Alethea Kontis is the closest thing I know to a real-life princess--complete with gown and plenty of kickassitude. Her books are full of adventure, romance, and awesome relatable characters. I fell in love with her Woodcutter Siblings series and have been reading ever since. Alethea is our guest today, telling us about what inspired her new book for teens (and adults!) called When Tinker Met Bell!
Since its release on Tuesday, my latest YA paranormal rom-com has been compared to Goonies, Stranger Things, Revenge of the Nerds, Pretty in Pink, and the works of Jude Deveraux. I suppose it’s possible that any—or all—of these influenced me on some subconscious level while writing, but OFFICIALLY, here are the Top Five things that inspired When Tinker Met Bell.
Labyrinth — Yes, I am one of those girls who fell in love with David Bowie at the tender age of ten years old. I was also one of the ones who wondered: Why was the Goblin King so hot when all the rest of the goblins were…not? As soon as goblins popped into my book, I knew I was going to have to solve this problem. (Which I did, by incorporating both the Lost Boys and a Goblin City that sits on a hotbed of magic.) I also knew there would have to be a masquerade scene that involved a giant, poofy white dress, and some serious kissing.
Dungeons & Dragons — The book opens from Bellamy’s chipper, optimistic point-of-view. Chapter Two introduces Tinker’s POV with, “This day was seriously starting to suck.” He returns to the table at the cafe, where he and his friends are already in the middle of a D&D adventure. I didn’t have to think twice about this scene. It was one of those ones that almost wrote itself. I immediately knew who Tinker and his friends were, because they were me and my friends as teens: the genius drama club outcasts.
The idea of a goblin, a kobold, a were-sloth and his human sister sitting around a table playing D&D was too fun to pass up. That they use this same experience to later team up with a fairy to save said goblin was simply icing on the cake.
“The Were Four” — I had created Tinker’s character and that of his best friend, go-bold kobold Hubble G. Hobson…but I needed at least one other friend to be in their D&D party. Sam and Natalie instantly sprang forth, fully-formed. They were characters I had written in a short story called “The Were Four,” that was intended for a were-being anthology many years ago. Only, it was not made clear from the start that the editor wanted dark and broody were stories, and I had delivered a quirky teen comedy. After months of searching for a home, I finally published “The Were Four” in my short story collection Wild & Wishful, Dark & Dreaming. I can’t tell you how thrilled I was for an opportunity to give Sam and Natalie a second chance at life!
Shakespeare — You can’t write a story about star-crossed lovers and not mention Romeo and Juliet…at least, I can’t. I had originally tossed this un-subtle reference in to use as a plot point later on, but after a major revision around Chapter Nine, the story ended up taking a different direction. The character of Hubble, however, came to life after making this decision. He became the Mercutio of the piece—something I had not originally intended, but was happy to discover as the story went on. And, like all great actors, what Hubble really wants to do is direct. So he does.
Friendsourcing — I have been known to spend hours of research just to settle on a name for a character. What I’ve discovered recently is that, if my heart isn’t set on a particular thing, I’ll just ask my friends. The were-teens in “The Were Four” came from an informal poll of a panel audience at DragonCon, when I asked them what animals they thought would make the lamest were-shifters. For the purposes of When Tinker Met Bell, I started Facebook threads asking things like “What’s a good name for a drink at a Halloween-themed coffee shop” and “I need the name of a troll.” These threads have become some of my favorite discussions of all time. They make me laugh, the inspire me, and they remind me just what a clever group of friends I have. Adding their insights into my stories only makes the magic stronger.
About When Tinker Met Bell:
Everybody knows that goblins and fairies can't be friends. But that never stopped Tinker and Bell.
Bellamy Merriweather Larousse isn't like the other fairies at Harmswood Academy, with her giant wings and their magical dust. "Southern Bell" works as a barista at The Hallowed Bean to help pay her tuition and remains active on the cheering squad, despite her insistence on associating with the unpopular crowd. Every day is sunny in Bellamy's world and every cloud has a silver lining. The only way to upset Bell's stalwart optimism is to threaten one of her misfit friends...or try to take one of them from her.
Unbeknownst to everyone--including him--outcast Ranulf "Tinker" Tinkerton is about to be named heir to the throne of the Goblin King, making him ruler of his fellow Lost Boys and the labyrinthine city they inhabit. Now that the time has come for Tinker to leave Harmswood behind, will he be brave enough to share his feelings for Bellamy? It's no secret that he's held a torch for her since the fourth grade, but no matter how long they've been friends, goblins will always be allergic to fairies.
Or will they?
About Alethea Kontis:
Alethea Kontis is a princess, author, fairy godmother, and geek. Author of over nineteen books and contributor to over twenty-five more, her award-winning writing has been published for multiple age groups across all genres. Host of “Princess Alethea's Fairy Tale Rants” and Princess Alethea's Traveling Sideshow every year at DragonCon, Alethea also narrates for ACX, IGMS, Escape Pod, Pseudopod, and Cast of Wonders. Alethea currently resides on the Space Coast of Florida with her teddy bear, Charlie. Find out more about Princess Alethea and the magic, wonderful world in which she lives at: patreon.com/princessalethea