Marissa chats with Brandie June about her debut YA novel - GOLD SPUN - as well as All Things Rumpelstiltskin! We compare and contrast our different takes on this beloved fairy tale, covering topics that range from giving our protagonists more agency and independence, to deciding how villainous (or swoony...) to make Rumpelstiltskin and the King. Also: how uplifting - or not - to make the ending of the first book in a series; crafting a love triangle that keeps your readers guessing; the trouble with titles; and when to make the executive decision to toss out elements of the original fairy tale that just don't fit into the story you're creating.
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Hello and welcome to the happy writer. This is a podcast that aims to bring readers, more books, to enjoy and to help authors find more joy in their writing. I am your host Marissa Meyer. Thanks for joining me. One thing that's making me happy this week is Disney announced that they are going back to in person races at Disney world. If you follow me on Instagram, you might know that one of my big goals this year was to train and run my very first half marathon. Um, and I have my heart set on running the Disney world, princess half marathon in February. And I've been working really, really hard at my training plan and doing like so much running and cross training and all the things, uh, but I didn't know until this week, if they would even be having the races next year. So I'm super excited and fingers crossed that I won't have any trouble getting registered. Um, when they, we, I actually opened registration in August. I think it is so yay. Life goals and Disney. I'm so excited. And my kids are so excited because that means they get to go to Disney world and everybody wins. I am also so happy to be talking to today's guest. She spends her days, marketing, animated movies and anime and her evenings writing fantasy fiction. She's written, plays, short stories and graphic novels and her debut WIA novel gold spun came out last month. Please. Welcome Brandy Joon. Delighted to be here. I thank you. I am delighted to have you. Thank you for joining me. I'm so happy we could do this. I first heard about this book gold spun. Um, it has been months ago now, but I think either your publicist or your editor, someone contacted me about writing a blurb for it. And I read the synopsis and I was like, I want to say yes to this so much. I love Rumpelstiltskin. I love fairytale retellings. I can't wait to read this book, but I had to say no because I'm also writing a Rumpelstiltskin story and it broke my heart to have to pass on it. Uh, so now I'm really glad that I've read it. And then we get to talk about it in this format. At least all that, that makes me so excited. I knew, of course I knew he had passed on it. I didn't realize you had wanted to read it. Oh, I want to do exciting. Oh, mad. I know that's like one of those weird, like publishing political things. It's like, if it's too close to your own, then you can run into trouble. But, um, but I love it. I love this fairy tale and I love what you did with it. And it was just really, really fun for me because I actually, I finished going over, um, the second past pages of my novel gilded, just this weekend. And so I went immediately from reading my book and then an hour later, I was on the porch with a glass of wine, reading your book. And so reading them back to back, um, it was just really, really fun seeing the ways that they were similar, um, and in some surprising ways they were similar, but also like how we both took the same source material and Miro totally different stories based off of it, which I just love that. Yeah. I think that's one of the really, really fun things about retelling. So you have this balance of like this, this old story that almost feels sacred in the way that it's been passed down from, you know, sometimes from generations or hundreds of years. So there's something almost in our bones about it, but then when you have a great retelling, you get this whole new experience and these, you still get surprises in these familiar. Yeah, definitely. And it's all fun too, just seeing the different ways that they can spark our creativity and how they can be taken into a million different directions. Definitely. So before we go any further, why don't you tell listeners what is gold spun about? So as they just heard, Goldspot is a Rumpelstiltskin retelling and this time it is told from the point of view of the Miller's daughter, except she isn't just the Miller's daughter in this story, she's actually a con artist. So it's sort of her fault that she's convinced people that she can spin straw into gold and she basically gets caught for it. And then, you know, hi-jinks and Sue. Um, so I wanted to structure our conversation today a little bit differently, um, than I would a normal interview, just because we have both written books based on this same story. And I thought it would be fun to kind of go in depth into what were some of the unique challenges that, uh, the story of Rumpelstiltskin