Bethany Atazadeh - Retelling Fairy Tales in a Fresh, New Way
Bethany Atazadeh is best known for her young adult fantasy novels, The Stolen Kingdom Series, which won the Best YA Author 2020 Minnesota Author Project award. She is obsessed with stories, chocolate, and her corgi puppy, Penny. Using her degree in English with a creative writing emphasis, Bethany enjoys helping other writers through her YouTube aka "AuthorTube" writing channel: https://www.youtube.com/bethanyatazadeh. As our Author of the Day, she tells us all about her book, The Stolen Kingdom.
Please give us a short introduction to what The Stolen Kingdom is about.
The Stolen Kingdom is an Aladdin retelling where the dainty princess and the friendly genie are replaced by a tough heroine and a magical race that everyone fears.
What inspired you to do an Aladdin retelling?
My husband is from Iran and he was sharing how the word "Genie" is from the middle eastern word "Jinn" or "Jinni"... as he described them, it intrigued me enough to look it up and the retelling was born!
Tell us more about Princess Arie. What makes her tick?
Arie is eager to become queen of her humble kingdom and never expects to manifest a Jinni’s Gift. When she begins to hear thoughts, she's forced to hide her forbidden ability. One slip could cost her throne and her life.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
I am currently really into making videos on YouTube, or more specifically, "AuthorTube." It's been so fun to share my journey there and help other writers.
I'm also a musician and used to sing and play guitar in multiple bands, as well as made a few different albums. I still love songwriting and recording, but there's only so much time in the day and my writing has kind of taken over!
Why did you title this "The Stolen Kingdom"?
Arie is facing the neighboring King Amir's attempt to steal her throne and as her story begins, we see her struggling not to lose her kingdom. That said, "the stolen kingdom" is also an overarching theme that will be revealed in the final fourth book as well!
All the books of the Stolen Kingdom Series are retellings of fairytales. How did you approach taking centuries-old fairytales and telling them in a fresh way?
I spent some time studying the original fairytales and then tried to break them down into the 15 "story beats" from Save the Cat Writes a Novel (an awesome writing craft book)! This helped me see the fundamental parts of the story that I could translate to new characters, but I also loved finding some specific elements such as the lamp in Aladdin, and giving them unique roles as well.
Tell us more about the cover, and how it came about.
Creating book covers are one of my absolute favorite things about being a self-published author. I get to work closely with the cover designers and choose which elements that are my favorite, but I also make an effort to pay close attention to what works best in my genre and what's trending. Castles on book covers is definitely a favorite in young adult fantasy, but I noticed that character-centric covers are also the most popular when it comes to indie book covers.
When starting on a new book, what is the first thing you do?
These days I almost always spend some time going through the craft book "Save the Cat Writes a Novel" and figuring out what the 15 essential "beats" of the story are. After a few days or a week, once I feel I've worked out the basics, I dive right into drafting!
What are you working on right now?
Right now I'm working on finishing up The Enchanted Crown (the fourth book in The Stolen Kingdom series) for publishing. It comes out on March 23, 2021 (less than three months!) and I'm just about to send it off to my editor for a final round of revision. After that, it'll just need a bit of proofreading and then I'll begin sending out ARCs and preparing to publish!
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
CONNECT WITH ME ON:
Amazon Author Profile: https://www.amazon.com/~/e/B077FRKJGW