Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Rocking with Danielle E. Shipley

Ha! Once again, I see what you did there!

I'm a sucker for an "almost clever" pun! Danielle! So pleased to have you return to my blog for another interview! Especially one that relates to “The Wilderhark Tales”!

Couldn’t be happier to be here, Kimberly! Few things delight me as you and Wilderhark-talk do. ^.^

I could say the same thing! Speaking of the Wilderharks, “The Stone Kingdom” is the second book in “The Wilderhark Tales” (“The Swan Prince” being the first). What was different about writing the second book as compared to the first?

I can’t speak for how other people’s brains work, but books and music come with colors, for me. Since “The Wilderhark Tales” are self-published, giving me madness-inducing amounts of control over the novellas’ appearances (bwa-hahaha, the power…),(lol) I was able to show those color schemes in my head to my readers via my wonderful cover artist. (Have I mentioned lately that I love you, Yana Naumova? Because I do.) “The Swan Prince” had a moodier, more mysterious tone – twilight blues, silver and gray. “The Stone Kingdom”, on the other hand, came a little bit brighter – the rose and gold of morning dawning.

Yes, the first thing I noticed about your new cover was how bright it is! I think you portrayed the moods in your works perfectly, and Yana Naumova has incredible talent! I love the intricate details that flow effortlessly through her work. Matches the way your work feels so smooth and fun to read!

Ooh-ee, I don’t know that I’ve heard my writing called “smooth” before! I love it – thank you! 

Everyone gets what they deserve ;)

Aw-w. ^.^ Back to the books, I enjoyed the tones of each in its own way, but I suppose “Stone Kingdom” made for the more effortlessly pleasant experience. I’d credit Edgwyn for that, but it’s a bit early in the interview to make him blush that hard, so I’ll leave it alone.

Edgwyn does have a way of brightening the world around him!

(A-a-and *cue* the blush! XD)

Lol! It's fascinating how the mood of the character has the power to effect the entire book--something visible in "The Swan Prince" as well. Speaking of which, several characters from “The Swan Prince” appear in “The Stone Kingdom”. Avoiding spoilers for either book, how have those characters grown and changed between the two novels?

I think the biggest change between then and now is that certain people have gotten a little better at showing their softer sides. …which is a very good thing, given the levels of emotional repression in Book One!

Certainly! Do you have any behind the scenes information on what happened during the passage of time between the books?

Political news, mostly. A long-lost prince returned to his kingdom and took the throne. A princess presumed dead reappeared in her own kingdom for a quick hi/bye before leaving again to marry into another territory. The anarchwitch struggle against the monarchy continues, though the movement appears to be on the wane. Other than that, same old, same old.

What more can you tell us of the "anarchwitch" movement. I hear rumor that these are magical beings that fight against unlawful power, while also teaching a powerful lesson. But where did they come from?

Oh, the power they fight against is perfectly lawful; at least, it’s the government, so interpret that any way you will. It all started long, long ago, at the formation of civilization in the Great Land (the continent where much of the Wilderhark Tales takes place). The chosen leaders made a magical pact with their people and their land, the main thrust of which being that so long as their dynasties ruled, the kingdoms would thrive. It was a good, well-intentioned arrangement, and largely successful; all-out war was nonexistent, since it was in no one’s best interest to take by force a land that would not serve any but the rightful rulers. The trouble was, as generations went by, the privilege of being born to power started going to some royals’ heads. Long story short, a number of witches got fed up with the superiority complex found in half the castles, so they banded together with the mission to humble the monarchy through magical harassment – hence the sorts of curses chronicled in “Swan Prince” and “Stone Kingdom”.

Curses that make for interesting books--yes, I follow. ;) "The Swan Prince" had Sula to fight against curses. In "The Stone Kingdom" Rosalba appears as the main character. What was different about writing her than writing Sula?

Dealing with Rosalba was a lot more straightforward, since she’s more upfront and honest than Sula. They’re both proud and goal-oriented young ladies, but Rosalba’s more reasonable and personable, willing to reach out for necessary help and to let people in, whereas Sula’s mistrustful of people and doesn’t like to let them any closer than she absolutely has to in order to achieve her ends. Anything Sula does is predominantly Sula-centered, while Rosalba actually bothers to consider how her actions will affect others. It all makes for very different interactions between them and the characters they meet; if ever they were to take each other’s places in a story swap, the plot lines would go in completely divergent directions! I would consider Rosalba to be role model material. Sula? I’m probably too much like her as it is.

Lol! What about Edgwyn, the tailor that helps Rosalba in the quest to break the spell set on her kingdom? Are you much like him?

