Dec 14, 2012

Interview with Kim Askew and Amy Helmes

Today I am fortunate enough to host the very talented authors of the new series Twisted Lit. These ladies put modern spins on some of Shakespeare's greatest works. You've already heard my opinion on both books (Tempestuous and Exposure), so now let's hear it from the ladies themselves!

Interview with Kim Askew and Amy Helmes, authors of the Shakespeare-inspired YA series Twisted Lit, featuring Tempestuous and Exposure (Merit Press). Both Kim and Amy think Shakespeare understood the young's true love and pain like no other, from Hamlet's sorry stepdad to Juliet's trauma drama, hence this literate farce, based on "The Tempest."

For more information please visit Twisted Lit Books and and follow them on Facebook.

How did you make the move from writing about book-to-movie adaptations on your joint blog Romancing the Tome to retelling such classic stories yourselves?
We enjoyed writing the blog together, and decided it would be really fun to collaborate on a novel. We spent some time each day brainstorming book ideas, and finally hit upon the concept of putting a modern-day spin on our beloved Shakespeare. We immediately saw the series potential. It's perfect, because we're both former English majors, our blog is about adaptations, and we can't imagine anything more fun than thinking about Shakespeare all day long!

How do you choose the Shakespearean works you retell?
We liked the idea of choosing two very different works for our first titles, and we wanted to start with something unexpected. The Tempest is lighthearted -- there's this violent storm and a shipwreck, yet all the main characters survive. Meanwhile, Macbeth is one of Shakespeare's darkest plays, and we knew it would be fun to play off the conceit of the quest to become “prom king and queen.” It was a fun challenge to interpret the spirit of both those plays, but in our own unique way.

So far you've retold The Tempest & Macbeth, what other works can we look forward to seeing retold in the future?
We're currently writing a modern-day spin of the classic Romeo and Juliet, but we've also thought about adapting King Lear, Henry IV, and Hamlet, to name but a few. Shakespeare wrote 37 plays, and we'd love the opportunity to adapt them all!

Do you have a favorite line or quote from any Shakespearean work?
It's hard to choose just one, but given all the teen angst in The Bard's plays, we adore this tongue-in-cheek quote about adolescence from The Winter's Tale: "I would there were no age between ten and three-and-twenty, or that youth would sleep out the rest; for there is nothing in the between but getting wenches with child, wronging the ancientry, stealing, fighting."

Is there any chance you may choose a different author at some time?
As classic literature buffs, we've definitely considered the idea of twisting some other favorite authors, which run the gamut from A to Z . . . or, in literary parlance, Austen to Zola.

If you could become any character in a book you've written, who would you be & why?
We adore our two heroines Miranda (Tempestuous) and Skye (Exposure), but if forced to choose, the good girls in us would love the chance to be mischievous Miranda for a day to experience firsthand her Ferris Bueller-like ability to stir up fun and mayhem wherever she goes.

© 2012 Kim Askew and Amy Helmes, authors of Tempestuous: A Twisted Lit Novel

Kim AskewKim Askew, coauthor of Tempestuous: A Twisted Lit Novel, whose work has appeared in Elle and other magazines as well as the anthology The May Queen, is a content manager for the Webby-winning teen site and the FIDM/Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. Follow Kim on Twitter.

Amy Helmes, coauthor of Tempestuous: A Twisted Lit Novel, is coauthor of Boys of a Feather: A Field Guide to American Males, also is a weekly contributor toThe Rundown, a daily e-mail service that keeps subscribers informed on what's new and cool in LA. Follow Amy on Twitter.

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