Thursday, 7 July 2011

SHADOWS ON THE MOON SPECIAL POST

Hello everyone! Today is official release day for Shadows on the Moon - the day when the online retailers like Amazon and The Book Depository change the book's status from Pre-Order to Order Now, the day when bookshops nationwide will start putting it out right there on the shelves for people to pick up and leaf through and hopefully BUY.

Eeeep!

Just for your information, I have made another pledge, this time to my Twitter friends, that if Shadows on the Moon makes it onto any UK bestseller's chart, I will film myself doing the famous Zolah Happy Dance and post it on YouTube for all to see (and mock, and laugh at). So, if you'd like to see (and mock, and laugh at) that, now is a great time to order Shadows on the Moon in either paperback or Kindle edition, or pick up a copy (or two!) from your local bookshop. You could even ask about it at your local library and make sure that they've ordered one for their shelves. Just sayin'.

And now that bit's over (phew!) I'm going to talk to you about the thing causing all this fuss. My story. The story that was, at various times, called 'The Moon Mask', 'Fair as the Moon' and 'The Shadow Mantle'. The story we now know as Shadows on the Moon. The following post is based on the talk I gave at the Walker Undercover event in winter last year.

Sometimes as a writer you get an idea that is crazy. So crazy that you have no choice but to write it. In my case the idea came when Memoirs of a Geisha, Cinderella and The Count of Monte Cristo all collided in my head. At the time I was struggling with another book (which is still unfinished) and my crazy, Japanese influenced idea looked incredibly shiny and fun and easy in comparision. So, with the blessing of my editor, I switched.

Guess what? It wasn't shiny. It wasn't fun. And it definitely was not easy.

Almost straight away, things began to go wrong. My heroine turned out to be much darker and more complex than I had bargained for. The story developed twists and turns I never expected. The world expanded until I had lost track of its boundaries. Within a chapter or two I was having a crisis of confidence. The monologue running through my head went something like this:

I made a mistake. This story isn't ready to be written. It's too big. I should never have started it. I’ll never finish it. 

I got stuck for months at a time. I blew two deadlines, one computer, and more braincells than I care to think about.

And it was worth it.

Because when I finished I found that despite the panic attacks, temper tantrums and ripping my hair out over my rising word count, something really extraordinary had happened. A story had forced itself out of me into the world, and even I felt a bit shocked at just how special it was.

It might be surprising to learn, especially for those of you who know how much I love fairytales - but I have never been a fan of Cinderella. In fact, if you'd asked me growing up, I'd probably have said she was my least favourite fairytale heroine of all. Let’s face it, she’s the classic wimp. Throughout the entire fairytale Cinderella never seems to take a single action to improve her lot in life. All she does is sigh and whine and wait for other people to save her – which they duly do, first her fairy godmother, and finally the prince.

But what did Cinderella do to deserve any of that? I'm sorry, but being beautiful and obedient just don't cut it in my view. She never shows a scrap of determination, strength or intelligence. I mean, if I was in her situation and my fairy godmother had arrived in a puff of smoke asking what I wanted, I’d have requested something a bit more practical than a nice dress and a ride to the ball. How about a box of my mum’s jewellery and a coach ticket out of town? Who would just throw away their one chance at freedom to go and sip lukewarm lemonade and get stepped on by some random prince's feet?

For years I'd been rolling my eyes at Cinderella and crossly muttering to myself that no real person - no real girl, with a real heart and a real mind - could be that spineless. And then one day, out of the blue, it occurred to me to ask: What if Cinderella wasn’t? What if she WASN'T a wimp? If that persona was an illusion. A disguise...
What kind of person would play that part? Hide every vestige of their soul beneath a mask of obedience and beauty? And why?

The story flipped in my head. Immediately I saw that a character who was intelligent, cunning and devious enough to play the role of Cinderella would have to have a really good reason to endure all that she does in the story. She would have to want something very badly, badly enough to risk her own soul to get it.

REVENGE. Revenge for the murder of her father. After all, the first important thing that happens in Cinderella is her father's death. The story never says how he died, but what if it was murder?

I began to see that my Cinderella would hide as a common drudge in her enemy’s kitchen in order to preserve her life. And when she rose from the dirt and ashes she would become, not some imitation fairy princess, but the most beautiful courtesan in the land, determined to go to the ball, not to wear a pretty dress and dance with the prince, but to crush her enemy.

And then I began to think of all the ways it could go wrong. All the ways that living a life of such darkness and deception would hurt and twist and eventually destroy a person, no matter how strong they were. I began to wonder just what could save my Cinderella from the vengeance she had sacrificed everything to achieve.

So in the midst of this ruthless quest for vengeance, I knew that my heroine would meet a boy. Not just any boy. The one person in the world who saw through her magic and her beautiful illusions and her mask of Shadows. Someone who could sees all her fury and her hurt and her darkness...and love her anyway. This boy wouldn’t give her up - not even to the prince she was determined to snare.

Shadows on the Moon is a story about transformations, and about how sometimes in our quest to leave our pain behind, we can accidentally leave ourselves behind as well.

It's a story about how deception hurts everyone, even the one practising it.
 
It's a story about illusions and how - frighteningly often - is it easier to believe in lies than truth.

But most of all, Shadows on the Moon turned out to be a story about love. About how, like my version of Cinderella, it can wear many faces. And some them are dark and terrible. But ultimately, the story is about how love can bring you back to yourself when even you thought that you were lost forever.

Here's the trailer again, in case anyone missed it on Sugarscape (or just wants to see it again). And I've been authorised to tell you that if the views on this trailer get up to over 1,000, there may be extra trailer related goodness on offer - like deleted scenes. Yeah, baby! Tell your friends!

32 comments:

Megha said...

EEEEEEP!

First of all, I totally LOVE this post SO MUCH. It's awesome, and I'm going to end up rereading it all the time.

SECOND, AND MORE EXCITINGLY :P, I'VE NOW GOT SHADOWS ON THE MOON ON MY KINDLE!!!

I am SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO freaking out right now. I even left The Dark is Rising to read it, although I will have to finish that first. Sadly, I'm not going to start reading SotM *properly* until the 24th when I go to India, so I can read in the plane and everything. Sorry! But I can't wait, and even though I'm not reading it right now, I feel AWESOME for having it on my Kindle!

=D

I'mDifferentButMe said...

OMG, I got my Shadows on the Moon copy today (pre-ordered off Amazon). I was so excited and then I realised oh wait, I have to wait until my French speaking test is over, so now I'm just frustrated. So my book is sat on my desk waiting to be read (do you have any idea how much I can't wait to read it). But anyway, between me and you I might end up reading it at night when I'm supposed to be asleep (shhh!). Anyways, I can't wait to read it (by the way I was really surprised at how thick it was, I expected it to be Daughter of the Flames size). But thanks :)

A.J. Mullarky said...

This was so fantastic to read. It just makes me want to pick up the book again and absorb more and more... but unfortunately I need to take a break to do some editing. The good news is I'll have it with me at my first shift as a night watchman in a hotel tonight :D so I will have plenty of peace! Can't wait to pick it up again.

Rebecca Lindsay said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rebecca Lindsay said...

I loved this post and like Megha I'll probably re-read it again :)I quite liked Cinderella growing up. Mostly because I thought she must be pretty cool to have friends that were talking mice, lol.
I really hope we get to see this Zolah Happy Dance! Lol

Lynsey Newton said...

Happy book birthday Zoe, I loved reading this post :)

Zoë Marriott said...

Megha: Thank you, and I really hope the book is worth the wait!

I'mDifferent: Don't deprive yourself of sleep before your exams! It's (as you noticed) a looong book. And it's not going anywhere.

Alex: I'm so happy that you enjoyed it. I hope it keeps you awake at your job!

Rebecca: I actually never saw the Disney version - maybe I'd have liked Cinderella better if I had!

Lynsey: Thanks! Glad you didn't get bored reading/hearing it all a second time :)

whispering words said...

I've been looking forward to this book for a long time! My copy finally arrived in the post today and can't wait to get stuck into it! Also the trailer is beautiful and this post was really inspiring. Thank you for it all!

Rebecca Lindsay said...

Yeh I can see how the story of Cinderella wouldn't be as appealing without the singing mice that can sew, etc lol :) It's the mice that do it for me, lol.

Zoë Marriott said...

Whispering: Thanks - and you're very welcome. I hope you enjoy the book.

Rebecca: Yes, talking creatures do add a certain something to a fairytale. I've been known to hum Under the Sea in the shower, and that was a talking *lobster*.

Rebecca Lindsay said...

Lol :D

Cass (Words on Paper) said...

I get the chills every time I watch that trailer. Hmph. Guess my copy will be coming in the mail next week.

