of churches burning while the Bibles remain intact, and I could just imagine the horror on the villain's face.

Least favourite scene to write? (@oldfashionedbooklove)

I can't say because it's a bit of a "turning point" in the book!  But it involves baby birds, and you'll probably all hate what the villain does to them.  I hated writing that scene because it's sad and, frankly, a bit gross.  But it's necessary to start seeing the depravity in the villain.  Another scene I hated writing is one written pretty late (I think it was the same day I sent ARC copies out, actually), when the villain begins being fairly forceful with Evangeline.   

What classic piece could you hear Evangeline play on her violin?  (@oldfashionedbooklove)

Fun question!  I can very easily imagine her playing Vivaldi's L' Estro Armonico Opus 3 No. 6 in A Minor, which you can listen to HERE!  It just seems to embody her character well.  

What's Gabriel's favourite meal? (@oldfashionedbooklove)

Beef or lamb with bread and corn!  And of course, a well-prepared cup of tea is something he always enjoys.

What was the inspiration for the story? (@midnightwritelight)

There were several factors that inspired The Lady of Lanaria!  When I was reading and analyzing "The Lady of Shalott" for college, I started thinking about the similarities between it and the story of Rapunzel, and I just had to try the idea out.  Another thing that largely inspired the story was the light vs. dark element; in the beginning of the book, I listed three Bible verses that really jumped out at me for inspiration while I was writing.  Finally, a friend of me gave me a bit of inspiration that finally launched me into actually writing the book itself -- we were talking about goals and whatnot, and the idea that we should have the courage to pursue our dreams/goals, big or small -- it kind of seeped into the story as well. 

Character inspiration?  (@midnightwritelight)

Definitely Tangled.  Although I tend to look toward Tangled for pretty much all of my inspiration ever, haha.  I also took some of the grave-whimsical blend that "The Lady of Shalott" seems to present and knew I had to represent that in Evangeline's character as well.  Gabriel, in a lot of respects, was his own guy -- I couldn't really find any references to suit him very well, so I just let him do his own thing.  Mother Gothel from Tangled was definitely a heavy influence for the villain, and the oddball here, Horace, actually ended up being inspired by the character of Morgan Grimes from the TV show Chuck.

Actors that fit how you imagined your characters? (@ive_seen_a_new_world)

Another good question!  I went back and forth on this one so much, haha.  Obviously an actual movie with these actors/actresses would never work because these are photos from when they were much younger, but from a visual perspective, they work very well! 

All photos retrieved from Google. 

Top left: Miranda Otto as Evangeline
Top right: Julianne Moore as Amaranth Argent 
Bottom left: Jordan Bridges as Gabriel
Bottom right: Andrew Garfield as Horace

How did you come up with the idea of mashing Rapunzel and The Lady of Shalott into a retelling? (@sarahstangledtales)

Great question!  I originally got the idea during a college course I was taking.  We were assigned Tennyson's "The Lady of Shalott" to analyze, and since I had to sit and really think about the themes in his work, I started to think about Grimm's "Rapunzel" (and Disney's Tangled, because...c'mon) and their similarities.  Girls locked in towers, mysterious curses cast by witches, so on -- I just had to.  I've always wanted to write a "Rapunzel" retelling, but  I always felt underqualified to do so, and adding elements from "The Lady of Shalott" freed my brain up from getting stuck on making the story too "Rapunzel" and falling flat. 

Thanks so much to everyone who asked questions!  These were so fun to work on.