Author: Brandie June
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publishing Date: June 8, 2021
Content Warnings: One mild scene of cutting for blood magic.
If Nor can’t spin gold, she can always spin lies.
When seventeen-year-old Nor rescues a captured faerie in the woods, he gifts her with a magical golden thread she can use to summon him for a favor. Instead, Nor uses it for a con—to convince villagers to buy straw that can be transformed into gold. Her trick works a little too well, attracting the suspicion of Prince Casper, who hates nobody more than a liar. Intent on punishing Nor, he demands that she spin a room of straw into gold and as her reward, he will marry her. Should she refuse or fail, the consequences will be dire.
Q- Hi! I’m so glad that you’re doing this interview with me. We’ll start off with some questions to get to know you so: What’s your favorite book? Whose writing do you absolutely love?
A- That’s tricky! I have so many favorites! Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik is definitely one that tops the list. I had already drafted Gold Spun when Spinning Silver came out, but I was intrigued that an author I liked was also putting out a Rumpelstiltskin retelling. Novik took a very different approach to retelling the fairytale, so I was still surprised and delighted reading Spinning Silver. I especially loved the way the stories of the three main women intertwine. For modern books, I love anything by Leigh Bardugo and Holly Black. I recently reread Bardugo’s Ninth House, and I can’t wait for the sequel. For classic reads, I adore Oscar Wilde. His plays are so sharp, so witty, and he has great wordplay.
Q- When did you decide you wanted to be an author? Was there a particular event behind your decision?
A- I’ve always been a storyteller, but I decided I wanted to be an author a bit later in my life. When I was growing up, I dreamed of being an actor. Acting was how I shared a story with an audience. I was in theatre from an early age and majored in theatre at UCLA. But after school, acting wasn’t paying the bills, and I eventually got my MBA and went into marketing kids’ films and anime. I still wanted a creative outlet and began writing. I started with short plays and short stories, and I realized that my true passion was deciding what stories to tell. Acting let me portray one character, but as a writer I could explore all the characters of my stories.
Q- I love the Rumpelstiltskin tale and was so glad you wrote about this. What inspired you to write its retelling?
A- I initially just challenged myself to write a short story where Rumpelstiltskin was the hero instead of the villain. It was fascinating to brainstorm ways he could be the protagonist. That story inspired me to dig deeper into the characters of the Rumpelstiltskin tale, especially the miller’s daughter. I realized I wanted to reframe the story by giving the miller’s daughter way more agency. In the original, she doesn’t even get a name. And it’s a fairytale all about names! Her father, not her, makes the claim about transforming gold. I love empathetic, but morally gray characters, so I pondered how to let her drive her own fate, for better or worse. In Gold Spun, she’s a con artist, so it’s her lies that get her in trouble.
Q- If you could only either read or write for the rest of your life, which would you choose and why?
A- Ahhh – that is such a hard one. I can’t imagine giving up either of those two occupations. I think I would have to choose writing because I never want to stop telling stories. But I am a life-long reader, and can’t imagine any reason I’d ever stop reading.
Q- If you got the chance to co-write with anyone in the world, dead or alive, who would it be?
A- Oscar Wilde, hands down! I love his plays. He was so satirical, so witty, and so clever. I love listening to his dialogue. I wrote my first full-length play about Oscar Wilde meeting his Dorian Gray character, and I pulled Wilde quotes and inserted it into the dialogue. It was such a fun challenge to give his quotes new meaning as his character said them in different context. I also think that brainstorming with him over a Sunday brunch or elegant dinner party would be the best!
Q- What type of books do you love to read the most?
A- I try to read widely, but fantasy, especially YA fantasy, tends to be my favorite genre. I love the idea of magic. When I was a kid, I used to tramp around a forest near my house, desperately hoping to see fairies and or pretending to fight the giant spiders from The Hobbit. Fantasy keeps magic alive for me. I have always loved YA, from the time I was a teenager myself. There is something optimistic and exciting about the characters developing themselves, experiencing many things for the first time, and enthusiastically seeking to change the world that I see more in YA than adult fiction. Of course, there are plenty of adult fiction that does a great job of that, but I see it more in YA.
That’s all for today, thank you so much for doing this with me!
About the Author
Brandie June loves storytelling in all sorts of formats, whether she is marketing animated movies or writing fantasy novels. Most of her early life she was on stage or at least as close to the front row as she could get. Initially an actor, she got her B.A. in Theatre from UCLA and branched out into costume design and playwriting, eventually getting her M.B.A. Her first stand-alone play, a dark comedy about Oscar Wilde, premiered at the Hollywood Fringe Festival to a sold-out run and won the Encore Producers Award. As a writer, she is especially passionate about fantasy and mythology, has published several pieces in anthology, and is a recent finalist with The Writers of the Future Award. Her debut novel, Gold Spun, is a fresh retelling of the Rumpelstiltskin tale through the miller daughter’s POV. Except now the miller’s daughter is a con artist and Rumpelstiltskin is a mysterious faerie with a dark secret.
The whole tour schedule can be found here! (This tour is hosted by TBRandBeyond Tours)
What’s your favorite fairytale retelling??