Charlie N. Holmberg
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Charlie N. Holberg on her Whitney Award Finalist novel,
The Will and the Wilds
What was the inspiration for your Whitney Awards finalist novel?
It was actually based off a dream I had. I was at the house I’d grown up in. There was a man there who had a unicorn horn, but he’d lost it, and the only way to get it back was to, uh, take someone’s maidenhood. Also, Elana Johnson was my mom.
What was the tipping point that turned this novel from “just an idea” to a project you HAD to complete?
This dream REALLY stuck with me. I couldn’t get it off my mind. I kept thinking about the story, how I could turn it into something publishable, and I got really excited for it. So excited that I drafted it at the same time I drafted another book under deadline.
How did this book evolve into the final story? Did it end up the way you thought it would, or did the plot or characters change along the way?
The one consistent thing through the process was the male lead, Maekallus. Essentially, the story revolved around him. I had to tweak some things for my brand and audience (there are no takings of maidenhoods in this book). I’d always wanted to do an enchanted forest story, so it shifted there, and I created my own demon lore to go with it. 100% was influenced by the monster realm in Disney’s Moana.
Who is your favorite secondary character, and why?
This book has a pretty small cast, but I did enjoy writing Enna’s father. He has a deep history convoluted by memory loss; he’s at once completely inept and incredibly competent. This story could not have happened without him.
If your book was made into a movie, which scene would you want to be a background extra in?
There are only a few scenes I *could* be an extra in, ha! I suppose that one at the end that I can’t talk about because it’s a spoiler.