Friday, September 6, 2013

All About Middle Grade Interview: Diane Zahler (author of Sleeping Beauty's Daughters)

This week, I am very excited to welcome Diane Zahler, author of Sleeping Beauty's Daughters, to the blog. I hope that y'all will give her a very warm welcome.

About the Author:
I grew up reading children's books and never wanted to do anything but write them. Then I got a contract for THE THIRTEENTH PRINCESS and A TRUE PRINCESS, and then PRINCESS OF THE WILD SWANS and, coming in August, SLEEPING BEAUTY'S DAUGHTERS. Magic does happen! I live in the country with my husband in what is aptly nicknamed the Bug House. Visit my website at

You can haunt Diane Zahler at -
Website | Goodreads | Twitter |


1. How does your retelling of Sleeping Beauty, Sleeping Beauty's Daughters, differ from the original?

Sleeping Beauty’s Daughters is the story of what happens when the evil spell that made Sleeping Beauty sleep for a hundred years is visited on the next generation. So Sleeping Beauty is a character in the story, but it really focuses on her two daughters, Aurora and Luna, and their desperate attempt to escape the curse.

2. In five words, per a character, could you introduce readers to the Princesses Aurora and Luna?

Let’s see….Aurora: sensitive, thoughtful, anxious, smart, compassionate. Luna: bold, lively, courageous, stubborn, indiscreet.

3. Alright, you have seven words to hook potential readers of Sleeping Beauty's Daughters, what would you say to pull them in?

A curse, two princesses, a perilous journey!

4. Reader to reader, why do you enjoy reading and writing children's books?

I’ve always wanted to write children’s books, since I was old enough to read myself. Those are the books that had the greatest impact on me, the ones I turn back to most often. When I was my readers’ age, books were everything to me – an escape, a friend, a voyage to an unknown place and time. My greatest hope is that my books can be that for other kids.

5. What are three of your (current) favorite middle grades reads? Why?

I love The Seven Tales of Trinket by Shelley Moore Thomas (2012). It’s a wonderfully imaginative fantasy rooted in history. Rebecca Stead’s recent books, When You Reach Me (2009) and Liar and Spy (2012), are more realistic fiction and are beautifully written. Since that’s only two authors, I’ll add Kristen Kittscher’s The Wig in the Window (2013), which is a fun mystery by a great debut author.

6. Besides being able to continue reading while working (total win there), what did you enjoy most about being a librarian?

I wasn’t a real librarian – I was what was called a library page (isn’t that a perfect job title?), which is sort of a lowly assistant. And I loved doing the story hours at my library. I was in charge of them; we did two or three a week. It was tremendous fun seeing the kids’ reactions to different books and figuring out which ones they liked and why. Their absolute favorite was always Where the Wild Things Are. I can still recite it by heart.

7. Diane, I've heard that a couple of your books were inspired by places you've visited. Is there anywhere that you would like to visit that you think would make a good setting for a book?

I wrote a nonfiction book about Burma (aka Myanmar) called Than Shwe’s Burma in 2010, and at the time the country was completely closed to the outside world. Now Burma is opening to the West more and more, and I know from my research that there are astonishing things to see there. The country is such a mystery to most people that I think it would make a fabulous setting for a story.


8. The world has fallen to a robot invasion and only one heroine/hero can possibly save the day, who do you choose? 
Oh, that’s a tough one! I assume I shouldn’t pick one of my own princesses, right? Maybe Meg Murray from A Wrinkle in Time. She doesn’t seem like hero material at the outset, but she’s super smart and surely could figure out a way to pacify the robots.

9. Care to tell us about your writing cave (include picture if you want)?
It’s a writing couch. I kind of sprawl on the couch with my new dog, Flora, within petting distance, and write till my computer runs out of juice. Then I plug in to recharge and take the dog for a walk.

10. Any upcoming projects that you can share with us?

I’m working on a new middle grade novel. It has magic, baking, and pirates in it…and a princess, but she isn’t the main character. I can’t tell you any more because it’s not finished – and I’m not completely sure what’s going to happen next!

 Diane, thanks so much for stopping by and answering some questions about your newest book, Sleeping Beauty's Daughters. 

Sleeping Beauty's Daughters by Diane Zahler, August 27, 2013. Published by HarperCollins.
The classic fairy tale of Sleeping Beauty is transformed into a dazzling new story of two sisters fighting a powerful curse by Diane Zahler, the acclaimed author of The Thirteenth Princess. Briskly paced and full of lush descriptions, readers who enjoy the work of Shannon Hale and Gail Carson Levine will be swept away by this spellbinding novel.

The daughters of Sleeping Beauty, Princesses Aurora and Luna, have grown up in a cliff-top palace by the sea, where they are carefully protected by their parents. No one visits, the girls cannot stray beyond the castle walls, and all sharp objects are forbidden here.

But accidents will happen—particularly when an old curse still has power. Soon, in spite of all precautions, Aurora is struggling not to slip into an enchanted sleep.

Frantic, the princesses accept the help of a young fisherman named Symon and embark on a daring ocean voyage to find their aunt—a fairy who may be able to break the spell. From fearsome beasts to raging storms, many dangers befall them, yet they must not give up . . . for if Aurora sleeps, she will not wake for one hundred years.

Don't forget, you can add Sleeping Beauty's Daughters to your Goodreads shelf.


  1. This sounds like a really good book, and I love how you summed it up in seven words! I'll have to add it to my TBR list. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Hope you enjoy the book, Laureen -- and thanks for hosting me on your blog, Orchid!


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