presented and what are some different ways that you and I tackle them. Um, maybe what are some of the similarities, et cetera, et cetera. And we'll just kind of get really nerdy about the rumble rumble stills can story. I absolutely love getting dirty about Rumpelstiltskin. Okay, good. And I feel like it's one of those stories that is appreciated. Like it's no beauty in the beast, it's no Cinderella. Um, but it's always been one of my favorites. And so I I'm, I'm really excited to have you talk about, but also your book now. Yeah. And that's one thing I've, I've heard from, from readers is, you know, they don't have a lot of Rumpelstiltskin retellings out there, but they're so excited to see them. Yeah. Um, so we will, of course try to avoid any big spoilers, um, for both books. However, I don't know, like I have some questions for things that might like tread a little close into spoiler territory, maybe. Um, so just a fair warning to listeners. Um, if you just like really hate knowing anything about any plot stuff, um, this might be a good one to pause and go read the book first heads up. Fair warning. Um, okay. So first of all, we'll start with, uh, what drew you to Rumpelstiltskin, why this fairy tale. So I've always adored fairytales, I've adored mythology. And what initially sparked this idea was I participated in NaNoWriMo, uh, which I know you're very familiar with writing mud and one year I just didn't really have any big story idea. So I decided to challenge myself and write 26 short stories, one for every letter of the alphabet, based on a fairy tale or a mythical creature for every letter, I did not get to all 26 stories, but I did get to our for Rumpelstiltskin and decided to try out writing what it would look like if he was the hero instead of the villain. And I had, I had so much fun doing that. And then I, I realized that there was a lot more to these characters that I wanted to say, and I wanted to like really dive a lot deeper into the characters because I didn't want the Rumpelstiltskin character to be entirely a hero or entirely a villain. I really endure the morally gray characters. So I think they're, they're more complex than so much fun. So that was, that was really the start of, of golden. That is such a cool origin story for where a book sparked from. How many stories did you get done that year? Wow. I think maybe 10 or 12. Okay. So some of them were really short of like a couple paragraphs and others were, you know, several thousand words, but this is one of the ones that just really stuck in like that. I need to write more about it. Um, did you have, like, do you, did you have what you were going to do for every letter of the alphabet? I didn't, which is probably why I didn't get through be like, step one for me, I wasn't going through the alphabet. Uh chronolo alphabetically either. It was like, oh, uh, how about S can I think of something with S no. How about you or Z, or I'm wondering like the X and the Z? Like what, where would you go with that? Yeah, so it was a good way to just at least spark ideas. I feel a lot of times I participate as a nano rebel, which my nano group is a lovingly dubbed because so many years I've been like, oh, I have to edit this November. Or I'm just going to write, you know, finish a story I've already started. So, yeah. And I've often been a narrative nano rebel myself. Sometimes you just have other things to do. Yeah. I like, I love the community. I'll go to write-ins but do different projects. So, yeah. Okay. So you, you wrote this short story, this sparked an idea you wanted to delve deeper, do more with it. How much were you referencing the original fairy tale? Like how much did you draw on from the actual source material? I drew a lot of the original premise from the source material of, you know, the, the prince, the king character, specifically telling this Miller's daughter character that she has to spin straw into gold and ferry dude comes to help her. But beyond that, I really wanted to, the first thing I wanted to do was get a really deep dive into each of those three main characters, the Rumpelstiltskin, the Miller's daughter and the, and the king, because as much as I love fairytales, I feel like the original tails, they usually come off very flat and archetypal it's kind of intentional for them, but I found it, uh, which is one of the fun things I guess, with the retelling is to really create more personalized characters. And the first thing I wanted to do was give the Miller's daughter who her name is nor in my book. And I wanted to give, nor the agency in original fairytales, she's the Miller started is just so perfect and sweet and passive, and she's just kind of passed around. Like her dad says she can do one thing. The king makes her do something else. So I really wanted nowhere to drive the action and drive her story. And so she doesn't always make the best decisions. She doesn't always make the right decisions, but she actually gets to make her own decisions. And sometimes they land her in trouble and it gave me a good place that she could really grow