Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A Kiss in Time by Alex Flinn

Talia fell under a spell . . . . Jack broke the curse.

I was told to beware the accursed spindle, but it was so enchanting, so hypnotic. . . .

I was looking for a little adventure the day I ditched my tour group. But finding a comatose town, with a hot-looking chick asleep in it, was so not what I had in mind.

I awakened in the same place but in another time—to a stranger's soft kiss.

I couldn't help kissing her. Sometimes you just have to kiss someone. I didn't know this would happen.

Now I am in dire trouble because my father, the king, says I have brought ruin upon our country. I have no choice but to run away with this commoner!

Now I'm stuck with a bratty princess and a trunk full of her jewels. . . . The good news: My parents will freak!

Think you have dating issues? Try locking lips with a snoozing stunner who turns out to be 316 years old. Can a kiss transcend all—even time?

Alex Flinn brings a new twist to an old tale. Her novel Beastly is being made into a major motion picture starring Vanessa Hudgens. We're thrilled she stopped by the Cafe for a chat!

Melissa W: How gorgeous is that cover? Tell us about your book, A Kiss in Time.

Alex: Sleeping Beauty in South Beach. It's about Talia, who is almost 16 circa 1700, and who is not supposed to touch spindles . . . but she does and falls asleep, along with her entire kingdom. It's also about Jack, who is on an uber-boring European tour. He gets tired of visiting the Museum of Napoleon's Nose Hair and watching the tour guide walk backwards, so he ditches the tour and looks for the beach. Instead, he finds a sleeping kingdom and a really hot princess. His friend dares him to kiss her. She wakes . . . and that's when it gets hairy. Everyone's mad at Talia for touching the spindle and messing things up. They're also furious at Jack for kissing the princess. You're not supposed to do that. So they throw him in the dungeon. Talia, meanwhile, wants out, so she offers to spring him if he'll take him with her . . . to Miami.

Melissa W: What was your inspiration for this story?

Alex: It never seemed right to me that Sleeping Beauty is awakened by a prince she doesn't know, a hundred or so years later, and lives "happily ever after." How would you be happy, in a new century whose customs you don't know, and married to a stranger? The thought reminded me of Rip Van Winkle, or the musical, Brigadoon, and I was off, bringing Sleeping Beauty to my world.

Melissa W: Do you remember writing the first words? Are they still the same?

Alex: The story came to me in a gush as I was trying to revise another book (I never did). I wrote the first 50 pages very quickly and was happy not to have to go back to that other novel that wasn't working. Virtually everything about those 50 pages is the same.

Melissa W: Was there any part that you struggled with or avoided writing?

Alex: The ending was tough. The hero of the story must face a challenge, but
because of the modern setting, Jack couldn't face an actual dragon or other historical battle. And yet, because of the quasi-historical setting, a kidnapping at gunpoint didn't seem appropriate either. In the end, I thought of an appropriate magical climax that also reflected the humor of the novel.

Melissa W. What's on your nightstand right now?

Alex: Today, I finished reading Moloka'i by Alan Brennert. It's a historical novel set in a leper colony in the late 19th and early 20th century. Although it's not YA, it appealed to me as a young-adult reader because the main character is 6 when she contracts Hanson's disease and is ripped from her family and banished to the Hawaiian island of Moloka'i, and much of the novel takes place in her childhood and young-adult years. Because Rachel, the heroine, is taken to a group facility, it reminds me a lot of the British boarding school type of novels I've always liked, such as Jane Eyre, or Libba Bray's Gemma Doyle books.

Melissa W: If you could be anything else besides a writer, what would it be?

Alex: Probably a librarian. I've often thought I'd enjoy being a librarian or a school media specialist. I've come into contact with many good ones, and I think I'd enjoy working with teens and coming up with innovative programming ideas. I've often wished I'd come up with that prior to going to law school.

Melissa W: What are you working on now?

Alex: A story that is a melange of different fairy tales -- The Frog Prince, The Shoemaker and the Elves, The Six Swans, The Golden Bird, The Salad, The Magic Fish, and The Brave Little Tailor. It's about a shoe repair employee in a South Beach hotel, who is asked by a princess to complete a quest . . . for her brother, who has been turned into a frog and set loose in the Florida Keys.

I can't wait to see how you get all of that into one book! But for now, congratulations on A Kiss in Time and the Beastly movie!

~~~Cafe Note~~ As a regular part of our interviews, featured authors will pop back in for one week after their interview is posted to answer any other questions blog readers may leave for them. So if you have any questions or comments for Alex, please post them now.