Woo hoo! I’m so excited to be taking part in the celebration of the release of Emily Rachelle’s urban fantasy World of Shadows!
Today, I’m sharing an interview I had with Emily about her latest release and how she would react if she was in Beila’s shoes, but let me introduce you to her book, World of Shadows.
(Scroll down to the bottom of this post to check out all the other blogs taking part in the tour!)
In this urban fantasy retelling of Beauty and the Beast, modern-day teenager Beila Durand is plagued by nightmares that lead her to discover – and wind up trapped in – a cursed underground world. The invisible people that live in this medieval village depend on Beila learning the truth behind their curse – and why she is the only one who can set them free.
In her quest for answers, however, all she seems to find are more questions. Where do the echoing screeching at night originate? Who is the isolated man that speaks with Beila from the shadows of his cloak? What does this New York girl have to do with any of it? And will she ever find a way back home?
– Hi Emily! I am SO excited to have you on the blog! For those who don’t know you, can you share three words to describe yourself?
Creative. Amiable. Eccentric.
– I saw in your bio that when it’s raining where you live in Indiana, you mentioned “amateur art is always an option.” What are some things you enjoy drawing?
Actually, I don’t draw. I’m awful at it. I do keep an art journal, though, where I make images with torn or manipulated paper and sometimes do something akin to ‘found object art.’ I learned about that style when I went to an African-American history museum that was doing an exchange with a local art museum and featured some pieces by African-American artists. One artist used things like scraps of fabric, buttons, and even trash she found outside to create images representing events and people from her life.
I’m still not very good at paper art or found object art, but I enjoy doing it. I made a piece once that I called “The Worth of a Woman?” I rarely wear makeup, but one day when I did I used a towelette to wipe it off. The makeup on the wipe retained the general appearance of a face, with cheeks, eyelashes, and lips. I attached the wipe to the middle of a spread in my art journal and used fabric scraps, smears of makeup, and drops of nail polish to create a frame around it. I wanted to make a statement about how much a woman’s worth is based on what she is or isn’t wearing.
– This is the first time I have heard of found object art and wouldn’t mind learning how to do it. I love your piece “Worth of a Woman?”! I noticed that you’ve also lived in quite a few places around the world, including Asia. What is one of the fondest memories you have from living in Asia?
I was in middle school when my family moved to Japan, so I liked going across the street to this giant park with my best friend and our brothers. We made up games to play and stories to act out on a big hill at the back of the park.
Outside of the American air base, I liked going to the beach; we were surrounded by beaches on the island of Okinawa. I also loved the Pineapple Park. You get in a self-driven golf cart designed to look like a pineapple and take a recorded tour through the park, learning about different kinds of pineapples and how they grow. There was a huge gift shop where you could try all kinds of food made with pineapple – cookies, juice, wine, yogurt-covered raisins, chocolate, all made with pineapple. As pineapple was my favorite fruit, it seemed the closest I could get to heaven on the island.
– That sounds so awesome! What a fun experience. World of Shadows is a Beauty and the Beast retelling. What inspired you to write a retelling? Is Belle one of your favorite Disney princesses?
At the time I started this story, Belle was definitely my favorite. Since starting college I haven’t really favored any one princess. I will say I’m now completely in love with Moana’s movie.
Anyway, I decided to go with Beauty and the Beast because I was reworking a dream I’d had into a story. The talking griffin in that dream reminded me of the Beast in an old non-Disney-version movie. I’m fascinated with fairy tales (more so with the obscure ones Disney hasn’t handled yet) and thought a retelling could be fun, so I went with it. It’s a fairly loose interpretation of the original, though. Fun fact: the invisible people in my story is one of the few elements from the original fairy tale. Disney started the whole idea of anthropomorphic furniture.
– Maybe a Moana retelling could be in the works for a future story. 😉 How do you think you would react if you winded up trapped in underground tunnels with invisible people?
Well, in the dream I married an animal and became queen for years! In the real and waking world, though, I’m not sure what I’d do. Probably start out with a panic attack, leading to a crying breakdown in my bedroom, before pulling up my bootstraps and exploring. If there’s a way in, there must eventually be a way out!
– I think I would be the same way, though maybe not quite as brave in exploring. I’ve heard on numerous occasions that most authors can’t choose a favorite character, BUT I am curious about who you would want to hang out with for a day. Who’s the lucky character to hang out with you? What would you guys do?
I don’t know! I love writing Beila, but I don’t know if we’d get along. The cloaked man is charming, but he kinda creeps me out. He’s Beila’s problem, not mine. Adele, one of the villagers Beila meets, is probably the closest to me in personality but is in a different stage of life from me. She’s a mother and a leader, not a writer or college student. So I’d probably choose a day with Annie, Beila’s friend at school above surface. We could get froyo at night and drive around town listening to Taylor Swift a tad too loud.
– Good point! For my last question/statement, I would love to know if you are going to write any more retellings. 🙂
Definitely. This is actually the first book in a series of retellings. Next up is a Cinderella story called Heart of Ember, hopefully coming out next winter, followed by a Little Mermaid book titled The Rebel Mermaid. I have plans in this series for Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, and Sleeping Beauty, too.
– Yaye! So excited to hear that. Definitely looking forward to reading more in this series. I appreciate you stopping by today and letting me chat with you, Emily.
Born in Panama, Emily Rachelle traveled throughout the country and the world with her Air Force family. She currently attends university in Indiana, pursuing a degree in public relations. When she’s not curled up with a book or her computer, Emily loves to ride around campus on her hideously hot pink bike. Of course, if it’s raining (as it often is in Indiana), Netflix-binging and amateur art are always options. Emily is also the author of poetry collection Rain In December and Christian novella Sixteen.
Join in the excitement of World of Shadows and enter to win one of the special prizes: A paperback copy of World of Shadows, a short story titled “Louna’s Noël,” a $5 Amazon gift card, or an ebook copy of World of Shadows.
Blog Tour Schedule
Dec. 11 – World of Shadows: Launch Day! Party Time! – Emily Rachelle
Dec. 12 – What’s in a Dream – Zara Hoffman
Dec. 13 – Fan Trailer – Laura A. Grace
Dec. 14 – Interview – Laura A. Grace
Dec. 15 – Review – Rebecca
Dec. 16 – Excerpt – Mary Helen
Dec. 17 – Finding Me in a World of Shadows – Alexa
Dec. 18 – Dream Casting – Bethany Cripe
Dec. 19 – Review – Mariella Hunt
Dec. 20 – Playlist – Rebecca
Dec. 21 – Life in the Tunnels – Mariella Hunt
Dec. 22 – Review – Bethany Cripe