"The book is a film that takes place in the mind of the reader." ~ Paulo Coelho

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Snow White Author Interview with Rachel Kovaciny

Howdy, y'all!

Today I am participating in the blog book tour for Rachel Kovaciny's new book, One Bad Apple, which released yesterday!
I'm so thrilled about this, and my copy is supposed to arrive any day now, but in the mean time I'll be interviewing Rachel. Enjoy reading all her awesome answers to my questions!

(This is obvious, but I'm in bold or red, and Rachel is in standard type. Also, all links are to the reviews on Rachel's blogs if applicable.)

Welcome to my blog, Rachel! Thanks for being my first interviewed author on my blog! (Woop woop! Exciting day for us both). Here are my questions for you:

When did you start writing stories and when did you know that you wanted to be an author?

I've been telling stories for as long as I can remember.  Once in a while, I would scribble one down, but it wasn't until I was 14 that I said, "I want to learn how to write better stories."  So I started writing short stories, mostly based on favorite TV shows, though I didn't know that fanfiction was an actual thing at that time.  I shared them with my parents, my brother, and sometimes visiting grandparents.  But I didn't have my sights set on being an author, I was just having fun doing something new.  When I was about 16, I took high school chemistry and realized I didn't want to be a veterinarian after all.  I'd loved biology, but chemistry?  Nope.  So I started trying to figure out a new answer to the "what are you going to be?" question I was getting a lot at that age, and I settled on Journalist.  I wrote a few pieces for my local newspaper and went to college confident I would be a journalist.

And then I realized I hated talking to strangers still, even though I was technically an adult.  So much for journalism.  But by then, I loved writing fiction, so I joined the campus writer's group, took creative writing courses, and graduated with a degree in Liberal Arts with concentrations in English and History.  Somewhere in all that, I decided that yeah, I was going to get published some day.

Not to put you in a hard spot, but what's your favorite thing that you've written?

It might be Dancing and Doughnuts right now, but I think when I have a little more distance from it, One Bad Apple may end up being my favorite.

What was your introduction to Westerns?

My parents took me to the movie theater to see The Man from Snowy River (1982) when I was two years old.  I've loved anything involving cowboys and horses ever since.  It's still my favorite movie.

What is your favorite Western book or movie?

Well, I just answered with the movie above, The Man from Snowy River (1982), though that takes place in Australia.  My favorite movie that takes place in the American Old West is The Sons of Katie Elder (1965).  My favorite western book is Shane - by Jack Schaefer, which I've read three times and do not tire of.

How did you come up with the idea of writing fairytale retellings without magic?

I am not a big fan of world-building.  As in, creating a made-up world that makes sense.  It's HARD.  This is a big part of why I don't write fantasy or sci-fi.  I would rather research how things actually worked in the past (or present) than make it all up.  So creating a magic system within an Old West setting never appealed to me.  Also, I have a lot of Christian friends who don't read books with magic in them because it conflicts with their beliefs, and many of them were sad that a lot of fairy tale retellings are kind of off-limits to them as a result.  I wanted them to be able to read my books, so that really confirmed my desire to find non-magical ways to retell them.

What is the first fairytale that you remember hearing/reading?

I had this collection of Disney records with storybooks when I was really small, starting when I was probably three, and my parents gave me an old turntable to play them on.  I had Cinderella, Snow White, the Brave Little Tailor, and Jack and the Beanstalk, so one of those was probably the first.  No idea which one anymore!

What was your first experience with Snow White and the Seven Dwarves?

Definitely the Disney read-aloud book + record.  Although I also had this other record of stories for kids that didn't have a book with it, but it had a lot of songs.  I remember one from their version of Snow White went something like "We're seven little men, no bigger than your thumb, tweedly-dee, tweedly-die, tweedly-dum-dum."  I remember being annoyed that the illustration on the record's sleeve showed the dwarfs being a LOT bigger than Snow White's thumb and being annoyed by the song because it wasn't accurate.

How many versions of Snow White have you seen and read?

Let's see... I've seen the 1937 Disney animated film (which I don't like much), Mirror Mirror (2012) (funny and silly), Snow White and the Huntsman (2012) (only worth it for Chris Hemsworth and the aesthetic), and Ball of Fire (1941) (modern-day retelling that's awesome).

(I happen to have seen all of those and I agree with those shorts thoughts!)

As for books, I've read the Grimm version in several different forms, the wonderful collection Five Poisoned Apples (ed. by Anne Elisabeth Stengl -- my favorite is "Falling Snow" - by Skye Hoffert), January Snow - by Hayden Wand (quite cool), "Hart Spring" - by Meredith Leigh Burton (very sweet, from her Blind Beauty collection), Death be Not Proud - by Suzannah Rowntree (also cool),  and the graphic novel Snow White - by Matt Phelan (fantastic!).

What are your favorite versions of Snow White?

"Falling Snow" by Skye Hoffert is my #1 favorite.  She sets the story in a magical circus during Prohibition, and it is dark and brave and delicious.  I've read it four times.  I also love the movie Ball of Fire, another one set in the twentieth century, in which Snow White is a nightclub singer and the dwarfs are professors writing an encyclopedia.  It's so, so funny.

How did you feel being one of the judges/readers for Five Poisoned Apples?