from. And, you know, she has a very strong set of morals that are important to her, but they're protecting her family. And if that means she needs to steal and cheat in order for her family to eat, she'll do that. So it was really fun to kind of make a character who is flawed, but one that you can root for and one who was really driving her own story. Yeah, no, I root for that so strongly because I agree that's probably one of my biggest pet peeves, not just with Rumpelstiltskin, but with a lot of fairytales, like you have these protagonists, um, often heroines who they just have no autonomy, there's no power there. And I guess that makes sense for the time period, um, that a lot of these stories were told in, you know, but it doesn't make for, you know, a modern retelling for like a super exciting character when it's like, yeah, she's at the mercy of her father and she's at the mercy of the king, she's at the mercy of Rumpelstiltskin. Like I want a character that it's like, no, this is my story. This is what I'm going to do. Yeah. I had a lot of fun kind of blending the modern, I guess, more modern, um, values, but still I kept it in a late medieval, early Renaissance it's ish fantasy lands. Cause I liked that setting for this story. But at the same time, she's not just sweet and passive and doing whatever men tell her to do. She's kind of taking the lead. She has, uh, some brothers and, but she's the one who sort of masterminds a lot of their Collins.[inaudible] I love that you turned her into a con artist. Um, this is one of the big similarities that I picked up on between our two books. Um, in both cases, our protagonists, um, you've got nor minds is named Serita and they're both liars and it is their own lie that gets them into the kind of the initial trouble saying that they can spin straw into gold. So we both decided to, uh, change that detail. It's not her father telling the king that she can do this. It's her own lie, her own mistake. Um, and I don't know. I personally think it just makes it like immediately more interesting. And also then you're like a little bit, well, you did kind of get yourself into this. Yeah. I love just giving her, giving that character more agency. And you know, even if it's a, even if they don't make the best decisions, at least they're making them right. Where did the con artists idea come from? I was trying to figure out, cause I think when I was trying to figure out each of the three main characters for the king character who his name is prince Passover and gold spun, I want it to figure out a way to make him more empathetic and more, more of a character people could root for. Because I, I feel like in the original, even though at the time he was probably considered, you know, the hero and they get married and live happily ever after reading it nowadays, you're like, oh, this, this king is terrible. We do that. Yeah. So pretty awful. So I wanted to give a reason of like, okay, how could he command this, you know, poor young girl to spin gold and not just be a horrible villain. And I was like, well, if he, you know, if he sees that she's counting, you know, his, you know, his people, if, if he sees that and is trying to make an example out of her, you know, it may not be the best thing he could do, but at least there's that reason of like, oh, he's, he's trying to be a good leader and a good sovereign, um, not just a jerk face. Yeah, no, I was so curious, going into the reading of this to see how you dealt with that. Because I agree 100%, like when I, even as a kid, I remember reading the story of Rumpelstiltskin and thinking the king is clearly the villain here. Like I can't be the only one who sees that. It's like, he has this girl brought here, threatens her life for nothing other than gold. And like, then they ended up married and we're supposed to believe that it's like all good after that. Like I'm not buying. Um, so for me, I went the opposite direction. My king is definitely the villain of the story. Um, but I loved what you did with Casper and how he does kind of walk that line of being actually a really sweet, honorable guy. But you didn't have to throw out this, this, you know, twist where he threatens her. If you lied to me and you can't prove that you can do this thing, there's going to be consequences. And I thought you handled that very well. I mean, I, I find too that that's something that the original myth really glosses over too, is that their whole relationship then is really based on a lie. If they get married and live the rest of their lives together, just to figure it out. Right. Yeah. So, you know, it's sort of like, well, how do you, if you want to move forward with someone like, you know, after a big event like that, after spending a bunch of goals, how do you want to have that relationship with someone? And are you willing to, do you feel like you can trust them or not from the synopsis? I've read them gilded. I can't wait to hear more about him because his whole, his whole thing and all of his creepy, creepy people look sounds so fun and creepy. Thank you. Creepy is a good