Oh, man, do I ever wish! But no, he’s the better human being by a mile. I haven’t found that we have much in common, save for that we both enjoy acting silly and adore babies.

Both excellent qualities! How do you feel about fabric? Edgwyn has a deep obsession with it. Is there a particular reason (aka what was the inspiration) for making him a tailor?

Back when I was in the early pre-planning stages of the book – when I had virtually nothing to go on but, “Second book. Something to do with Rapunzel and/or Sleeping Beauty. Her name’s Rosalba, and that guy’s name is, uh… Edgwyn. Sure; Edgwyn. Run with it.” – my first assumption was that he would be a prince. I mean, he finds an enchanted princess trapped in a tower; that’s usually a prince’s job, right? But then my mind heard echoes of their future dialogue from when they first meet – her asking him if he’s a prince, and him answering, with some amusement, that no, as a matter of fact, he isn’t. Well, all right, then, I thought. If he’s not a prince, what is he? I can’t remember any special reason why I settled on a tailor for his profession. I guess it was like his name: I simply knew it belonged to him.

Writing's enjoyable like that--wisps of inspiration, and boundless surprises. It's got to be one of my favorite parts of writing--that, and adding details. One of my favorite details in "The Stone Kingdom" was Edgwyn's horse with an attitude named Minnie. How did he come by her?

Yee-ha, more backstory I wondered when I’d ever get the chance to tell the public! Once upon a couple years before he shows up in the book, Edgwyn was taking in the sights at the Peasequay Summer’s End Faire, same as he does every year. He had been particularly fond of horses since his childhood, and thought it was about time he considered adopting one of his own. (Yes, “adopting”, not “buying”. Buying is what you do with things, and Edgwyn does not view horses as things, but rather as very strong people with extra legs and such.) So he browsed the Faire’s corral of horses for sale (erm, adoption), and the lively gray mare seemed to like him – which, according to the handler, was kind of a big deal, since she hadn’t been particularly friendly with anyone else who’d come to take a look at her. Taking it as a sign that they were rider-and-steed soul mates, Edgwyn chose the gray and named her Wilhelmina (Minnie for short), and the two have been happily together ever after. The End.

I'll admit that I love horses, so they appear often and abundantly in just about everything I write. Do you share Edgwyn's views of horses?

I was pretty into horses, as a kid; had a couple years of riding lessons, a bit of volunteer work at a stable, and a collection of horse figurines that I half-regret having given away. The interest never escalated into Edgwyn-level love, though. For that, show me a doggie!

Speaking of love and lovely things, say YOU were going to a fancy ball. What sort of dress would Edgwyn make for you?

Oh, he’d be so pleased! He thinks I should get out more and he hates my clothes. 


X) Let’s see… I love blue, but he might not think it’s my best color. Something in scarlet, perhaps; he knows I’d like that, since it would remind me of Will Scarlet from my to-be-published-after-Wilderhark-stuff “Ballad of Allyn-a-Dale” books.

Will those be self publications?

They shall indeed! Ooh, Edgwyn, could you make me something that screams “Robin Hood and his Merry Men”?!

“So loud it would drown out all but your squeals of joy,” he promises.

Huzzah! I don’t expect I’ll ever be able to picture it properly, though. I’m not very talented at visualizing outfits. Just one more reason I wish Edgwyn were real; I’d love to know what his wardrobe looks like!

True story. Some of the things he makes in the book, I wish I could see in real life. But I suppose that's the price we pay for writing spin-offs of traditional fairytales. Speaking of which, can you give us any hints as to what the next Wilderhark Tale will be based off?

I’m almost afraid to put any words together, lest I blurt out all the good stuff in my excitement! So I shall leave you with only this riddle of a rhyme plucked from the story’s pages (as seen in the Sneak Peek at the end of “The Stone Kingdom”!):

“The musical maiden, princes tied to water,
The hundred-year princess, the girl in the straw;
The monster at sunset, the prince long forgotten,
The minstrel, the tailor, and she of the ball:
When all of these mentioned meet north of the dawn,
All seven spells finish, for once and for all.”

The perfect note of mystery to end on, I'd say! Thank you for this lovely chat, Danielle. I expect we’ll be meeting up again soon, or rather our CHARACTERS will on this blog for their own interview in exactly one week!

Boo-yah! We’re all in for a treat! Thank you for having me, Kimberly. It was a pleasure, as always!


  1. Thanks again for the chat, K! Look up "fantastimarvelawsome" in the dictionary, and either it won't be there, or your picture will be next to it. X)

    1. The dictionary has no match for the amazingness that is Kim. :)

    2. You guys are too kind, thank you!

  2. Is it sad that part of the reason I'm so excited for this is because my protagonist also shortens her name to Minnie?