And here we are, day four of our Launch Week celebration! Today I have the pleasure of hosting the author of "Rosara and the Jungle King," amazing talent, Dorian Tsukioka. Dorian has already published two other fairy tale retellings (including another version of "Beauty and the Beast," believe it or not!), proving her boundless imagination several times over! And her story in this collection is quite possibly her most beautiful, vivid, exciting adventure yet . . .
How did you find out about the Five Enchanted Roses contest?
Dorian Tsukioka: A friend of mine (who also introduced me to Anne Elisabeth’s books) told me that Anne Elisabeth was hosting a writing contest for a retelling of Cinderella in 2013. I loved writing, but rarely finished anything. I decided to give it a try, and by golly, I finished my retelling of Cinderella and submitted it to the contest.
Alas, I did not win that contest.
However, undaunted, I eagerly anticipated the next year’s contest, and in the summer of 2014, my friend informed me again of another fairy tale retelling contest, this time for Beauty and the Beast. I was so eager to try my hand that I wrote two stories!
Did your story idea spring immediately to mind or did you have to work to find it?
Dorian Tsukioka: I always have a seed of an idea in my head. But, the idea is never a complete story. For example, in "Rosara and the Jungle King," my initial idea was “what if the girl was actually the beast?” That kernel of an idea sprouted very quickly, but I had to work very hard on the actual plot. I asked myself all sorts of questions like “What kind of beast would she be?” “Where would the story take place?” “Why is she a beast?”. Answering those questions lead me to creating a loose outline and then I was able to start writing the story.
What makes this retelling of the classic tale uniquely special to you?
|Dorian's Inspiration for her heroine, Rosara.|
Dorian Tsukioka: When I was brainstorming the idea for "Rosara," I knew I wanted to set the story in a very special and specific location. For some unknown reason, the Amazon rainforest came to mind. In college, I had studied about an indigenous Amazonian tribe called the Yanomami. All of this came back to me in a rush, and I knew I needed to set my story there. What if my Beauty was one of the Yanomami? What might that be like for her? This specific tribe provided a lot of inspiration for the tribe I created. The rainforest provided many different natural and supernatural beasts as well as a lovely, if dangerous, setting in which the story could unfold.
If you had to pick a favorite fairy tale, which would it be and why?
Dorian Tsukioka: My favorite fairy tale from childhood was always Hansel and Gretyl. It scared the pee out of me as a kid, and I loved it for that. I also loved the house made out of candy. If that was me out in the middle of the forest, I would have been a goner, too.
Keeping in mind the many themes of the classic fairy tale, have you ever experienced a "Beauty and the Beast" moment in your life?
Dorian Tsukioka: One of the most obvious themes in Beauty and the Beast is “don’t judge a book by its cover.” This is the story of my life. Not only regarding me, but also all the people that I meet. I try to keep in mind that although I can only a person’s exterior, inside of them resides a divine spark — you just have to look hard enough to see it.
Another theme that I love in this story is about grace and love. Just like the beast, many of can be unlovable for a myriad of reasons. However, love is a choice. If we choose to love someone in spite of their unlovable state, we’re just like Beauty who falls in love with the Beast. By choice, we see beyond the exterior to love what’s inside, regardless of their beastly, unlovable nature. This is grace.
Sorry to get all philosophical, but these themes of grace, love, and seeing beyond the exterior to the diamond in the rough, is something I experience daily. I’m the recipient of grace because I’m often very unlovable and beastly.
DORIAN TSUKIOKA writes fairy tale retellings, young adult fantasy, and science fiction wtih just a dash of romance thrown in. When she's not writing, Dorian teaches 5th graders in Kansas City, MO, or she can be found chasing after her two, pixie-esque daughters. She has a love of learning and teaching, and loves to talk about books with anyone who will listen, especially if the conversation includes cinnamon-chip scones and caramel lattes.
In honor of this exciting release, the authors of Five Enchanted Roses have teamed up with Rooglewood Press to offer an exciting Giveaway Bundle for one lucky winner! Included in the bundle will be:1 "Book of Omens" red leather journal from Kaycee Browning
1 print copy of Five Enchanted Roses
1 print copy of Five Enchanted Roses
1 Lilla Rose cameo hair clip from Savannah Jezowski
1 pressed rose bookmark from Jenelle Schmidt
1 pair of jaguar sunglasses from Dorian Tsukioka1 gorgeous rose and pearl necklace
Share any of the following images (or any of the images from our Launch Week Celebration) on your social media sites -- Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, blogs, etc.
You may also gain one free entry by leaving a comment for Dorian down below, congratulating her on her new story or asking her a question about "Rosara and the Jungle King."
Have fun spreading the news about this awesome new collection from Rooglewood Press!