word. Um, yeah, I had a lot of fun writing the Earl king, um, is the villain and yeah. Drawing on the Rumpelstiltskin story and just like thinking, I think he would actually make a really good, bad guy and just like, so leaning into that so hard. Um, it was, it was fun. He was a fun bill into right. Cause he's also kinda spoonie in a way. I mean, I do kind of love smoothie villains. It is. Um, and I don't think that I've really had the opportunity to write one before. So it was, it was a lot of fun. Um, and that was, and I also think it's interesting that with our Rumpelstiltskin characters and you kind of already talked about how you wanted him to be different, um, from what we see in the fairy tale. Um, and I did too, like neither of us went the traditional, like we don't have this little hob goblin characters showing up and spinning strong to gold. We both made them handsome and a little swoony. Um, I do love a hot Berry guy. I know. Right. Um, so you've got a ferry in gilded, uh, Guild is the name that I've given the Rumpelstiltskin character. Um, he is a ghost, he's a Poltergeist, very different twist on the idea. Um, but, but I did love that we both, you know, jazzed him up a little bit. Yeah. I had, I had a lot of fun and, and from the synopsis, I've read a gilded. It sounds like it still has certain elements of mystery. Like I didn't, I didn't want PA Pell who's my Rumpelstiltskin character not to be entirely know. Um, so he does help nor, but he's still kind of mysterious and he's still kind of has his own agenda that, you know, we find out about later. So it was fun to, to make him a more swoony character. But at the same time, he's still a little, little suspicious, little, little mystery mysterious. No, and I, I mean, I will say historically, I'm not usually a big fan of love triangles and a book, but I love it when it keeps me guessing. And this is one of those books where it kept me guessing and it was like, I don't know, just, I couldn't tell, I'd say until really far into the book really close to the end. And I guess I'm not even 100% sure now who she's going to go for, but I think, I know, I feel pretty confident that I know. Um, but I love that. So for you, how much did you love playing with the romantic element for both guys and making them so totally different and kind of like keeping that question mark up in the air. It was, it was a lot of fun. And what I've really loved is hearing from readers who don't usually enjoy love triangles, but they still enjoyed this. And I think for me, part of it was, you know, it's, it wasn't super obvious who nor would it end up with because it wasn't super obvious for me. I, I had kind of the, okay. I kind of knew what was going to happen at the end of the book, but it still didn't really clarify for me right away who she'd end up with and I could see the pros and cons of both. And on one hand, I, I tried to make them both very compelling that, you know, Pell is in many ways. He's more, he's almost more similar to her, even though he's a ferry, you know, he's not in this prestigious palace, you know, he's not asking her to put on airs. He's not asking her to be anyone she's not, he knows exactly who she is, but then you also have Casper who in, in a way is almost encouraging her to become, not necessarily to change who she is at her core, but encouraging her to be the best person of herself that she can be to be a real partner for him, a partner with him in ruling the kingdom. And, you know, thinking beyond just her own circle that how can she help, you know, her society on a whole? So it was really, it was really fun to play back and forth with them. And I think what really helped here was there's sort of these two elements. I think that helped make it not a traditional love. Triangle is on one hand, Casper doesn't know about Pell. Hmm. Then I know that there's this, this other guy. And, and while I wanted there to be a significant amount of romance in this book, it's not north main goal. It's not, you know, she's not just contemplating which, which SUNY boy she wants to be with. She's trying to figure out like, what is the best course in her life? How can revive once she gets to a point where, you know, basic survival is no longer a question, it becomes very much of a, what kind of future does she want for herself? So it was a lot of her own self discovery too. I think that sort of drove a lot of her actions so that it was kind of finding the way that these two guys, how they would compliment her life or not. So no. And that's, I feel like that's part of the reason why it works so well is because they are both offering her something completely different, but we can see from her perspective how each one of these things is so appealing beyond just the guy himself, you know, they're both handsome, they're both, swoony, you know, in their own ways, but the life that they are offering her is a paddling on different levels. And you can see her struggling with that. And, and almost like with her, her con artist mind almost like calculating, like cons as we go along, which I thought was