{Interview} Jane Nickerson, Author of STRANDS OF BRONZE AND GOLD

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Check out both A Backwards Story and The Book Rat during Fairy Tale Fortnight to see our reviews of STRANDS OF BRONZE AND GOLD!

For many years Jane Nickerson and her family lived in a big old house in Aberdeen, Mississippi, where she was also the children’s librarian. She has always loved the South, “the olden days,” gothic tales, houses, kids, writing, and interesting villains. She and her husband now make their home in Ontario, Canada.

Follow Jane on her blog, Twitter, and Facebook.

An interview with 
author Jane Nickerson

What made you decide to retell Bluebeard? Do you intend to do a series of fairy tale retellings, or was there just something about that tale in particular that you knew you wanted to tackle?

Bluebeard creeped me out when I was a kid, and I remembered it when I was doing a scary story night for teens when I was a librarian. I enjoy mysteries and a touch of the macabre, and I liked the fact that Bluebeard has not been over-exposed in retellings. My second book, THE MIRK AND MIDNIGHT HOUR will be released in spring of 2014. It’s based on the Ballad of Tam Lin, which is a traditional Scottish ballad and fairy tale. I would never say never, but at the moment I don’t have any plans for another retelling. The book I’m working on right now, which is a sequel to STRANDS of BRONZE AND GOLD, takes off with Wyndriven Abbey, after the Civil War, when it has been turned into a (haunted) girls’ school. Actually…now that you mention it, there is another fairy tale-esque story that I’m hoping to retell somewhere down the line. I won’t reveal which one, however.

Speaking of THE MIRK AND MIDNIGHT HOUR...has everyone seen the cover reveal for next year's sequel yet?
Here you go:

Gorgeous, no?

Someone gives you a key ring and says you can open any door you want, save one. Then they leave you alone with all those keys and doors. What do you do?

Like Sophie, I’m an awfully curious person. I expect I would open all the lawful doors first, then I would pace back and forth in front of the forbidden one, deciding if it’s actually wrong to open the last door. Next I would try to peek through the keyhole and under the crack at the bottom. Finally I would decide it wouldn’t hurt to open it just a little.
Bluebeard by Walter Crane
As much as we may love any particular tale, each has its own "problematic" aspects (for me, I can't get over the fact that Prince Charming has to find Cinderella, the glorious love of his life, by matching up her feet. I mean, really?). Which problematic aspect of a tale really gets under your skin?

How about the fact that in Rumpelstiltskin, the miller’s daughter is “rewarded” by getting to marry the greedy king, who only wanted her if she could spin straw into gold and would otherwise have her killed? And that nasty guy is her baby’s father. Extremely problematic.

Which fairy tale character would you least like to spend a day as?

I would hate to be Snow White’s witchy stepmother. How sad to be so eaten up by jealousy.

If you could merge any two fairy tales (introduce the characters, combine the worlds, etc), which would they be and what would result?

It might be fun to merge The Wild Swans with the Twelve Dancing Princesses. By coincidence, there are eleven princes in The Wild Swans and eleven unmatched princesses in Twelve Dancing Princesses. I do always worry about the leftover siblings, so there could be some fun matchmaking going on.

Your favorite obscure (or less well-known) fairy tale?

I love The Tinder Box with its poor soldier, a sleeping princess, treasure rooms, and dogs with eyes the size of tea cups, supper plates, and windmills.
The Tinder Box
Most overrated fairy tale?

I’d have to say Cinderella. Not that I have anything against it; it’s just that there seem to be versions of it in every culture and it’s been retold a jillion times. To me, it doesn’t seem to be any better than some of the lesser-known ones.

This or That?

Tower or Dungeon?

Oh, most definitely the tower. So much higher and dryer, plus there would be a sliver of view from the slit window.

Seven League Boots or Glass Slippers?

Seven League Boots. They have more powers and they wouldn’t be nearly as uncomfortable or breakable.

Talking Birds or Talking Mice?

Birds all the way, since they’d stay outside. If you’ve ever had a mouse infestation, you wouldn’t want them around even if they had cute, squeaky little voices.

Hans Christian Andersen or the Brothers Grimm?

Andersen…maybe…no…Grimm Brothers…no…can’t decide

Would You Rather...
Have a prince who makes out with your, um...corpse, essentially, or a prince who can only remember who you are by your shoe size?

Heh, heh. Neither, I’m afraid. A problem when each of these are the bright, beautiful heroine’s ONLY option.

Ride in a pumpkin carriage (sticky) or climb a hair-rope (tiring) to get where you're going?

Hair rope—but I’d have to get in shape first.

Face 3 Billy Goats Gruff or 3 Bears from Goldilocks?

Goats--I’ve always had a fondness for goats—I like their weird eyes.

Thank you so much, Jane!  STRANDS OF BRONZE AND GOLD was one of the most-anticipated books for both Misty and myself this year for FTF!  
And thank you to Misty for putting this interview together!
O F F I C I A L   I N F O:

Author: Jane Nickerson
Release Date: March 12, 2013
Publisher: Random House Children's Books

The Bluebeard fairy tale retold . . . 

When seventeen-year-old Sophia Petheram’s beloved father dies, she receives an unexpected letter. An invitation—on fine ivory paper, in bold black handwriting—from the mysterious Monsieur Bernard de Cressac, her godfather. With no money and fewer options, Sophie accepts, leaving her humble childhood home for the astonishingly lavish Wyndriven Abbey, in the heart of Mississippi. 

Sophie has always longed for a comfortable life, and she finds herself both attracted to and shocked by the charm and easy manners of her overgenerous guardian. But as she begins to piece together the mystery of his past, it’s as if, thread by thread, a silken net is tightening around her. And as she gathers stories and catches whispers of his former wives—all with hair as red as her own—in the forgotten corners of the abbey, Sophie knows she’s trapped in the passion and danger of de Cressac’s intoxicating world. 

Glowing strands of romance, mystery, and suspense are woven into this breathtaking debut—a thrilling retelling of the Bluebeard fairy tale.


  1. What a fun interview! Thanks for sharing, Bonnie! And for visiting, Jane! I'm looking forward to reading Strands of Bronze and Gold (and The Mirk and Midnight Hour sounds fun as well! And what beautiful covers!).

  2. Thanks for the fun interview! I love learning more about authors and their books! I can't wait to read Strands of Bronze and Gold, it sounds amazing!!

  3. I absolutely don't know the story of Bluebeard. I have racked my brain, I know the name, but not the story. So I think I must read this novel. Especially as it is set in the South and that sequel looks awesome and just so many other things. I loved your interview answers. So many great books to read!!


  4. I just won this book in a giveaway and am super excited to read it! I'm going to have to read the original Bluebeard tale first, though.

    It was great learning more about both the author and book! Thanks for the interview!

  5. I believe that there was a version of Bluebeard in Angela Carter's The Bloody Chamber. It would be interesting to read a YA take on it.

  6. I loved this book! Thanks for the interesting interview!


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