With Wish Upon a Southern Star soon to be launched in September, it is my pleasure to introduce you in advance to each of the contributing authors and to give you a taste of their work.
Today, meet Angela Oliver and find out about her story,
Angela Oliver is an author and illustrator, living in Christchurch, New Zealand. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Zoology and Psychology, and isn’t afraid to use it. Mostly, she writes stories about animals, generally from their perspective, and has published several books starring New Zealand native birds, including the Sir Julius Vogel nominated Aroha’s Grand Adventure (2012).
Young adult readers may also enjoy her Fellowship of the Ringtails (2014), the first of an epic fantasy series with lemurs.
"Kissa Whitepaw" was written with the assistance of Angela’s lucky black kitten, Lucifurr Seraphina.
You can visit Angela online and see some of her art – she’s drawn almost every animal in the world –at http://lemurkat.co.nz
A Conversation with Angela
1. Angela, why do you write?
Because the voices in my head tell me to! Seriously, some of my characters are very persuasive, and I come up with characters and ideas and want to see how they will play themselves out. Sometimes I only write the stories in my head, other times I endeavour to put them down on paper.
2. Why do you think fairy tales remain relevant today?
There is a comfort in reading a fairy tale: for the most part, the good guys win, and the bad guys are punished (except, of course, in the original tales where this is not always the case!) and also in the familiarity. And, cautionary tales are still relevant today! Sure, we might not be so afraid of the wolf in the woods - but there are different kinds of predators that children need to be aware of and the general themes still exist.
3. What was your favourite fairy tale as a child? Why did you like it so much then and is it still a favourite or has it been replaced and why?
One of my favourites was The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Anderson. Not only was it beautifully written, and an epic tale, it also showed the power of love and friendship against adversity – and the hero was a girl. To this day I still prefer the more emotional ones, those where someone has to face enormous challenges to help another. Last year I saw a short stop-motion film (using the most amazing paper craft) based on Oscar Wilde’s The Nightingale and the Rose, a tale in which a nightingale resolves to help a young student win the heart of a beautiful girl. It was heart-breaking and has haunted me ever since both for its production and for the message of sacrificing onesself for their art. (Note: the stop-motion film contains adult content and may disturb some viewers).
4. What is your favourite fairy tale retelling by another author? Why is it a favourite?
My favourite? Well, that’s a bit of a difficult one. Probably Daughter of the Forest (the first in the Sevenwaters series) by Juliet Marillier, which is not a young adult one, but is a beautifully written tale loosely based on The Seven Swans. It is a historical fantasy novel with romance and a touch of magic. She has also re-told several other fairy tales for the young adult market, and they are good - but the Sevenwaters series is definitely my top pick. Her writing style is richly evocative, her characters seem so very real, and once started I find her books very hard to put down.
5. Can you tell us a little about your retold fairy tale?
I decided early on that I wanted to retell a tale with an animal in it - and cat seemed the most obvious - and that I also wanted to choose something a little obscure (Puss in Boots, for example, was out of the question). There were several promising candidates, including a rather charming one about a white cat, but I settled on 'Kisa the Cat' because the major plot points were fairly straightforward and would be easy to convert into a more contemporary re-telling. The original is an Icelandic fairy tale about a friendship between a princess and a kitten. The kitten, as they do, grows up faster than the girl and appears to abandon her, only to return when the princess needs her. My story is written from the point of view of the cat, and I have incorporated other fairy tale elements into the narrative whilst, I hope, still remaining fairly true to the original.
A taste of Angela's story...
Mama-cat purred over her four kittens.
“You must remember,” she whispered, “we are their guardians. We have protected them for centuries – from the shadows, the demons. From themselves. And it is your sacred duty, little ones, to find your human, and to protect him – or her – too.”
The littlest of the kittens, with ink-black fur and one white paw, mewed and nuzzled up beneath her mother’s chin. “But how will I know, mama?” she asked. “How will I know when I have found my human?”
Mama-cat licked her head, plastering her fur flat between her tufted ears. “You will know, Little White-paw, believe me – you will know.”
Want to find out what happens next?
Read the full story in
Wish Upon a Southern Star
(release date 2 September 2017)
Pre-order an e-copy from Amazon
(or wait for the release date to order your paperback copy from Amazon)
Attend the launch
Saturday 2nd September, 2pm
at the South Library, Christchurch
For Christchurch residents and launch attendees,
preorder a paperback direct from the editor at email@example.com
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