really cool. Yeah. I feel she's had to, you know, out of, out of necessity had, has had to weigh her options all the time throughout her life to survive. And so I definitely do think you see that here and, and she is weighing more than just SUNY guy, but the whole life that it entails, because personally, I always find it a little irksome when, you know, the, the protagonist, when a heroin is just going to give up everything she wants in life to be with said SUNY guy. So I didn't want it to be just about getting the guy, but you know, the guy along with what kind of life that's going to be, what kind of partnership they can have, like personal goals, can she both accomplish and even bake, you know, now that she can actually make them yeah. That kind of comes back to, you know, wanting to give the protagonist more of that power and that independence that she wasn't always afforded in a lot of versions of the story. Um, so that seems like a good time to point out that we do not yet know who she ends up with, um, because the book does not have a happy ending. Um, are we looking at a, duology a trilogy? What's the plan? We are looking at a duology. Okay. I've had my first, uh, first call with my editor. I actually spent last week and really diving deep into my outline and my super, super, super rough draft. And I'm, I'm really happy with, with the way that the story is going to be told. I, um, I will say though, initially the gold spun ending was even less happy than where it is now and my editors. Like I think, I think it needs to be a little happier when we're hopeful. I'm like, okay, I'll make it somewhat more helpful, but clearly, you know, her story is not done. There's a lot more that I have to tell. I'm very excited. We get to find out, we get to find out more about like the fairies. You are still rather mysterious creatures. So I get to kind of dive into that. I, I am playing around with the idea of incorporating potentially another fairy tale element into, into this sequel, like from a different story. Yep. Ooh. That could be fun. Little teaser. And I will say it was really kind of amusing that initially I had a working title of a gilded purse and then I saw your book. I was like, I think, I think I should change the title. That's funny. Um, yeah, Gildan and a gilded curse. I was actually the title that I was rooting for. Um, and then my editor preferred the shortened gilded. Um, and I know at one point I was looking at spun gold also in Raz as opposed to gold spot. And so, you know, there's only so much you. Yeah. I played with lots of like spinning gold straw into gold and, you know, at one point I think I was looking up on good reads just to see them okay, with what other books have this title or this different enough that it's, you know, like a lot of name titles, like a cursed name, a forgotten name. And my editor was like, yeah, those, those aren't exciting at all. Yeah. It's hard when you have those elements that are so special to the plot and I'm like, I want it to work just perfectly into a title. Yeah. Yeah. Titans can be hard. Um, well, my gilded is also the first of a duology, um, and like yours, it does not have a happy ending. I think mine, you know, you decided to uplift yours a little bit. Not me, not me. It's we will leave them in a very precarious position. Um, but people who read me should know that's just how I operate. So I think, I think part of it is physical spun is my debut. And when we sold gold spun, we hadn't sold the sequel at the time. And so was sort of the, well, just hedge your bets a little bit. Um, okay. That makes sense. I did, but yeah, but with my debut cinder, um, and that went ends not happy with the main character sitting in a prison cell and I really had to fight for that ending. Um, there, a lot of people at the publisher were trying to convince me, like, we really it'd be nice if there was like a little bit of romance at the end. Maybe they kiss. Maybe there's just something a little hopeful. And I was like, no, I have places to go and book too. It has to end here. Um, and they let me, and it worked ultimately, but yeah, I really had to fight for it. Yeah. I, I always knew there was more to the gold to north story. I wasn't sure if it'd be a trilogy or duology. So I was starting to write it like a trilogy and then after having some talks with my editor and then looking back over the outline realized that a duology works best. So now I'm like, okay, so now I have this really big, super rough draft that I need to condense into like half a book and then write the second half. Yeah. Right. Right. Now you have to write the second half me too. I'm right there with you. Um, so I wanted to talk specifically about some of the things that I found, particularly headache inducing about this fairy tale and things that I like beat my head against the wall for weeks, in some cases kind of your, how am I going to get around this? Or how am I going to solve this? Um, but the biggest thing for me is one that actually has not yet been addressed in gold spun. Um, and that was the pregnancy aspect in, in