It was wonderful!  A lot of work, but wonderful.  I learned a lot from it about things that really work in a retelling and things that... really don't.  I read almost twenty stories for it, and it was so cool to see how many ways you can retell the same story and make it all different and fresh.  It was an honor and a thrill.

Have you read the fairytale Snow White and Rose Red? Thoughts?

I have!  I had a picture book version of it as a kid, and the daughters were really pretty, but there was this extremely creepy ogre that had a necklace that freaked me out, so I only read it very occasionally.  But anyway, the story is a good one, very different from "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs."  I like that it has a sister dynamic to it, because sibling relationships are one of my favorite things to explore.

If you were a fairytale character, who would you be?

Probably Cinderella.  Just doing my thing, getting my work done, trying to be kind and keep up my courage.

Who is an author who inspires you?

As far as sheer beauty of the way he puts words together, Raymond Chandler.  I always reread one of his novels when I'm in the last stages of polishing one of my own because he focuses me on descriptions like no one else can.  As far as being able to make ordinary people and normal, everyday life shine, L. M. Montgomery is a continual inspiration.

What is your favorite writing quote?

"Every time you write, something valuable will occur." -- SARK

And finally, what advice would you give to writers who are struggling with part of their story?

Refill your creative reservoir.  Go watch a movie, read a book, go to an art gallery (or visit one virtually), watch a play.  If you keep your reservoir filled, creativity will spill out of you.

Also, be okay with trying something that might not work.  You can always rewrite it and find what does.  And rewriting a story does not mean you told it badly the first time!  It just means you have found a way to tell it even better.  When I decided to enter the Sleeping Beauty contest for the Five Magic Spindles collection, I wrote a whole story, about 20K.  Gave it to my best friend, and she said, "This is nice, but kinda boring.  What if you told it from someone else's point of view?"  I sulked.  I fumed.  For like a week.  Then I rewrote the WHOLE THING, start to finish, going from telling it in third person from the gunfighter/prince's POV to telling it in first person from the midwife/good fairy's POV.  And it transformed the story.  It won the contest.  Rewriting doesn't mean you did something wrong, it just means you're finding an even better way to tell your story.

Finally, write what you love.  People say "write what you know," but you can learn about anything with a library card, internet connection, and patience.  Write what you love because, if you're successful and get to write a lot of it, you'll get tired of it if you don't love it.

This is back to MC again. Thanks to Rachel for her awesome answers! By now you are probably wondering, "What is One Bad Apple even about? Would you care to share, MC?" I'm happy to oblige:

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs… reimagined.

When a wagon train of Black pioneers rescues the seven orphaned Dalton cousins from the side of the trail, it seems like an answer to their prayers. As they roll west toward Kansas, fourteen-year-old Levi Dalton is dazzled by the beautiful Mrs. Mallone. She's a healer, and her knowledge of medicines and herbs inspires Levi to want to become a doctor. Maybe then he can stop people from dying of fevers and illnesses like his folks did. 

But Mrs. Mallone's stepdaughter, Hopeful, warns Levi not to become too attached to the healer. Levi dismisses her warnings and his own misgivings until the day he sees something dreadful. 

Levi knows he needs to tell someone what he’s seen before it’s too late. But will anyone believe the story of a fourteen-year-old orphan? Will anyone stand up to evil, no matter how beautifully it’s packaged?

Want to join in the release party fun? Well, Rachel is acting like a fairy godmother and hosting a giveaway! Check out the awesome goodies that she has HERE or HERE.

Want your own copy of One Bad Apple? Buy it on:

Author info:

This blog tour is loaded with reviews and interviews! To read all the posts as they come out, check HERE.

Congrats to Rachel for publishing One Bad Apple! I can't wait to read it.

Thanks for reading! Who else loves the fairytale Snow White and the Seven Dwarves? Have you seen or read any of the versions that Rachel talked about?



  1. Congrats, Rachel! And MC, those were great interview questions!

    1. Thanks, Samantha! Once you get me started talking about fairytales I can't stop...

  2. That's really good writing advice, about being willing to try ideas that might not work. I've definitely had that same experience, where a "scrapped" idea turned into something way cooler.

    1. It's super inspiring advice, for sure! Feedback can really help you grow even if you have to rewrite. Thanks for commenting here, Katie!!

  3. Thanks for all the lovely questions, MC :-) Such a great variety! And thanks for being part of my book tour! I hope you like the book when you get a chance to read it.

    1. Sure thing! Thank you for all your fantastic answers! :-) I'm honored to have been a part, so thanks for the opportunity. Any day now!!

  4. Great interview! I haven't read many snow white books. This one seems cool! :)


    1. I hadn't read many Snow White stories until a few years ago when I was writing my own, and I got a little obsessed! Can't wait for this one!

  5. I'm looking forward to this book so much. :D

  6. Great interview! I loved hearing how Rachel decided to be a writer and her reasons for not including magic. Now I'm just crying over the sweet comments about Falling Snow! I also need to watch Ball of fire.

    1. Thanks! Right! She had awesome answers, and fulfilled my curiosity. All her words are justly deserved! Falling Snow is so gorgeous and exquisite, I love it!!!


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"If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, where you stop your story." -Orson Welles