Today, I’m thrilled to highlight the new release “The Goblin and the Dancer” in an interview with author Allison Tebo!
This book is the latest release in the “A Villain’s Ever After” series of fairytale retellings from various amazing authors. The stories featured are really intriguing, this one not least! Allison Tebo chose the story “The Steadfast Tin Soldier” – a sad little tale from Hans Christian Andersen.
I’m happy to hear more about this new novel!
Without further ado – the Interview!
(hey – I rhymed)
Me: What made you pick The Steadfast Tin Soldier to retell for the Villain’s series?
Allison Tebo: I’ve had an infatuation with goblins (or any ugly little creature) for some time. I had also watched a YouTube video where a Lego orc had a crush on Arwen that, alas, didn’t work out, I found myself thinking that the ugly guy should have had a fair shot at winning the girl’s heart. I was determined to do an elf and goblin love story and was on the lookout for an opportunity to present itself. When I joined the Villains Ever After collaboration shortly thereafter, I began looking through fairy tales to retell and discovered, with delight, a reference to a villainous goblin in the story of The Steadfast Tin Soldier. Here, at last, was my opportunity to write the goblin and elf romance. The rest is history!
Me: What is something you love about your main character Grik?
AT: He’s adorably shy, and it’s quite endearing. I also love what a natural he is at being a guide. It’s a skill that he isn’t even conscious of, but it’s an important part of his character. For someone who often feels lost, Grik is a natural at leading people through the dark or unknown. I think that paradox between someone’s greatest fear and gift is very relatable. I love how Grik represents our struggle to know ourselves.
[me randomly inserting a comment: I love this concept! Grik now has me very interested.]
Me: What was your favorite scene to write? (or the character arc you enjoyed the most?)
AT: I really enjoyed writing chapter seven, which is a sequence that features Grik and Paul exclusively doing something quite exciting. It feels like a buddy story with a strong dose of adventure, which has always been my favorite thing to write. As far as favorite arcs, I enjoyed the challenge of Paul; making an unlikeable character sympathetic. That was the goal, anyway!
The focus of this series is on the villains. What is it that makes your character villainous? How do his choices take him that direction? If there was anything he could do differently, what would it be?
C.S. Lewis once said that complete concentration on self is the mark of Hell. Grik wrestles with Self—and thus he is always one step away from doing something truly evil.
He allows his own desires and needs to overwhelm him, and that morphs into jealousy. When he reacts to that jealousy with rage, giving into his sense of injury, that sets off a string of events that make him feel more guilty and unworthy than ever. It’s a vicious circle set off by selfishness.
If Grik could go back and start over, he would definitely try to think more about what others want. He would also work harder at his self-control and not give in to his anger.
Me: Who’s your favorite side character?
AT: The Goblin and the Dancer has a pretty small cast, so there aren’t many side characters, but there are some humorous goons that show up at one point that were fun to write.
Me: Is there a fairytale you’ve always wanted to retell but haven’t gotten to yet?
AT: There is indeed! That fairy tale is Beauty and the Beast. I did work on retellings of it a great deal when I was around thirteen, but I’ve never published anything based on it.
One of the main reasons I retell fairy tales is because I have an irresistible urge to “fix” them or inject some sort of reason and logic for the peculiar stories and character motivations that indwell these stories.
I adore the animated version of Beauty and the Beast with all my heart. Because I am completely satisfied with it, there’s not as strong a motivation to retell it. How could one improve on such a marvelous retelling? Why would you want to? And yet, at the same time, it’s my favorite fairy tale, so I do feel an irresistible tug to at least attempt it. Only time will tell!
Me: Do you listen to music while you write? If so, what was your play list for this book?
AT: I do! Particularly when I’m stuck, as I have been lately, I turn on either general ambient music or, more often, bouncy songs with lots of energy so I can chair dance while I type. I don’t have a particular play list for the Goblin and the Dancer, but I did listen to Nikolai Tcherepnin’s Prelude to La Princesse Iontaine on repeat, particularly when I was diving into the first draft. That piece perfectly encapsulates all of the feelings I wished to evoke in this story, particularly the longing in Grik’s heart. I think of it as his theme.
Me: Fun question: a character (your choice) from your book shows up at your door to visit! What snack/beverage do you serve them? What do you talk about?
Me: How delightful! I would greatly enjoy opening my front door and finding a goblin on my doorstep, so I’m going to choose Grik. I’m afraid I don’t have many goblin staples in my cupboard, but I think I would serve him beef jerky and rock candy, as it’s a close approximation to some of his favorite goblin snacks. Fortunately, Grik is pretty adventurous, so I think he’d enjoy an old fashioned jam cake, which I’m partial to for teatime. As for our conversation, I think I would give Grik a lot of advice about self-esteem—basically a long pep talk. I think after that I’d like to ask him about goblin technology and his favorite goblin recipes. We’d probably finish with a spot of poetry—I think Grik would enjoy that.
I’m very much looking forward to reading this book now!
The themes and elements sound so interesting.
Before I forget, here’s the synopsis:
About The Book
Grik the goblin spends his days as a janitor cleaning the Metropolitan Dance Hall, drawn to the Elvish world and tired of the darkness of his underground home. He secretly pines for the ballet company’s lead dancer, Rosanna, but his own ugliness and shyness stand in the way of confessing his love.
When a handsome soldier named Paul appears on the scene to make a bid for Rosanna’s affections, Grik’s jealousy bubbles over and he commits the unthinkable, plunging all of them into the river and down into the depths of the earth.
Determined to redeem himself, Grik leads Rosanna and Paul through the place he calls home: but even a goblin can’t be prepared for everything that is found underground. Trapped in the dark, nightmares both within and without rise to the surface, threatening to destroy them all.
A magical and heartfelt retelling of The Steadfast Tin Soldier about finding your worth.
Be sure to follow the author and check out the rest of the series:
There’s also a Rafflecopter Giveaway!!: https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/7da968f57/?fbclid=IwAR03O9SSfnNxdUrpqNKaTAn5MOcR3WxQ3-_2P7WYr0tuQBo2nX1PVoGa9og
And below is all the info to follow along on the blog tour!