of course in Rumpelstiltskin, she eventually gets pregnant because Rumpelstiltskin has to come bargain for the firstborn child, a huge part of the story. Um, but in the fairytale, like she gets married, she gets pregnant, skip to nine months later, looks good, shows up and wants the baby. And that, for me, it was such a struggle like how do I fill this space? And also like, who's the father? Is it the king? Is it Rumpelstiltskin? Who is the love interest in mine? Um, you know, I mean, there were so many different things that I had to like try to make work and it really turned out to be a lot more difficult than I initially thought it was going to be, at least for me. Um, so I obviously, I don't need you to spoil, I don't want you to give anything away for book two, but for you, like, was that as big of a challenge for you as it was for me? Or did you like have a solution and just like, okay, this is what I'm gonna do. Yeah. That was, um, I empathize with all your struggle, but it was actually really easy for me. Oh, I basically just threw that element out the window. Yeah. It's like, this is my retelling. I don't need to, um, I don't need to include all of the elements of the original. So what I did and, and you find out super early on in my book is that nor rescues Pell, who's been basically kidnapped by some thugs in the woods. So he already owes her a favor. So that was sorta how I got around the bartering of like the, why does he help him? Why does he help her? How does, how does he even know who she is? So I have that happened really early on and for me, because their relationships, um, so much of it is about developing the relationships with, with both Pell and with Casper. I didn't want to, I didn't feel like nor was ready to the point of getting pregnant. So I kind of said, that's just not going to be part of my retelling. Yeah, no, fair enough. Um, I hear you because it was not easy for me to figure out and obviously the readers will ultimately decide if I came in there or not. Um, I obviously I did not throw it out. She does get pregnant in book two, there will be a baby. Um, which then also I had led to like a ton of romance about pregnancy. Like my kids are adopted, so I've never experienced pregnancy. And so it's just like, oh, this is not the book that I thought I was writing. You know, did have a lot of challenges as far as, not necessarily from Rumpelstiltskin, but from help from ferry lower of how much I wanted to keep and how much I wanted to change. That that was something that I had sort of like, how much do I keep traditional very, you know, very quote unquote rules and can they fly? Can they tell lies? You know? Um, what about iron? Just going through all the different traditions and myths around berries to see what I wanted to keep and what I didn't do and being consistent with it. Yeah. Right. And like the, the idea that the name is so important, um, which was such a, obviously to tie in with Rumpelstiltskin works perfectly. And also, yeah, I mean kind of along the lines of the fairy lore, there's this idea of like magic coming at a cost. Um, and, and you, and I both toy with that, but in very different ways, um, in gilded, certain people are there's seven gods, um, in this, the story world. Um, and so they've given blessing slash curses on various people. And that's where a lot of the magic comes from. Um, one of the gods in particular is the God of labor and they don't like giving away things for free. Um, and so that was like, for me, when it comes to like Guild, having to bargain for things like he needs something in repayment, um, you, whoever have magic coming at a cost, but you went a lot gorier with it. So, and again, I think we initially find this out pretty early on that Pell uses needs blood to do his magic, uh, which is something that I wouldn't have that I did actually have to fight for because the editor, my editor was like, are you sure? Oh, I'm still glad you fought for it. I loved it. I think, I think tears was suggested. I'm like, no, because that's not really, you know, I want it to really have a price. I don't want to be, I don't want to be gratuitously gory just to be gory, but I do want it to have a real weight to it. Um, and the other thing was that in this world and in this story, it's just the ferry is that have the magic. And I think that kind of contributes to them being sort of this mysterious misunderstood peoples that there's a lot of prejudice against. And you know, it may or may not be true even in the map, which was really fun. I got to talk with the illustrator about the map of the human inhabited areas are pretty well-defined. And then you go into Magna Mel, which is this fairy land and you get these dangerous looking trees and these looking monsters of just the, we don't know what's here, but clearly it's terrible. So I kind of had an underlying theme of playing with sort of this, um, prejudice of the unknown. How excited were you when you heard you were going to get a map? I was so excited. I was so jealous, so thrilled and I got to send them my like really terrible sketch