Michelle Davidson Argyle tells the story…
Cinders is the story of Cinderella after she marries her prince and sets out to live her happily-ever-after. That happiness soon turns into something completely different when Cinderella discovers her fairy godmother has been imprisoned in the castle and she remembers a man she met two years before her marriage.
This man is mysterious, and Cinderella is sure she’s still in love with him because his love was real while her Prince Rowland’s love is tainted and governed by magic. Cinderella soon sets out to find her true love again, but encounters death and heartache around almost every turn.
Written in a poetic, literary tone, Cinders is reminiscent of the original Grimm’s fairy tales. It is dark, visceral, and filled with twists and turns that will surprise any reader. In Cinders, Cinderella may be a character who readers find hard to love, but she is also a character we can relate to, one who makes decisions that will keep readers thinking long after they close the book.
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What age group is your book geared towards?
Adults, mostly, but many YA readers seem to have it enjoyed it so far.
Into which genre would you say your book falls, and what’s is about?
CINDERS is adult literary/fantasy. CINDERS is about Cinderella after she gets married. Money can’t buy love, but in CINDERS magic isn’t a sure bet either. Cinderella – now officially a princess – finds royal life is not what she once dreamed. When a figure from her past stirs up a long-suppressed passion, Cinderella begins to wonder if there really is love under the spell that earned her husband’s heart. But undoing magic can be harder than casting the initial spell, and the results are even less predictable.
What is your favourite scene? Can we have a snippet?
One of my favorite scenes is my kitchen scene where Cinderella begins to see how unhappy she is in the castle, but it is quite long. Another favorite scene of mine is at the beginning where the reader begins to learn about Cinderella’s attitude toward her situation with the prince.
The prince hosted many balls—one a week for the first month after the wedding. There was always dancing and food and beautiful gowns. Cinderella liked it until she discovered how much work it was. First she had to bathe. That took a lot of effort with a lot of servants, and it was always cold no matter how warm they heated the water. It was the middle of winter, and they liked to comb her hair dry by the fire, counting as they went, one two three four five six…one hundred and two…until she wanted to scream stop! But she spoke softly and smiled at them as kindly as she could. She knew what it was like to be in their position.
They pinned up her hair in elaborate fashions, gently tucked in the prince’s shells, dusted her face and chest, applied the rouge, tied up her corsets, fluffed her skirts, rubbed rose oil on her temples and ankles, and asked if she wanted to wear her fur shoes.
“No, no, they don’t fit properly. I might lose one,” she’d laugh, her voice echoing off the stone walls. She wondered what would happen if she lost one; they were the only thing left of the old woman who’d given them to her. Everything else had vanished.
“But they must be warm,” Cinderella’s lady-in-waiting, Amie, remarked.
“Yes, but the ballroom is stuffy.”
And it was, terribly so. Most of the time, Cinderella found herself drifting to an open window to breathe the fresh cold air. Sometimes it would be snowing, the flakes falling in slow succession, gathering in layers across the frozen moat. She imagined the fish moving along the bottom, their bellies as cold as the ice, their eyes seeing nothing in the darkness. Sometimes she felt the same way, especially when she danced with the prince and everyone watched. She’d close her eyes and see nothing, only the smell of candles reminding her that this was real, that he held her close because he loved her, that his lips on her cheek were warm and kind.
Sometimes she forgot about the other man, the stranger she’d met long ago, long before she was given fur shoes and knew there were such things as magic and spells.
|Author Michelle Davidson Argyle
Have your characters or writing been inspired by friends/ family or by real-life experiences?
Not directly, no, but I do think most of the emotional situations that Cinderella experiences are things I’ve either thought a lot about or have seen second-hand.
Which comes first for you – characters or plot?
It seems to depend on the story. For CINDERS, specifically, it was the characters that came first. It’s a very character driven piece, and although the plot is important, it never felt as important as the emotional journey of Cinderella.
Who is your publisher and where are your books available? Are there e-books and hard copies available?
CINDERS is independently published, but I do have a publisher for my spy thriller, MONARCH, which comes out in September of 2011. I’m with a small publisher (Rhemalda Publishing), but I will be independently publishing some other titles in the future, as well.
CINDERS is available in print and ebook. You can find all formats here: http://www.michelledavidsonargyle.com/2008/07/purchase-cinders.html
Do you have an agent, or have you gone alone?
I do not have an agent at this time, but I may in the future. Although I have a traditional publisher now (Rhemalda), I will still be independently publishing because I really enjoy it. I knew I had to wait to independently publish a book, and when I started on CINDERS I knew it was the right project. It was a bold move that required a lot of courage, but I haven’t regretted one step of the journey!
What marketing have you been doing to help sales?
I mostly network online for all my marketing. Facebook and blogging, mostly. I think all writers can benefit greatly from having an online presence.
What is the most productive time of the day for you to write?
I have a four-year-old, so it’s pretty difficult to find any great time to write. I think late at night is the best right now – when there are no distractions every 10 minutes. It has literally taken me 2 hours to do this interview, hah. Writing a novel is even more difficult.
Do you start your projects writing with paper and pen or is it all on the computer?
All on the computer! I used to write with pen and paper, but now I think too fast for my pen to keep up. I get too frustrated.
What do you draw inspiration from?
Honestly, I don’t know! Ideas seem to come from wherever and whenever. CINDERS came from my daughter watching Disney’s Cinderella over and over. No surprise there!
Do you set yourself goals when you sit down to write such as word count?
Nope. Like I said, I have a child, so snatching any amount of time is a challenge. I just get down what I can. Mainly, I have goals of finishing a scene in one sitting, but that rarely happens. I’m a pretty slow writer.
What are you working on now that you can talk about?
I’m currently working on THIRDS, the next novella after CINDERS. It’s a retelling of the Grimm’s fairy tale, “One-Eye, Two-Eyes, Three-Eyes” and is about Issina, a 16-year-old who has two sisters. One has one-eye, the other has three-eyes, and their mother has one-eyes. Issina only has two eyes, and because she’s an outcast in the family, she is treated terribly. She is also blamed for her own father’s death. When she meets an elf in the forest surrounding her home, she discovers another world, one that could possibly fix everything bad that has happened in her life – if she’s willing to pay the price.
You can find a snippet of THIRDS on my Author Site. Since it is not published yet, I’d rather not share it anywhere but there.
How long does it take you to write a book? Have your written other books (give titles)?
It usually takes me 4 – 5 months for a novella, and 9 – 12 months for a novel. I have written MONARCH, an adult spy thriller, that will be released by Rhemalda Publishing in September of 2011.
What advice would you give aspiring authors?
I’ve given this advice elsewhere, but I’d like to give it here, too. Write first, then network, then write some more. Also, one person’s publishing path may not be right for another. Some people don’t need agents, some people do. Some people are fine with a small press, some people need more than that. No matter how you decide you want to get your work out there, be proud of your decisions and go forth boldly as soon as you feel ready. I think many writers publish too soon, so take the time to do your homework and see what will work for you.
What is your website and/or blog where readers can learn more? Can they friend you on Facebook or Twitter?
You can find me at my author site: http://michelledavidsonargyle.com/, and my blogs: http://theinnocentflower.blogspot.com/ and http://literarylab.blogspot.com/ I’d love to have you friend me on Facebook! You can find me here: http://www.facebook.com/#!/michelle.ladyglamis and on Twitter: LadyGlamis