{Interview} Sarah McGuire, Author of VALIANT

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An interview with 
Sarah McGuire

Sarah McGuire loves fairy tales and considers them the best way to step outside of everyday life. They’re the easiest way, at least: her attempt at seven to reach Narnia through her parents’ closet failed. She lives within sight of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, where she teaches high school creative writing and math classes with very interesting word problems. VALIANT is her first novel.

Visit her websiteblog, and Twitter!

I love that VALIANT revolves around the less retold tale of The Brave Little Tailor. What inspired you to write this story, especially from a girl's POV?

The Brave Little Tailor wasn't one of my favorite fairy tales. I didn't like how the tailor seemed to take advantage of the giants, though I did admire his intelligence. But the story kept niggling at me, and that dissatisfaction with the original tale drove me to 'fix' it, I suppose.

And suddenly, as I kept thinking about the story, I realized that I was imagining a girl dressed as a tailor. I understood a girl dressing as a knight, but a tailor? Why would she do that? And what if the giants she outwitted weren't just brutes? Those were questions big enough, intriguing enough, that I had to go deeper into the story. 

Will you write more fairy tale-inspired novels in the future?

I will! I am, actually. Right now, fairy tales are the stories that capture my heart and mind. As long as they do, I'll keep writing them. And we'll see if I can keep selling them.

What was the hardest scene to write in VALIANT? The easiest?

Oh, the hardest was the showdown at the end. I had almost every important character, human and giant, in one place, and was trying to juggle them all and still keep the story moving as it ought. I did so many major rewrites on that portion. At one point, I'd printed the pages, cut them into individual paragraphs, and arranged and rearranged the pieces on the floor of my tiny living room till I could get the scene to work.

And the easiest?  I think some of the most fun scenes were some of the early ones with Will, the little boy Saville takes under wing. He was such a delight to write.
If your life was a Disney movie, which would it be...and which character would best represent you?

Oh! I wonder if some of my math students would place me as a villain? I hope not! But I think if I had to choose, I'd pick Belle from Beauty and the Beast, mainly because she gets a library. I mean, seriously: the Beast gives her a library with the wheely ladders and everything. What could be more romantic than that? 
Which fairytale villain would you never want to reform and why?

Fairy Tale villains make me think of CK. Chesterton's quote: "Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed." I love a reformed character, and I think villains with human qualities are even more frightening because we can see ourselves in them. But sometimes there are honest-to-goodness monsters, and sometimes they need to be vanquished.

But back to your question: I think I have to go with Sarah Cross's answer in a co-interview we did. Maleficent, No offense to Angelina Jolie, but Maleficent in the original Sleeping Beauty was such a fabulous villain. I'd hate for her to ever step out of that.

(Here's the link to that post!)

***Fairy Tale Fans, stop back TOMORROW 
for an interview with Sarah Cross!***

Which fairytale mode of transportation would you want to try out? (eg. Cinderella's pumpkin coach, seven league boots, ship, flying carpet, etc...)

I'd travel with the winds like the heroine of East o' the Sun, West o' the Moon. Can you imagine being caught up with the North Wind and sweeping across the ocean? Yes, please!


Dragon or kraken?


Mermaid or princess?


Prince or knight?


Befriend the birds or the mice?

birds- but big birds, like falcons or eagles

Invisibility cloak or golden ball?

invisibility cloak
O F F I C I A   I N F O:

Author: Sarah McGuire
Release Date: April 28, 2015
Publisher: Egmont USA

Saville despises the bolts of velvet and silk that her father loves- he's always prized them more than he's ever loved her. Yet when he's struck ill, she'll do anything to survive, even donning boys' clothes and begging a commission to sew for the king.

Piecing together a fine coat is far simpler than unknotting court gossip about an army of giants led by a man who cannot be defeated. And they're marching toward Reggen to seize the throne. But Saville knows giants are just stories, and no man is immortal.

Then she meets them, two scouts as tall as trees. She tricks them into leaving, but tales of the daring tailor's triumph quickly spin into impossible feats of giant-slaying. And mere stories won't deter the Duke and his larger-than-life army.

Now only a courageous and clever tailor girl can see beyond the rumors to save the kingdom again.