Second novel syndrome – it’s such a recognised problem that an internet search brings up results from major publications and indie bloggers alike. There’s even an award presented by the Royal Society of Literature called the Encore Award for the best second novel. In short, there’s anxiety and reward. The trouble is, when you’re a self-published author, you tend to get far more of the anxiety.
We have all heard that phrase before. Even those of you who aren’t writers have heard it repeated in films, articles, and English classes.
But we all know that there are stories of magic, dinosaurs, space-battles, pirates, and schoolboy wizards that can’t possibly have been drawn from the writer’s own life (no matter how much we hope that J. K. Rowling is telling the truth about Hogwarts).
So how do we cross the great divide of the fantastic whilst maintaining that fundamental authors’ tenet?
Research it until you know it. Then write it!
Today I’m bringing a post that is a mix of an author interview with a new segment called Lost in Translation. I invited Brazilian author Solaine Chioro to talk a bit about her book, A Rosa de Isabela, an amazing diverse retelling of Beauty and the Beast set in Brazil. This story is only available in Portuguese on Amazon, but I thought it’d be interesting to bring this here and remind us that stories don’t exist just in English.
Q1: How was the process of rewriting such an epic fairytale like Beauty and the Beast to a Brazilian scenery?
I started writing A ROSA DE ISABELA as a writing exercise. I was challenging myself to write a short short story a week and I used a list of themes for each one, and one of those themes was writing a retelling of a fairy tale. Before I even figured out what story I was going to adapt, I knew I would write a version that would happen in Brazil. Our culture is very rich and I knew I would have material to work on some fairy tale, not to mention that I really love to see stories with this cultural touch so close to my reality. It all sort of fit in, you know? When I was developing the plot, I realized that it would be perfect if this story happened in the interior of São Paulo (in a fictional city very similar to the one where my father was born). It was not just with the scenario, the approach of the slavery past or the fact that I was inspired by creatures of our folklore – like Caipora and Curipira – to build what it would be the witch of Beauty and the Beast … Everything came to me with a lot of clarity and I think giving this very Brazilian brand to history make it better.
I went into My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness expecting a lot of gay and maybe some poignant articulation of sad feelings. What I got was a story of a queer woman’s mental health and recovery from a dark place in her life.
I had the pleasure of interviewing C.B. Lee, the author of one of my favorite F/F books, Not Your Sidekick. If you like superheroes, relatable characters, and adorable romance, I’m sure you’ll also love her book!
Q1: I love Not Your Sidekick so much! Where did the idea of this superhero world originally came from?
I love comics and superheroes and one of the fun things about it is that cheesy, campy feel as well as the ability to explore different themes, especially with identity. The feel of this world is also inspired by The Incredibles and the 1960s Batman TV show, but along with the comic feel of superpowers and ridiculous hero and villain names and secret leagues and guilds is also this post-WWIII world.
That came along because I’ve always been inspired by post-apocalyptic worlds and I think they’re fascinating to see how different people interpret how humanity will handle certain disasters. What I really love is seeing the rebuilding process, and we don’t see a lot of that in most post-apocalyptic narratives. I thought it would be really interesting to see a world that had already handled this and was moving forward, already in the rebuilding process. Things aren’t perfect, not by the least, but I had fun exploring how people would have dealt with the limited resources of their world.