Today I’m REALLY excited because I have the AMAZING C. J. Redwine on the blog detailing how writing The Shadow Queen was different to writing her previous trilogy (which I love and highly recommend!).
On Writing The Shadow Queen
by C. J. Redwine
I thoroughly enjoyed writing THE SHADOW QUEEN. I grew up reading volumes of fairy tales every week, so to be able to adapt those short stories into a full scale fantasy felt like a homecoming of sorts. Turning Snow White into a dark epic fantasy required me to build a world and then tie the fairy tale elements into a new and embellished plot.
In my first trilogy, I was writing a post-apocalyptic world. While there were definite changes (like dragons that tunneled up from below the ground and the fact that we lived in city-states again), I was still essentially working with topography and settings that I was familiar with. With THE SHADOW QUEEN, I was creating a world from scratch. I had to decide on the terrain, the climate, the culture, the economy, the political system, the architecture, the food, the education system … every last piece of the world had to be created. It took me weeks of work, but the geek in me loved it.
Once I’d created the world, I turned my attention to the plot. In the DEFIANCE trilogy, the plot was whatever I wanted to make it. But in THE SHADOW QUEEN, I had touchstone moments and images from the original fairy tale that had to be included. I needed the fugitive princess with an affinity for woodland creatures (my princess has a telepathic bond with a seriously fierce gyrfalcon), an evil queen (who in this case is the most powerful sorceress the kingdom has ever known), a huntsman (see: Prince Charming), a prince (who is a dragon shape-shifter so desperate to save his people that he makes a terrible bargain with the queen and becomes her huntsman), the magic mirror (which the queen uses to scry for the missing princess’s location), poison apples (trust me, after reading THE SHADOW QUEEN, you’ll think twice about eating apples for a long time), the heart being ripped out (there are a few twists with this one!), and the kiss that brings the princess back (more plot twists!). And instead of seven dwarves, I have seven dragons. It was fun to take the recognizable elements of the original story and find new, twisted ways to incorporate them into my epic fantasy adventure.
My main goal was to turn the Snow White tale into an epic showdown between two equally powerful female characters—one who will sacrifice anything and anyone to get what she wants and one who will sacrifice herself to save her kingdom—while still giving readers who adore the original tale enough familiar touchstones to make them feel like I’d done the fairy tale justice.
About the Book
Lorelai Diederich, crown princess and fugitive at large, has one mission: kill the wicked queen who took both the Ravenspire throne and the life of her father. To do that, Lorelai needs to use the one weapon she and Queen Irina have in common—magic. She’ll have to be stronger, faster, and more powerful than Irina, the most dangerous sorceress Ravenspire has ever seen.
In the neighboring kingdom of Eldr, when Prince Kol’s father and older brother are killed by an invading army of magic-wielding ogres, the second-born prince is suddenly given the responsibility of saving his kingdom. To do that, Kol needs magic—and the only way to get it is to make a deal with the queen of Ravenspire, promise to become her personal huntsman…and bring her Lorelai’s heart.
But Lorelai is nothing like Kol expected—beautiful, fierce, and unstoppable—and despite dark magic, Lorelai is drawn in by the passionate and troubled king. Fighting to stay one step ahead of the dragon huntsman—who she likes far more than she should—Lorelai does everything in her power to ruin the wicked queen. But Irina isn’t going down without a fight, and her final move may cost the princess the one thing she still has left to lose.