I was lucking enough a couple of weeks ago to be able to read an early copy of ‘Ensnared’ by Rita Stradling. The book was incredibly entertaining and I found I massively enjoyed it… so figured I’d get in touch with the author. Luckily enough Rita was very much willing to answer a couple of questions I’d put together!
So lets go!
About Rita Stradling;
“Rita Stradling is the author of Making Bad Choices, The Deception Dance series, the Dakota Kekoa series and The Fourteen Day Soul Detox Serial. She has a BA in Art History and a particular love for modern and medieval art.
Rita lives with her husband and son in Northern California.
She has an insatiable novel addiction and mostly reads young adult and adult romance, paranormal, urban fantasy and high fantasy.”
“A Near-Future Retelling of Beauty and the Beast
Alainn’s father is not a bad man. He’s a genius and an inventor. When he’s hired to create the robot Rose, Alainn knows taking the money is a mistake.
Rose acts like a human. She looks exactly like Alainn. But, something in her comes out wrong.
To save her father from a five year prison sentence, Alainn takes Rose’s place. She says goodbye to the sun and goes to live in a tower no human is allowed to enter. She becomes the prisoner of a man no human is allowed to see.
Believing that a life of servitude lies ahead, Alainn finds a very different fate awaits her in the company of the strange, scarred recluse.
Pre Order here (Amazon) -> ‘Ensnared‘
Your upcoming novel, Ensnared, is a retelling of ‘Beauty and the Beast’. But why did you choose this particular story to retell?
“Beauty and the Beast is a favorite of mine, and I’m always drawn to the retellings of this particular story. Also, for a while now, the story was on my mind starting after I watched a Smithsonian documentary titled ‘The Real Beauty and the Beast’. This documentary hypothesizes that the tale originated with a man named Petrus Gonsalvus who had a condition named ‘hypertrichosis’. Hypertrichosis is a rare condition where hair will cover the entirety of a person’s body. Petrus had been considered sub-human, and had become a project for Henry II, the then monarch of France. The king wanted to see if he could turn this ‘man of the woods’ into a gentleman; one of these experiments was to marry Petrus to a “beautiful lady” who was chosen for him. I found this documentary strange and unsettling, and it caused me to research the original fairy tale which had many details I’d never found in later retellings (magical monkeys being one of them). After a while, I started to be drawn to the idea of retelling the story, but having the “curse” that the beast has upon him be more of the type that Petrus Gonsalvus suffered, namely one of others’ cruelty and ignorance.”
Would you want to do any other retellings in the future? And if so, what story would you like to do a re-imagining of the most?
“You know, I definitely don’t plan to do any retellings in the future. But, if I did, I’d like to rewrite one like the Russian tale Baba-Yaga and Vasilisa the Fair – which is a little like Cinderella, but more detailed, grisly, and intense.“
What advice would you give to authors (new or old) who would like to write a retelling? Be it Beauty and the Beast or another story.
“That’s a hard one – it’s really fun to rewrite a fairytale. Be sure you have fun with it and don’t feel bogged down with others’ expectations.“
Where did you take your inspiration from when writing Ensnared? Particularly how you came up with the concept of mixing a ‘Beauty and the Beast’ idea with robots/AI?
“The robots and AI aspect came from some information my father told me. My father works in cutting edge technology in Silicon Valley, and he told me that several large companies plan to have robots replace a good deal of their workforce by 2020. Along with this knowledge bomb, I read several articles about AI and how it’s being developed right now. As I said earlier, I had Beauty and the Beast on the brain, and the two ideas smashed together.“
Do you think we’ll one day have robots, like those in Ensnared (Rose Rosette, Rosebud, Blue etc), working alongside us?
“I think by 2026 we’ll see robots similar to the automatons from the book around us; the automatons may not have integrated into society to the extent of the world inside Ensnared, but I believe it will be pretty close to that. Also, I do believe that, like the atom-bomb, America will develop AI technology just because it’s possible and we want to do it before other countries have the technology to do it. Will they eventually make the AI humanoid? I can’t say – but, I’d guess that yes, yes they will.“
In Ensnared, does Lorccan truly have a compromised immune system, or was it simply fear and the prospect that he’s never really been exposed to the outside? And what made you want to push this particular concept?
“Readers are welcome to PM me after they finish the book, I’d be happy to tell them 😉“
How would you personally sum up Ensnared to those asking ‘what’s your book about’?
“Ensnared is a near future adult retelling of Beauty and the Beast. To save her father from going to prison, Alainn impersonates the AI robot her father was supposed to deliver to the billionaire Lorccan Garbhan. However, when Alainn is trapped in the billionaire’s tower home, she realizes that Lorccan wants this robot for a very odd purpose. Her situation is supposed to be a temporary one, but everything goes awry.“
What’s next? With Ensnared soon to be released what’s your next project going to be… do you have any other books currently in the works? Or any particular challenge you want to face with your writing?
“I just finished a Young Adult Regency High Fantasy titled Colorless. I’m not really sure when it’ll be released, but hopefully by August. It’s about Lady Annabelle, a young woman whose pigment literally drips off of her body upon hearing the news of her parents’ murder, leaving her colorless. She is immediately invisible and forgotten to all but a few, including a stable boy named Dylan and his two brothers. With their help, she needs to solve the mystery of her parents’ murders and her strange affliction before she truly disappears into nothingness.“
Looking back to when you first started writing seriously… what’s one piece of writing advice you’d give your younger self?
“To be honest, I wish I had told myself to start working with an editor throughout each project. Also, I wish I’d told myself to go with a professional cover maker right from the start.”
And finally… what is writing to you?
“That’s a good question. Writing is a lot of things to me. It can at times be fun, exciting, necessary, tedious, exhausting, demanding, unachievable, uplifting, cathartic, depressing, or liberating – I’ve broken my own heart – I’ve fallen in love – I’ve learned about myself. It’s a weird career, but I’m not surprised that so many would break their backs and bank accounts to pursue it.“
Remember you can Pre-Order Ensnared (Due for release on the 23rd of May) here
-> Ensnared <-
Ensnared was a wonderful take on Beauty and the Beast and I genuinely recommend it… it was a simple, easy read. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Rita for agreeing to do this interview/Q&A… it was a pleasure! If you would to know more about Rita, what she’s up to and what other works she has then you can go HERE or HERE to find out more. Once again thank Rita for this!
I hope you all enjoyed reading guys! See you soon.