that I did mostly just to make sure I don't get lost when I write things. Yeah. I also have a sketch of the map of my world and I've sent it to my editor, um, like for copy at it so that they could check, like, when I say some things to the east, is it really to the east, et cetera. Um, but I, I also like sent it to her secretly hoping that then she'd be like, Ooh, we should make a map for this book, but I heard it anything yet. So I don't think it's going to happen. I was lucky my editor, her sister's an illustrator. So hand inked the map and threw it all out. She did. What I loved is the compass rose is actually built out of a, a spinning wheel in the map. I did not notice that it is the compass rose. Oh, that's cool. That would a great idea. Yeah, it was one of the things I'm like, I would have never thought to do that, but I love it. I love it. So clever what we've talked about too, which I'm really excited about is hopefully using like this same map, but in the sequel, you know, the fairy land, we'll probably get more. We'll get to see more of it. So like the same map only instead of the here be monster area, it'll actually be, this is what really is here. Yeah. Yeah. Expansion. I love it. I'm trying to think what another, so the only other like big challenge that I think that we haven't really talked about yet. Well, it's one of the questions for me was always like, why does Rumpelstiltskin want the baby? Um, which kind of goes back to the whole pregnancy thing. And you, you were just, you just wrote that off. So I, I had, you know, the Lord nor has an IOU from Pell. Um, yeah. Um, another thing that I struggled with in trying to figure out, okay, how am I going to make this work? Is that the fairy tale is so repetitive. Um, with the, the three nights, given the challenge, she's locked up, spin the strong to gold Rumpelstiltskin shows up, they strike a deal. He spins the gold blah, blah, blah. And it happens three times, um, which works in a fairytale when every time takes like a paragraph, but in a novel, what am I going to do with these three different nights? Um, your solution was quite brilliant. W where I threw it out notes, I definitely had like some early beta readers and like early critique groups. And they're like, you know, in the, in the original, this happens or she gets pregnant. I'm like, yeah, but this isn't the original. No, but it works. It works not only because you obviously solved that problem, um, of it just not just being super repetitive. Um, but it also like the, the, the story that Knorr comes up with to explain how she can do this thing. It makes sense that she can only do it one time and that everyone just like X that, um, so it really was a brilliant way of solving kind of a number of problems in the story actually. Yeah. I feel it in the same way. I try to get out of difficult problems like that feel nor is always looking for an escape route. I know, well, as writers too, our brains are just like, oh boy, how do I get myself out of this? Yeah. I really have so much more fun playing with the, so basically instead of three nights of spinning straw into gold, the first night is more of a, you know, she's being nade. Casper's like make an example of her and bringing her to the feast and she's wearing this like ridiculous, awful gaudy dress and just playing into the awkwardness and the, and the real clash that she has between, you know, her being a thief and a peasant, you know, trying to deal with a palace and palatial intrigues. And, you know, that's glossed over in the very tail, but for her, it's a big culture shock. Yeah. No, and it's never questioned that the king has chosen a commoner, um, like that, that's just like a non-issue in the fairy tale, which realistically we know probably would not be the case. Yeah. I mean, I, I got through that being as the, you know, in, in Goldsboro and he, he makes the offer not thinking he has to follow through on it, but they loved, yeah. He has no, no plans to that. You know, he doesn't think she can do it. And then she does it. He's like, well, I'm a really upright guys. So, so we're doing that. Right. Right. Um, so other than the fairy lore, were there any challenges in particular that you remember from this fairytale that really drove you bonkers? Hmm. I mean, the, the fairy lore was definitely one of them. I'd say finding the line, especially for Pell of, is he a good guy? Is he a villain and trying to sort of have the breadcrumbs in there of, you know, having him not be this caricature of evil, but still the mysterious, still, still having questions about him. I wanted one of the big things that that's always delighted me is when some of the readers tell me they were surprised by the ending, because on one hand you have an idea of what's going to happen at the end because you know, the story of Rumpelstiltskin, but at the same time, wanting to surprise readers with what actually transpires and how that can be quite similar to the ending, but also not. Right. Yeah. No, definitely. And I really like that Pell is in this gray area and that he kind of switches