Today’s interview is with Dorian Tsukioka, author of Cursed Beauty:
Adelaide has lived her entire life cursed with a birthmark that makes people shy away. When an invitation to the Elder Prince’s ball falls in her lap, she knows attending would only cause people to shun her more.
A fairy godmother feels her pain and offers her a pair of glass slippers that not only transform her ragged dress to an elegant gown, but also removes the mark that covers her face. However, Adelaide soon learns that the beautiful slippers can steal away more than just her birthmark, leaving her cursed in a far worse way.
This retelling of the classic Cinderella story will resound with readers of young adult fiction who love paranormal fantasy, fairy tales, and a splash of romance.
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I think I was born to be a writer. I’m even named after a book, The Picture of Dorian Gray. I’ve been writing forever, but only recently decided to take it seriously. I write at night, when my kids are finally in bed, after my day job of teaching 5th graders. I love to write fairy tale retellings, paranormal romance, and science fiction. Most of my writing tends to be YA, most likely because I’m still 17 years old at heart.
When did you begin writing?
I started as a child. I wrote stories all the time. I even made a family newspaper for my parents and grandparents to enjoy. Sadly, only a few editions were published, when my parents decided I was using too much printer ink.
Can you tell us about your most recent release?
My most recent novella is titled Ai of the Mountain, and it is the second book in my Fairy Tale Retelling series. It is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, set in the southern mountains of Japan. (I lived in southern Japan, in the village the story is set in, so it’s near and dear to my heart.) It is the story of a girl named Ai (her name means “love”) and the difficulties she faces when she catches the eye of the feudal lord of her region who has decided to build his castle at the top of her mountain. As with all of my fairy tale retellings, I like to take what is familiar and turn the fairy tale upside down.
How did you get the idea for the book?
I began by thinking of an interesting setting, and Japan naturally came to mind because of my experience living there. I wondered what it might be like in feudal times, with samurai and lords, before Japan became a modern country. Then, I wondered, what if the beast was not who you would expect it to be…and Ai of the Mountain was born!
If you could recommend just one of your books to my readers, which book would you choose?
I’d start with my first fairy tale retelling, Cursed Beauty. It’s a retelling of Cinderella, but it’s not the saccharine-sweet Disney version! Let’s just say you wouldn’t want to have these glass slippers on your feet when midnight rolls around. You also wouldn’t want to mess with the fairy godmother, either. This is a much darker version of the story you grew up with. In fact, the best compliment I’ve received for this book is that it is “deliciously creepy.”
Of all your characters, which one is your favorite? Why?
I really like Adelaide from my book, Cursed Beauty. She’s a feisty redhead with a birthmark that has “cursed” her since birth. I love that she doesn’t allow her situation to dictate her outlook on life, and I love the decision she ultimately makes at the end of the story. I also am particularly fond of Thalia, the spoiled step-sister as well, just because she’s so oblivious, spoiled, and amusing.
What was the most challenging aspect of writing your book?
Finding time is always a challenge for me. I love writing, but I can find a million and one things that always need to be done – right now! – just when I finally sit down to start writing. It’s hard to ignore the pull of other things vying for my attention, and really get down to writing, even though I love it so much.
What is your primary goal as an author?
First and foremost, my goal is to write stories that entertain and inspire. I love it when my readers say, “I didn’t see that coming!” That’s the biggest compliment I can receive as a writer. Personally, my goal is to become a full-time author. I’d love to have even more time to write books that people love to read!
What projects are you currently working on?
I’ve just finished outlining my next fairy tale retelling. It’s a mashup of Rumplestiltskin and Snow White. Oh, and it’s set in ancient Egypt! I was first going to just do a retelling of Rumplestiltskin, but as I researched more and more about ancient Egypt and learned about their religious beliefs and their preoccupation with death, I decided to mix it up by adding in Snow White. Remember that part of the story when Snow White eats the apple and “dies,” and the dwarves put her in a glass coffin? Well, I wondered what Snow White would do at that point in the story if she was a ghost. That lead me to planning this story, and now I’ve got to get busy actually writing it.
I’m also revising a full-length novel, Maevyn, I wrote this past summer. It’s about a girl named Maevyn, who lives through a tragic accident that takes the lives of her family. Maevyn soon finds out that she can hear what other people are thinking. Her powers don’t stop there, though. She begins having ghostly visits from her deceased father, and meets other teenagers, who like herself, are able to do amazing things with her mind. Maevyn finds herself in the middle of a mystery that puts her life in danger, and changes everything she thought she knew about the people she loves. Maevyn is slowly being revised, and I’m hoping to get it finished and ready to release this summer after a few more fairy tale stories have been published.
What advice would you offer to new or aspiring authors?
Never, never, never, never, never give up. If you have a story in your heart, it is incumbent upon you to share that story with the world. The world needs your stories! Make the time to write them down and share them with the world.
Connect with Dorian:
Find my books on Amazon!
Get Cursed Beauty by going to: www.tinyurl.com/CursedBeauty