May 29, 2015

Blog Tour: The Artisans by Julie Reece + A Giveaway

Hello, friends of the enchanted castle! Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Julie Reece's The Artisans! If you're looking for a Beauty and the Beast retelling that's interesting and filled with many twists and spins on the original tale, then this is for you. The Artisans has a fancy house, ghosts, fashion, a dread-locked best friend, an adventurous protagonist, and, of course, romance. Be our guest and read a fun guest post from Julie, and stick around for a giveaway!

RachelWhat would The Artisans be like if it was retelling a different fairy tale?

JulieHa! Funny you should ask me that because it almost was a different fairy tale!! The Artisans started out as a hard core retelling of the Grimm Brother's Elves and the Shoemaker fable. Do you know the story? Elves come at midnight and sew shoes for a kind, but starving shoemaker and ultimately save his business, making him rich. In the fairy tale, the cobbler didn’t have a daughter, but I gave him one and made her a gifted seamstress. I was thinking: what would happen if the daughter woke up in the middle of the night and caught the elves making her father’s shoes, and what if the elves weren’t cute little guys that lived in trees and made cookies, what if, instead, they were people-sized elves, and hot! And what if the hot elf swore the daughter to secrecy, and they started crushing on each other … well, you get the idea. As often happens with my stories, they start writing themselves and twist into something else entirely. That’s what happened with The Artisans. It’s more Beauty and the Beast than anything now, but I like to warn readers it’s a loose retelling and very much its own story. I wouldn’t look for too much resemblance.

I may go back and write the hot elf story someday, you never know …  : )

RachelWhat elements of Beauty and the Beast did you use while writing The Artisans?

JulieBecause of my faith, the element or idea of personal sacrifice is always very emotional for me. It’s easy to say, “Oh, I’d die for this or that.” Sometimes, I joke and say I’d ‘die’ to get my hands on an early ARC from my favorite author or, I’d die for a hot shower, or kill for dark chocolate with almonds, but would I really? Uh no. So, for the sake of this conversation (and my story) I took the sarcasm out and asked myself, would you actually give your life for a family member? In Beauty and the Beast, Belle was willing to die for her father. When she went to the castle, she knew death was a definite possibility. In The Artisans, the heroine Raven Weathersby has to face a similar choice. As I wrote the book, I kept asking myself: what would you do in this situation? Are you that brave? Come on, Julie … don’t answer with what you ‘wish’ you’d do, what would you truly be willing to give up for someone that you love?

The other element that’s similar is the idea of a beast. What characteristics make someone beastly? What are the circumstances that could change a human being into an animal, and what might need to happen to change them back again? Are we born what we are, or are we made? How much is choice, what do we have the freedom to change, and how much is hardwired into us no matter what we do?

RachelSince The Artisans has to do with fashion and a well-known fairy tale, which fairy tale characters have the best fashion?

JulieOkay, so what a totally awesome question! Love this!

Did you know in an original version of Grimm’s fairy tale Cinderella, the ball was actually a festival that lasted three nights with three different dances? Every night, Cinderella wore a new dress that was more amazing than the gown she wore the night before. The dresses were stunning, made from gold and silver bling, silk, pearls, and sun or moonbeam glow … talk about your red-carpet worthy designer fashions! Boom, baby! The best of Vera Wang had nothing on these gowns, and even Cinderella’s shoes beat anything by Jimmy Choo. Oh, and her fairy godmother was pretty much a tree, but whatev’s, it worked for her : ) She gets her man.

A link to the original story is here if you want to read it.

It’s fantastic, and one of my all-time favorites!

My thanks to the awesomeness that is Rachel of Beauty and the Bookshelf for having me here today. The questions were fun and thought provoking. I had a great time.

If you’d care to leave a comment, I’d love to know what your favorite fairy tales are … and/or your favorite clothing designer for that matter.

Keep reading, my friends!

XOXOX Julie 

TitleThe Artisans
Author: Julie Reece
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.
Publishing Date: May 12, 2015
Pages: 344
Goodreads Amazon Barnes & Noble Book Depository

They say death can be beautiful. But after the death of her mother, seventeen-year-old Raven Weathersby gives up her dream of becoming a fashion designer, barely surviving life in the South Carolina lowlands.

To make ends meet, Raven works after school as a seamstress creating stunning works of fashion that often rival the great names of the day.

Instead of making things easier on the high school senior, her stepdad's drinking leads to a run in with the highly reclusive heir to the Maddox family fortune, Gideon Maddox.

But Raven's stepdad's drying out and in no condition to attend the meeting with Maddox. So Raven volunteers to take his place and offers to repay the debt in order to keep the only father she's ever known out of jail, or worse.

Gideon Maddox agrees, outlining an outrageous demand: Raven must live in his home for a year while she designs for Maddox Industries' clothing line, signing over her creative rights.

Her handsome young captor is arrogant and infuriating to the nth degree, and Raven can't imagine working for him, let alone sharing the same space for more than five minutes.

But nothing is ever as it seems. Is Gideon Maddox the monster the world believes him to be? And can he stand to let the young seamstress see him as he really is?

Born in Ohio, Julie Reece lived next to her grandfather’s horse farm until the fourth grade. Summers were about riding, fishing and make-believe, while winter brought sledding and ice-skating on frozen ponds. Most of life was magical, but not all.

She struggled with multiple learning disabilities, did not excel in school. She spent much of her time looking out windows and daydreaming. In the fourth grade (with the help of one very nice teacher) she fought dyslexia for her right to read, like a prince fights a dragon in order to free the princess locked in a tower, and she won.

Afterwards, she read like a fiend. She invented stories where she could be the princess… or a gifted heroine from another world who kicked bad guy butt to win the heart of a charismatic hero. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that? Later, Julie moved to Florida where she continued to fantasize about superpowers and monsters, fabricating stories (her mother called it lying) and sharing them with her friends.

Then she thought she’d write one down…

Hooked, Julie has been writing ever since. She writes historical, contemporary, urban fantasy, adventure, and young adult romances. She loves strong heroines, sweeping tales of mystery and epic adventure… which must include a really hot guy. Her writing is proof you can work hard to overcome any obstacle. Don’t give up. She says, if you write, write on!

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