When did you start writing?
I showed some talent in middle and high school (according to my teachers), but it was always within some school assignment. I didn’t really write on my own until college, after switching my major from Economics to English. Then I went on to get an MFA in Creative Writing.
Where did you get the idea for this story?
While working at Disney, I wrote two sequel stories to Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas. They were long form poems just like the original book, and my stories focused on Easter and Valentine’s Day. Burton personally approved both stories, but for some reason they never got published. I left Disney soon after meeting with Burton, and (thinking the Nightmare stories would be published) set to work on my original, follow-up tale. I remember having joked about what the 8th Dwarf’s name might be, and I decided I wanted to turn that idea into a story that the Nightmare Before Christmas audience would like.
Was your character “Creepy’s” personality based off of a real person?
I think he’s a mix of loner, misfit teens that I knew growing up. He’s more bored and stuck in his situation than he is angst-ridden (which is a stereotype of youth, I think). I liked working him into this story in particular because the creepiest thing he does is kiss Snow White when she passed out. Sound familiar? That’s exactly what Prince Charming does, but no one seems to have a problem with him.
Do you have any other stories you have written or do you plan on writing more?
I am well into a follow-up story, also in long-form verse. The working title is The Plight and Plot of Princess Penny. It’s an original fairy tale in which a Princess hires a witch to get revenge on a Mean Girl at school. The nod to a “retelling” is that the witch is from The Frog Prince.
What would you consider a perfect day for you as an author?
I do much of my work in a coffee shop in Studio City, CA. On a perfect day, I would have just handed over a big advertising/copywriting project to clients. (No immediate deadlines and an imminent paycheck!) That frees up time and makes me most comfortable working on my own projects. I think the day would consist of getting a lot done on my new story while also making strides marketing 8 online. (With blogger reviews and interviews like this one! Thank you!)
What is your favorite genre?
Most of what I read is recommended by friends. I like contemporary fiction with strong, unusual characters. I like mixing fiction with nonfiction (mostly science-based, even if it’s over my head).
Do you plan on making any more fairytale retellings?
After Princess Penny, I’d like to write a third story in verse so that there is a set. I’m currently turning 8 into a comic book to pitch to publishers. Again, I think that is more attractive to publishers if there is a trilogy of sorts. Not a series, obviously, but three titles.
What was your favorite part about writing “8: The Previously Untold Story of the Previously Unknown 8th Dwarf?”
Creating the full arc of the story is the most satisfying. When you know it works, then you craft the language of it (in this case, with verse). It’s the difference between “What will I say?” and “How will I say it?” Answering the first question well means you’ve really got something.