For those that have not been reading YA literature you might not have heard of an author named Mette Ivie Harrison – but seriously people… if you haven’t heard of her you’ve been living under a rock! But all jokes aside, I am very honoured to have Mette Harrison as part of our 2012 YA Saves Reading Challenge for February’s focus.

One of the most well known classical romantic stories is that of Tristan and Isolde.  Mette Harrison’s release of Tris & Izzie is a retelling of this complex yet romantic story.  I am very excited to share with you the opportunity I had to ask Mette more about her own retelling, her writing and what she has planed next!

Tristan and Isolde‘ is a beautiful story.  How is your retelling of ‘Tristan and Isolde‘ different from the original?

Well, it was tricky to do a story about adultery, essentially, set in high school, where the characters aren’t married. Then there is the whole question of the torturous love triangle. I love romance, but love triangles are rarely done well, and I enjoyed poking a little fun at the whole idea of a woman who can’t decide which hot guy she *really* loves the most. I put in a lot of tiny details that very few people will get, since I used as my foundation the 1100 AD version in Middle High German, which not many people have access to. The black sails at the end, for example, and some of the names, like Gurmun the serpent, are from that version.

If you made a potion for your best friend like Izzie, what would it be and what would you want the outcome to be? Or do you think it would go wonky?

Oh, magic always goes off in its own direction, doesn’t it? That’s one of the great lessons of life, that you have control of something or someone only for so long, and then you have to let go and see what happens, have confidence in yourself and enjoy. I did have a best friend in high school who was in love with the wrong guy and I kept trying to get her to ask other guys out. One of the guys I set her up with was my brother. We were supposed to go on a double date together, but I got sick and ended up nearly overdosing on aspirin, trying to keep up my promise to double with her. Later, we gave up trying to find her dates and she just hung out with me and my boyfriend as a weird threesome.

You’ve written a lot of books about princesses… what draws you to writing about such characters?

Princesses are just what happens to sell. I have probably 50 other completed novels about completely different characters, but they don’t get published for whatever reason. It’s hard as an author to figure out why it is that people seem to connect with only one kind of writing. I don’t think I have the answer to that. It might be because I grew up on a farm in central New Jersey or because I loved to read Robin Hood and fairy tales and Shakespeare in elementary school and have a flavor for an old-fashioned language. It might be because I do princesses with a twist that people really like. Who knows?

 It’s always a shame when well written books cannot be published because of what is what is no popular at the moment. Hopefully we will see those book on the shelves one day.
Let’s pretend you didn’t write Tris & Izzie… what would you say to someone in recommending this book?

It’s a light, humorous retelling that is the perfect antidote to those tired of the never ending stream of dystopians and paranormal romances.  

Can you give us any hints about any new YA (or non-YA) projects you may be currently working on or just finished?

 I am currently working on Two Princesses (title not yet certain) about two princesses from opposing kingdoms who meet and become friends. They have to then make decisions in which their friendship and the welfare of their kingdoms are pitted against each other. It’s sort of like Mary Queen of Scots and Queen Elizabeth I retold with magic. I used to love reading about that historical time period in England and read a lot more about it researching for this novel (which will hopefully turn into a trilogy).

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