As part of the blog tour for The Wild Girl (see my review HERE), I asked the author, Kate Forsyth, a few questions which she was kind enough to take time out of her very busy schedule to answer. Thank you, Ms Forsyth!
1. How did you first come across Dortchen Wild and what was it that drew you to writing about her?
When I was writing my novel BITTER GREENS (which retells Rapunzel), I began researching the sources of the Grimm brothers’ fairy tales to find out who had first told that particular story. One of the books I read was ‘Clever Maids: The Secret History of the Grimms’ Fairy Tales’ which examined the forgotten female oral storytellers who told the brothers many of their tales. I was very intrigued to hear that one girl in particular – Dortchen Wild – had told so many of my favourite stories. Then, when I read that she and Wilhelm had fallen in love and eventually married – well! I knew I had to write about her. I was electrified by the story. It had everything I most love – romance, passion, heartbreak, drama, tragedy, triumph … and of course, the fairy tales! I’ve been mad about fairy tales since I was a child and here was a way for me to discover their sources and bring them to life in narrative. I could hardly sleep that night for excitement.
2. The cover of The Wild Girl is gorgeous. How much say do you have in choosing the cover art, and what kind of input do you like to have?
I’m so glad you love the cover! I think it’s so beautiful and striking and unusual. I’d buy it in a heartbeat. I always have ideas and suggestions for the cover art, and I always share these with my publisher. However, I know it’s not my area of expertise and I always trust my publisher and the cover designer to know their market and to do something amazing. I’d never have come up with something so gorgeous on my own!
3. The Wild Girl is about the girl who was the muse for one of the best-known and best-loved storytellers of all time. Who or what is your muse and how have they inspired your writing?
Such an interesting question. I have to say I think the story itself is the muse, as I feel strongly – in a strange mystical way – that the story exists beyond me and that it is my responsibility to bring it to life in the best way I can. I know this sounds a little peculiar, but it’s like I discover the story, not create it … as if it already existed and was waiting to be told. When I am writing a novel I make the most extraordinary serendipitous discoveries and connections, and I have learnt to trust implicitly in this and wait for the story to reveal itself to me.
4. Do you have a favourite Grimm Tale? If so, what is it about that particular story that captured your imagination?
I have a number of favourites. Rapunzel, of course, which so troubled me from childhood I became obsessed with bringing it to life (which I eventually did in my novel BITTER GREENS). Beauty and the Beast. Six Swans. Sleeping Beauty. Cinderella. Snow White & Rose Red. I think what I love about all these books is the atmosphere of peril and danger and beauty and romance, all twisted together. And the happy ending, of course. I always want a happy ending.
5. Can you tell us a little about any other forthcoming novels on which you’re working?
At the moment, I’m writing a children’s fantasy series called ‘The Impossible Quest’ and researching another historical fairy tale retelling. I plan to retell one of Dortchens’ tales actually – ‘The Singing, Springing Lark’ which is a ‘Beauty & the Beast’ variant. I plan to set it in Nazi Germany – the idea is thrilling me to bits.
My thanks, again, to Ms Forsyth and her PR team for inviting me to be part of this blog tour.