Friday, January 4, 2013

Broken Blog Tour

A string of suspicious deaths near a small Michigan town ends with a fall that claims the life of Emma Gentry's boyfriend, Daniel. Emma is broken, a hollow shell mechanically moving through her days. She and Daniel had been made for each other, complete only when they were together. Now she restlessly wanders the town in the late Fall gloom, haunting the cemetery and its white-marbled tombs, feeling Daniel everywhere, his spectre in the moonlight and the fog.

When she encounters newcomer Alex Franks, only son of a renowned widowed surgeon, she's intrigued despite herself. He's an enigma, melting into shadows, preferring to keep to himself. But he is as drawn to her as she is to him. He is strangely... familiar. From the way he knows how to open her locker when it sticks, to the nickname she shared only with Daniel, even his hazel eyes with brown flecks are just like Daniel's.

The closer they become, though, the more something inside her screams there's something very wrong with Alex Franks. And when Emma stumbles across a grotesque and terrifying menagerie of mangled but living animals within the walls of the Franks' estate, creatures she surely knows must have died from their injuries, she knows

Guest Post by A.E. Rought 

Challenges of writing a retelling
Thanks so much for having me here on Falling for YA! I’ve been on blogs talking about retellings often since news of Broken’s sale went public. Everything from why I chose a write one, to how I wrote it, to what I put it and what I took out. As with every modern spin on a classic, there are questions to answer: the standard who/what/when/where/why and then, how close is too close? Where’s the line? Is there such a thing as too different? Do I dare tread where my toes might get bitten off?

With retellings, there are inherent boons and challenges.

Let’s focus on the good stuff first. When working with a retelling of a classic, there is much to draw from; characters, themes, plot threads, a world already conceived and ready to be studied. The reapplication of these is only limited by the number of minds to think them up! It’s kind of like having a designer ice cream shop where you can pick the flavors, the fillings, the serving size, the toppings… 

It’s still ice cream, but YOUR ice cream.

I’ll admit, when working up Broken, I was all about the boons and building the retelling sundae my way. It was originally intended for just me and my readers, so I wandered the cases of Frankenstein elements, picking this thread because it went so well with the flavor we loved, and accenting with this texture and that color. 

The challenges, for me, were what to use and why. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is such a rich, layered work, and told Victor Frankenstein’s story so brilliantly. I knew I didn’t want to tread that close, especially with other authors adding their spins to his tale. Settling on Frankenstein’s monster was one challenge met. Then, my plot buddy and I opted for the more sympathetic, hero-like version of the monster in the movie VanHelsing—pretty kitsch in comparison to the original, I know, but I’m a sucker for a tortured good guy with dark qualities.

I used the mad scientist creating life and the repercussions as a major plot thread, which produced the challenge of how to tell it using the monster as a focal point. Creating Emma, the girl that falls for my version of the monster and telling it from her point of view, solved that. It also gave me a great avenue to further explore the far-reaching effects of what a modern day Frankenstein monster scenario could have. Mostly, I wanted to break hearts, and Emma and Alex gave me a lot to work with!
Another challenge I created for myself, how to keep the Gothic feel in such a modern spin? Emma’s voice did a lot to address that issue, as did her nightmares. The cemetery location helped, too, even though I would’ve used it anyway. The Franks’ estate mimics the typical Gothic castle, and the animals on it definitely up the creepy atmosphere. And the deer…

So, I think challenges and choices go hand-n-hand, and every retelling—every story—is its own choice. There are some questions I think affect any modern spin: how close? how far? vanilla or chocolate?

I think I’ll take my retellings swirled, because I enjoy the challenges of twisting what was into something new. 

Author Bio:
Funny: A known introvert and mild megalomaniac — handy because writing indulges both. When not writing, A.E. can be found slaving under the cat’s demands, chasing the laundry, or whipping up really good bad food in the kitchen.

Somewhat serious: Self-proclaimed nerd, A.E. Rought has spent most of her early life in libraries and bookstores. It’s no surprise that she turned to writing shortly after creative arts college. She has novels of varying genres, and different pennames, published since 2006.

Serious-er: A student of language arts, A.E. Rought studied creative writing while attending Grand Valley State University with a focus on languages; French, Russian, and English. Now, married and a mother, A.E. writes from the comfort of home.

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  1. This book was not on my radar before but now it is on my TBR list Thanks!!

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