Thursday, March 24, 2011

Guest Post: Heather Dixon (Author of Entwined)



Heather Dixon grew up in a large family with four brothers and six sisters. She is a storyboard artist as well as a writer, and lives in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Viennese waltz is her dance of choice. She is the author of the novel Entwined.

ENTWINED will be in stores March 29, 2011!


Wow! I feel pretty honored to be a guest on Fantastic Book Review. Tina had the suggestion to write about the setting of Entwined, to explain why the silver forest and the pavilion feel so magical and alluring to the sisters.

Awesome! This is story meat stuff. I think it can be summed up in one universal design principle: contrast.

At the beginning of Entwined, the girls’ mother dies. According to Victorian tradition, the royal family must all wear black, drape the windows, stop the clocks, and keep inside the palace for a year. The palace changes from a place dappled with sunlight and bright windows to “muffled with drapery, turning day into pitch-black.” Bramble refers to it as their “boot-blackened palace”. Worse, the girls are kept from dancing as well, made to wear heavy boots instead of light dancing slippers.


Pretty stifling.

More so, spiritually, Mourning is a symbol of their broken family. (I use the word spiritual here not so much as a religious term, but in place of the usual word emotional, as I think it better describes story narrative.) All the darkness constantly reminds the girls of how their mother is gone, and that their father, the King, has distanced himself even more from them.

So! Settings are bound by both the physical and emotional/spiritual threads in the overarching story structure. Contrast the darkness of the palace with the whiteness of the silver forest Azalea and her sisters discover, magic hidden beneath the palace:

“The scene washed over Azalea like a crystal symphony…Every bough, branch, leaf, and ivied tendril looked as though it had been frosted in silver. It shimmered in the soft, misty light…Everything sparkled in bits, catching highlights in glisters as she moved.”

Light doesn’t just shine there, it glimmers. When it rains (as an echo of the leaky palace), the drops are pearls. The princesses, used to their dark and run-down household, are fascinated. It even smells different. Sparkles are for rich people!


And there’s a huge contrast emotionally. While the girls are forced to follow the rules of Mourning in the palace, here in the silver forest they’re breaking the rules. They thrill at defying the King. They feel alive and comforted for the first time since mourning began. Silver forest = freedom.

Or does it?

As beautiful and exciting as the silver forest is, something is not quite right. It feels muffled, like a snowfall, even more muffled than the palace. There’s no sunlight. There’s something haunting and unnatural about the Pavilion and its Keeper. Although they contrast starkly, physically and spiritually, neither the palace or the silver forest is ideal. In fact, emotionally/spiritually, the silver forest is worse. And because of that, it isn’t long before Azalea finds herself entwined in nightmare.



Thanks for stopping by Heather!

For more information about Heather Dixon and her books, please visit her website here.

Check out my review of Entwined here!

37 comments:

Audrey (holes In My brain) said...

Oh, what a lovely post! I think setting is hugely important, and the way Heather described it was just so pretty :)

fredamans said...

I so want to visit the Silver forest!!!

Fantastic post!

LinWash said...

I can't wait to get this book! I keep checking Amazon and have been forgetting that this book still isn't out yet! It will be mine when it does!

Natalie Aguirre said...

Thanks for explaining the symbolism of the different settings. I can't wait to read this.

KimberlySue said...

I had no idea all of that was done during the mourning period in the Victorian era!

dani_nguyen said...

Thanks for such an interesting guest post. I can't wait to read Entwined!

YA Reader said...

5 more days to wait!

Zombie Girrrl said...

Wow. I did not know that about the Victorian era. this sounds really good. great post!

Margay said...

Some interesting facts here about Victorian customs. I can see how Azalea would feel trapped and want to break free.

Devan said...

This was a great post. It gave some interesting historical information and insight into the novel. This will definitely give me a deeper understanding while reading the novel...once I can get my hands on it! :)

melissasmeanderings said...

So looking forward to reading this...love the victorian setting and the imagery of her writing!

Nicole Loves Coacoa said...

I cannot wait to read this and take and visit The Silver Forest, sounds awesome, setting is super important.

korra_950(at)hotmail(dot)com

Bwyatt said...

Thanks Heather. I can't wait to read Entwined. It sounds fantastic!

rachel said...

This was very insightful! Thanks so much!!

Rachel Leigh
TheOneRing111 at gmail dot com

Vivien said...

I also want to visit the forest!! Looks beautiful.

BrittLit said...

It's great to have read about the enchanting forest's effect before I read the book. Great post!

Fannadix said...

I am yearning for that book now.

Jill of The O.W.L. said...

Simply amazing. I'll definately be thinking about it when I read the book.

Barbara E. said...

I enjoyed the review and I'm really looking forward to reading Entwined.

TheGirlOnFire said...

I am so excited for this book! I can't wait to read it!

Marie-Claude said...

Talk about depressing....one year of mourning!!! Can't wait to read this book!!!

mendy said...

Okay, this review is killing! I'm even more excited about this book.

Ammy Belle said...

I like the wway this post flows, and I like the idea of contrasts - especially finding glimmers through tragedy, or in spite of tragedy. This looks like it's a good book, and I need to read it! Also, LOVE the pictures you put up! Thanks!

Cheri Schmidt said...

This book is now in my wish list at Amazon...I will buy if I don’t win.

Chelsea B. said...

Thank you for sharing, Heather! Your book sounds lovely.

Heather Dixon said...

Thank you everyone for your kind words! ^_^ (Sorry late response...internet was out.) I feel very lucky to have been a guest post here :)

Michelle @ The True Book Addict said...

Wonderful! Makes me want to read the book even more.

Bookish in a Box said...

Those descriptions are amazing--and those are some great examples of the importance of setting.

Jessy said...

The Silver Forest does sound beautiful though. Can I go?!

minhchieu said...

Wow, didn'r know that about the Victorian era,great post!

Margo Berendsen said...

A great lesson about setting here, CONTRAST! as a writer, I'm taking notes!

Ali said...

Great post! I'm so happy to have read this before I read the book!

Elie said...

Interesting post. The background on Victorian tradition was something I have not heard before.

xdaisyx said...

I'm glad that the setting was explained! Makes me wonder about that time period.

The Story Queen said...

Oh thank you so much for the FABULOUS guest post! It really gives you a lot to think about and I'll definitely keep the intriguing information in mind when I'm reading the book - thanks again!

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Wow. I LOVE the way you describe the book. I already wanted to read it, but now I MUST read it SOON! :-)

Nemitz beef jerky king said...

This is a fanciful, but more familial version of the 12 dancing princesses. Although the heroine is a bit dense at times, she is lovable and heroic. I enjoyed the dancing!

 

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