Rhiannon Thomas's dazzling debut novel is a spellbinding reimagining of Sleeping Beauty and what happens after happily ever after.One hundred years after falling asleep, Princess Aurora wakes up to the kiss of a handsome prince and a broken kingdom that has been dreaming of her return. All the books say that she should be living happily ever after. But as Aurora understands all too well, the truth is nothing like the fairy tale.Her family is long dead. Her "true love" is a kind stranger. And her whole life has been planned out by political foes while she slept.As Aurora struggles to make sense of her new world, she begins to fear that the curse has left its mark on her, a fiery and dangerous thing that might be as wicked as the witch who once ensnared her. With her wedding day drawing near, Aurora must make the ultimate decision on how to save her kingdom: marry the prince or run.Rhiannon Thomas weaves together vivid scenes of action, romance, and gorgeous gowns to reveal a richly imagined world … and Sleeping Beauty as she’s never been seen before.Advanced Praise for A Wicked Thing“I never thought what happens after Sleeping Beauty wakes up would keep me at the edge of my seat, breathlessly turning pages. But Rhiannon Thomas has taken the familiar and the cliched and turned it into a tense, fast-paced read full of plot twists and revelations, set in a world at once intriguing and perilous.”Sherry Thomas, author of The Burning Sky“The book is welcome twist on the classic helpless-princess-saved-by-dashing-prince one expects from a fairy tale…. Fairy tale and fantasy fans alike will breeze through this retelling and eagerly await her next chapter.”School Library Journal“One of the best fairytale retellings I’ve ever read. Thomas uses the well-known back story of Sleeping Beauty to craft an entirely new future for Aurora that is anything but happily-ever-after. Starting the story after the moment that usually signals the end of the fairytale gave this book an original spin and makes it stand out among of sea of simple retellings. Don’t miss this great debut!”
Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, WI
Check out an excerpt from the book HERE!
Now on to the interview!
Hi Rhiannon! First I want to say welcome to Two Chicks on Books! A WICKED THING was awesome and I’m so happy that you could stop by for a visit!
For the readers: can you tell us a little bit about A WICKED THING and the characters?
Thanks so much for having me!
A Wicked Thing is an after-the-end retelling of Sleeping Beauty, starting at the moment when the kiss wakes her up.
Aurora is my Sleeping Beauty – a girl who has spent her entire life locked in a tower in an attempt to stop the curse placed on her as a baby. As a result, she’s pretty sheltered and naïve, and has some rather idealistic views of how things should be. But those ideals get challenged pretty quickly when she’s faced with her new world post-curse.
I also have a couple of princes: the awkward, shy Prince Rodric, who Aurora is supposed to marry, and the overconfident Prince Finnegan, who seems determined to use Aurora for his own schemes.
Is there going to be a sequel? And if not what are you currently working on?
There is a sequel, coming early 2016. I actually just finished putting the finishing touches on it. I’ve now started working on my next next book, which is a YA fantasy called Long May She Reign, about a shy girl scientist who becomes queen when the entire court is assassinated.
Were any of the characters in the book inspired by people from your real life?
I’ve never actually thought about this before. I probably stole things from people I know without realizing it. Aurora was based somewhat on me and some of my close friends – I wrote A Wicked Thing in my first year post-university, when I and everyone I knew were having serious “what do we do with our lives??” crises. So I think a lot of Aurora’s uncertainty and feelings of being overwhelmed come from that.
I wish I could say “oh, the hot male characters are based on guys I know,” but nope. Sorry.
Who was your favorite character to write? What about your least favorite?
I think my favorite character to write was Queen Iris, because it was really fun to take an initially unlikeable character and find the motivation and the humanity in her. I would fight to the death anyone who said she was “evil” now.
My least favorite character to write… I’m not sure, but I think the HARDEST character to write was Celestine, the witch. I struggled a lot to find her voice. In the end, I figured it out by mentally casting Natalie Dormer in the part. Once I had her in my head, everything fell into place.
What is your favorite passage/scene in A WICKED THING?
I have two! One is quite early on, when Aurora is sitting on a roof and looking over the new city with a boy she’s just met, Tristan. The other is much later and much more spoilery, but involves Aurora sitting in a garden with a storybook and a prince.
What kind of research did you have to do for the story?
A lot of random history stuff, mostly. A Wicked Thing is set in a fantasy world, but I wanted the details to feel authentic, so there was a lot of “when were clocks invented? When were mirrors invented? What card games did people play in the late 1700s?” type googling.
But I deliberately didn’t research Sleeping Beauty stories, beyond what I already knew. I wanted the princess and the setting to feel as familiar as possible – the elements that people think of when they think “Sleeping Beauty,” the princess you imagine when you think of Aurora – because I really wanted to play inside that familiar framework.
What are you reading right now? Or what do you have on your TBR that you’re dying to read?
Right now I’m reading The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss – it’s one of those books that’s been recommended to me endlessly for years, but always seemed too long to pick up. Now I’ve started it, I’m seeing that everyone was right. The writing is fantastic!
My most anticipated TBR book is Mechanica by Betsy Cornwell, because I loved her first novel, Tides, and I’m a sucker for feminist fairy tale retellings.
Who is your ultimate Book Boyfriend?
Omg, evil question! Just one? I’m kiiiind of in love with Nikolai from The Grisha Trilogy right now, and I love Will from The Infernal Devices. And then there’s half the guys from Harry Potter. Ron was my ultimate book boyfriend when I was a teenager, and now I reeeally love Neville and Sirius.
What inspired you to write YA?
I really love the overall feel of the genre – that central theme of self-discovery, characters figuring out who they are and who they want to be.
Lightening Round Questions
Twitter or Facebook?
Thor. I love his Labrador-puppy feel.
Favorite TV show?
Too many! Probably The 100 right now.
Sweet or Salty?
Song you can’t get enough of right now?
Taylor Swift’s cover of Riptide
Fall Movie you’re most looking forward to?
Mockingjay Part 2! Or the new Star Wars.
Thanks so much Rhiannon for answering my questions!
Rhiannon Thomas is a recent graduate from Princeton University, where she studied English and Japanese, and smuggled bubble tea into the library on a regular basis. She now lives in York, England.
As well as reading and writing YA fiction, she runs the blog FeministFiction.com, where she discusses TV, books, and all kinds of fannish things from a feminist perspective.
I don't hang out on Goodreads much, so if you want to contact me, please swing by my personal website or message me on Twitter.
Details: There will be two prizes. Open to all US, UK and Canada Residents.
FIRST PRIZE: Win (1) signed copy of A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas plus a spinning wheel charm bracelet.
SECOND PRIZE: Win (1) of (2) signed copy of A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas.