We genuinely enjoyed this contemporary retelling of Cinderella (both of us gave it 5 out of 5 stars), and we can hardly wait for the rest of the YA community to read it. If you want to know more about ISWG, feel free to check out our review. We hope that this written interview will encourage you to pick up ISWG when it comes out on May 9, 2017. Happy reading!
1. The title of your book is open to interpretation, so what does it mean to you personally?
“The original title of the book was VALEDICTIONS, which is just the long word for saying goodbye, usually at the closing of a letter. My publishing team came up with something a little more catchy, but the definition of a valediction will appear on the back of the finished copy–both what the dictionary says and Tatum’s more snarky explanation. I’m glad it survived! At the beginning of the novel, there are many goodbyes–Tatum to her father, Tatum to her best friend, Tatum to her summer of fun–that turn into new beginnings and opportunities, so I think the title fits well.”
2. What version of Cinderella do you like more, the Grimm version or the Disney version?
“I grew up on the Disney version, and Disney-like versions in the fairy tale anthologies my mom would read from at bedtime. I like that it has a hopeful ending and that Cinderella gets away from her unfortunate home. But, I do enjoy the Grimm’s version as well. I like the step-family getting a little justice. I used an awesome website out of the University of Pittsburgh when I was doing research that lists the Cinderella trope in all the cultures where it occurs. It’s fascinating how the same story cropped up, just different details, all over the world.”
3. Romance is a minor theme in your novel. Was this done intentionally, and would you describe Tatum and SK’s relationship as true love?
“I would certainly say Tatum and SK are a great match and could definitely fall in love down the line. While romance is pretty central to the original Cinderella story, I purposely made sure all the relationships in Tatum’s life–family and friends–were examined as well. Not every teen falls in love, or is hoping to, but I believe we all need a strong support network.”
4. Tatum and her stepmother had a really tough relationship. What is your message to those who are in the same situation?
“I would hope that readers would feel empowered to stand up for the things that are important to them. Just because someone you love has a different idea of what happiness or success looks like doesn’t make your dream less valid.”
5. What is the story behind Tatum’s name? (It inevitably reminded us of Channing Tatum) xD
“Honestly, it’s just a name I like and not one that I’ve seen much in YA. It does make me think of Channing Tatum, though, and that’s never a bad thing.”
6. ISWG deals with family and friend issues. Is the book somehow inspired by a significant part of your life?
“No, nothing specific from my own life informed this story, but universal emotions certainly did. I observe a lot of teens struggling with the moment they discover their parents, or other important adults in their lives, come with their own baggage. It can be a hard pill to swallow, but as we see from Tatum’s story, having that context can be really eye-opening.”
7. What did you like about the process of writing a fairy tale retelling?
“I love that fairy tales are easily recognizable and make for a good starting place with a brand new story. It was really fun taking the classic elements and turning them into something new. A lot of retellings, especially in YA, are fantasy or science fiction, so I wanted to do a contemporary story with no magic. It was important to me that Tatum feel like an “everygirl” and not a damsel in distress.”
About the author:
Christina June writes young adult contemporary fiction when she’s not writing college recommendation letters during her day job as a school counselor. She loves the little moments in life that help someone discover who they’re meant to become – whether it’s her students or her characters.
Christina is a voracious reader, loves to travel, eats too many cupcakes, and hopes to one day be bicoastal – the east coast of the US and the east coast of Scotland. She lives just outside Washington DC with her husband and daughter.