I love your line of thought. I read every word. :) I don't liked Cinderella much either for the very same reasons you don't, but I love how you turned the whole thing on its head. It sounds ten times more complex and dark and exciting and strong.

Zoë Marriott said...

Cass: Heee! Me too! I'll cross my fingers that your copy gets there without any trouble.

It was one of those crystalline moments of supreme insight, Cass, when you suddenly see that you've been looking at things all wrong all your life. In the original version of Cinderella the stepmother was made to dance in iron shoes until she dropped dead, and the step-sisters were blinded. I firmly believe now that Cinderella's purpose the WHOLE TIME was to achieve that, and that the Prince was a side product. How could we all have missed it?

Eafiu said...

I'm really excited to read this book but I can't right away. :( I'm going to order it from Amazon but I can't right now because there are other books that I want and they are not available yet. Because the delivery here is a bit expensive, I can't just order one by one. Altough, a group of books I ordered a month ago are going to come next week and those books include The Swan Kingdom and Daughter of the Flames!! I was so intrigued by the first chapter of The Swan Kingdom so it will be the first book I read. :D I'm so glad my exams are over and we settled to our vacation home...

Zoë Marriott said...

I'm very excited for you to get TSK and DotF, Eafiu - I really hope you like them. If/when you do decide to get Shadows on the Moon, I advise you to order it through The Book Depository rather than Amazon, as TBD has free worldwide shipping, which can make it much cheaper :)

Eafiu said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Eafiu said...

I've heard about The Book Depository before but I didn't look into it... I will now. Is it reliable?

Clover said...

Oh Zoe, what a beautiful post! I'm so happy and thankful that you persevered with this book as I think the story and the writing and the characters are just incredible.

Eafiu said...

...and The Book Depository doesn't deliver to my country. I knew it would be too good to be true.

A Backwards Story said...

This post makes me want to read SHADOWS right now, today! Even more than I already did! I love seeing how it came together for you.

And the trailer=FABULOUS!!!!

You have a winner!

Zoë Marriott said...

Eafiu: Oh yes - I order from them all the time!

Bonnie: Well, that's the idea! I'm glad my burbling on was interesting - I was afraid I might put everyone to sleep!

Zoë Marriott said...

Eafiu: Oh, damn - I'm sorry! And after I'd dangled the prospect of free delivery at you as well!

Clover: Thank you. Your review of it is one of my favourites :)

Megha said...

I don't enjoy reading on the Kindle too much. It doesn't feel like proper reading. :-( Especially -- I don't feel like I *own* SotM. It's on a machine... I can't hold the book IN my hands... :-(

PLEASE help me get over this feeling of stupid depression!

Zoë Marriott said...

Megha: I like reading on my e-reader but I must admit it doesn't feel quite the same as a real book. I'm so sorry that you feel depressed about getting the Kindle version of shadows. Have you tried reading a few pages just to see if you can get into it? It's the same story, after all - it's the same words, and you're still holding the words in your hands. It's just that the words are made of pixels instead of tiny dots of ink. See how you feel.

Ferret said...

NO talking lobsters. I have no wish to talk to my lunch. The cats would have similar objections to chattering mice.

Zoë Marriott said...

Ferret: excellent point. I'm very partial to shellfish.

BookBreather said...

I don't have a single viewer on my blog, but I thought I'd let you know that I blogged about the release!

Zoë Marriott said...

Thank you, Bookbreather! It all helps, and I'm sure you do have blog readers, even if they're too shy to comment :)

Isabel said...

Having a major freak-out attack right now. My dad just asked me what was going on, because I'm squeeing and waving my hands frantically in front of the screen!

I LOVEDLOVEDLOVED this post, and I ADORED that trailer. "Available from all good booksellers" made me crack up. And squee some more! I honestly can't believe I won this book. Going to spread the word like mad! :D:D:D

Zoë Marriott said...

Ha ha! I'm glad you liked I, Isabel - although I had a feeling you would :) Your dad is going to think that I'm a very bad influence...oh dear...

Isabel said...

That last sentence made me giggle. Don't worry, my dad was actually pretty enthusiastic about the giveaway, in his own way. He says he might even read Shadows on the Moon, "if I'm nice to him". We just gave him The Hunger Games to read, and I think he really liked it. :)

Rachel said...

I still LOVE this book, I've read it four or five times and I rarely read a book more than twice :)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...