Christopher Healy: The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom Q&A

Posted May 5, 2012 by Sara 3 Comments

Once upon a time, we read a fantastically hilarious book called The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy. Then, our friends at Walden Pond Press invited to participate in the blog tour and interview Chris himself. So we said YES in hopes of living happily ever after. Maybe tossing in a giveaway for one of you lucky folks will help. Read on, fair reader, and find out!

I thought only girls obsessed over Prince Charming(s). So … what gives?

I’m looking out for all the boys who might read a fairy tale and get a little crush on the princess (Cinderella’s so resourceful! Rapunzel is so brave! Snow White is so… outdoorsy?). Those stories tell their male readers that in order to win the girl, they need to be Prince Charming. So wouldn’t be nice if those boys had princes they could relate to in some way?

Fairy tales have been getting a lot of “remakes” and “retellings” lately — there have been plenty of adaptations in YA fiction, movies like Snow White & the Huntsman, and TV shows like “Grimm” and “Once Upon a Time.” What spark inspired you to give your own twist?

It’s funny, because back when I started writing Hero’s Guide, I had no way of knowing there was about to be a big fairy tale resurgence in pop culture. But even if I were just starting to work on Hero’s Guide right now, I’d still do it the same way. The reason is point of view. I’d never seen a fairy tale retelling done from the prince’s perspective.

Favorite fairy tale & why: go!

Hansel and Gretel! The protagonists are totally relatable kids. And they kick butt (literally, in Gretel’s case). Out of all the old Grimm stories, Hansel and Gretel are two of the most realized characters.

I’m constantly fascinated by the idea of “Middle Grade” fiction and what it means to different people. What does the term mean to you, and why write middle grade?

To be honest, I wrote a middle-grade book because my daughter is ten. If she were fifteen, I may have written Hero’s Guide very differently. But MG is a wonderful place to be. Its readers are open to just about anything, and when they like something, they’re very vocal about it.

I actually don’t get around to reading a lot of MG books (for a variety of reasons), but when I was first offered the chance to read an advance copy of HERO’S GUIDE, I immediately said yes — because the little girl in me is still obsessed with fairy tales (and yes, sometimes I wear a tiara around the house because they are pretty and make doing housework a bit more bearable. Yes, really.) So with that long-winded set-up … what is it, do you think, that makes fairy tales so universally appealing? Why are they still so popular? Why do we still fantasize about prince charming and happily ever after?

Here’s why I think adults love fairy tales: Think back to when you were a little kid (or if you’re a parent, look at your own kids). There’s an absolute love of repetition. Kids can watch the same movie forty-nine times without tiring of it. They can listen to their parents read the same bedtime story until the cover falls off the book (and beyond that). But when mom or dad, for sanity’s sake, decides to get creative and change a few details — that’s when the kids really go wild.

I think that same feeling arises in adulthood when we’re presented with a classic story we already know. We first get a warm fuzzy nostalgia for that time in our lives when we loved seeing the same thing over and over and over. And then we get a little extra thrill the moment we think, “But how will it be different this time?”

Flash Questions:

Private concert: who’s playing

Brandi Carlile and Kelly Clarkson. Because that duet would be awesome.

Pizza toppings?

Artichoke hearts and roasted red peppers.

Book you can’t stop re-reading?

I don’t re-read books very often, although I did recently re-read The Westing Game and it was amazing.

Living or dead, who would you like to have dinner with?

The writers of Lost, so they could finally tell me what the damn island was supposed to be.

Perfect vacation?

Barcelona. It was the site of the best vacation I’ve ever had, and I would love to go again.

Look at your desk right now. Name five things within reach.

1. Legend of Zelda sword/letter opener.

2. A rock on which my daughter painted “My Dad Rocks!”

3. Small robot desk vacuum (for sucking up lunch crumbs).

4. One of my son’s many, many ninja drawings.

5. Spanish-language movie poster for “El Superhombre.” (Technically on the wall behind my desk, but still within reach.)

Thanks Chris, for stopping by! Be sure to check him out at one of his upcoming tour stops.

Hero’s Guide Audiobook Giveaway

Thanks to Walden Pond Press, we’re giving away an Audiobook of The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom (which you can preview for free here!)

To enter, fill out the Hero’s Guide Audiobook Giveaway Entry Form and tell us who is YOUR favorite fairy tale prince.

Rules:

  • One entry per person
  • U.S. only
  • Use the entry form

All entries are due by midnight (PT) on Wednesday, May 9th.

Questions? Leave ’em in the comments & we’ll reply!

Sara
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