back and forth between good guy and bad guy. Um, largely because I think that that's very authentic to the original story and obviously Rumpelstiltskin gets cast as the villain. Um, people assume, oh, he, he wants the newborn child must be the bad guy, but he's also like the only person who ever helps this poor girl. Like I think a strong argument can be made that he is the hero in a lot of ways. Yeah. I mean, you know, he's, he may have been asking a really high price, but he's the one that like fulfills the contract[inaudible]. Yeah. So I love that. And I'm excited to see what you do with, with pill's character. Um, okay. Last question. Before we start wrapping this up, I know you're obviously still busy working on books. Um, but I also know that you are just a fan of fairytales. Um, and, and I think mythology was mentioned on your website. Also once this one is done. Are there any other fairytales that you hope to tackle? Yes. I do have some other ideas for stories that aren't fairytales. Um, I do have a, a loose Alison Alyssa story set in Wonderland. Another favorite, uh, kind of playing with the idea of the mad Hatter. I have rewritten the story of Cupid and psyche, which is a Greek myth is a modern basically romcom play of fantasy elements, but also set modern, but with fantasy of Cupid and psyche, trying to have a relationship with, you know, Venus or Aphrodite being with crazy overbearing mom. Oh, that sounds super fun. I love that. That math it's one of my favorites. Let me tell you it's one of the fuse that like, it ends happy. The woman is the one who goes on the quest to die. So definitely. Okay. Let's wrap this up with our happy writer bonus rounds. First question. What book makes you I'm happy? I really love, I love spinning silver by Naomi Novak and I had already drafted gold spun before I read it. It's another Rumpelstiltskin retelling, but it's also so different and so fantastic. And I love the, the elements that she pulls from that are different, you know, that are also different from both my book, as well as yours is, you know, having a Jewish girl in a, in a fantasy having this ice king guy who's, you know, seems very morally gray. So it's nice. I have not read it, but this is the year of Rumpelstiltskin. So I will add it to my list. I, I highly recommend I also, I also really love the Tiffany aching books by Terry Pratchett and highly recommend those because she's a, you know, a witch, but very practical young girl as well. So I think they're fantastic. If you woke up tomorrow with the ability spin straw into gold, what is the first thing you would do? Buy straw, buy stock and straw. How do you celebrate an accomplishment? So every time I have a book deal, my husband gets me a cheesecake. Nice. My mom misunderstood that as like every time I sell an actual book and she's like, you're going to get sick. And I will say that I don't do this every time for a book. But when we did, when I did sell gold spun, we adopted our puppy like right afterwards. So my husband suggested we named her nor[inaudible]. And so now people are like, oh, did you name your main character after your dog? Like the other way around. But, but, but like my main character puppy nor also will feel things often like sandwiches. That's, that's cute. I tried to name our cat cinder and Scarlet, and I was vetoed. What is your favorite thing about being a writer? I love, I love being transported to the different worlds and any time when I can write or knowing that my readers, when reading will just lose track of time and forget your actual life and get to live in this other fantastical life is just the greatest feeling for me. Where can people find you? So I'm at Brandy, june.com, Brandi with an I E. And that has links to all of my socials, which are mostly all Brandy, June, or some iteration of thereof on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter. I started getting into tick talk. I've been having a lot of fun with that. It's lots of like either book stuff, videos of my dogs or nail art. Awesome. Brandy, thank you so much for joining me today. Oh, well, thank you so much for having me. This was so much fun. It was super, super fun. And I can't wait for everyone to be able to read your book and then read gilded. And we'll just be able to have so many more conversations, Rumpelstiltskin party all the way, right? It is the year readers definitely check out gold spun. It is available. Now, of course, we always encourage you to support your local indie bookstore. If you can, if you don't have a local indie, you can check out our affiliate store at bookshop.org/shop/marissa Meyer coming up next week, I will be talking to AXI ow about her. K-pop inspired contemporary romance, X O X O. Stay tuned for that. If you're enjoying this conversation, I would love it. If you subscribed and please leave a review on Google or apple podcasts, you can follow us on Instagram at Marissa Meyer author and at happy writer podcast until next time stay healthy, stay cozy and whatever life throws at you today. I do hope that now you're feeling a little bit[inaudible].