If you are like me, and you have a love of fairytale retellings, then you must check out this new Cinderella retelling: The Glass Stone by Sara Michaels. A magical tale of hope and love, The Glass Stone is the third book in The Jeweled Fairytale Retellings series, and today, I am super excited to share my interview with author Sara Michaels about her story (along with an exclusive sneak peek into the book below).
This blog tour is organized by Lola’s Blog Tours and the tour runs from 5 till 25 April. See the blog tour schedule here.
The Glass Stone (The Jeweled Fairytale Retellings#3)
Power can take many forms, but sometimes the greatest magic comes from inside you.
Asha has been a servant for the cruel Duke Bryce for as long as she can remember, and when he married Queen Ilma of the Wind Kingdom, she was dragged to the castle with him and his daughters.
Now, the death of the queen has thrown the castle into panic: if her son, Prince Aither, doesn’t marry before his 18th birthday, the throne will go to Duke Bryce.
Prince Aither knows he must choose a wife, and he’s resigned to his fate. But Duke Bryce has his own ideas about who his bride should be, and if he gets his way, no one will be happy.
Asha is used to watching everything unfold from her place in the kitchen, but she soon finds herself on an unexpected quest set to change her life forever.
Meanwhile, Prince Aither must find a way to make the best of what seems like a hopeless situation and use his powerful magic as a force for good in the kingdom.
The Glass Stone is a magical tale of hope and love inspired by the traditional story of Cinderella. Sometimes, just a little bit of magic is all you need to change the world.
Read My Interview With Author Sara Michaels
Tanaz: What inspired the magical world of The Chaos Daughter?
Sara Michaels: First and foremost, I knew I really wanted to write a series of interconnected fairytale retellings, but it took many years of pondering to discover the world and magic. The start of this series was actually spurred by the magic system used within it. The first two books revolved around Order and Chaos, the “parents” of the elemental magics after them.
Tanaz: What’s your writing process? Do you prefer planning in advance or winging it along the way?
Sara Michaels: I am definitely a planner; I had the first eight books in the Jeweled Fairytale Retellings series outlined before I even started the first book, The Chaos Daughter. This has helped keep me motivated to persevere, but I also acknowledge that not everyone works this way. Some people prefer a little chaos in their process, but, so far, planning and scheduling has really worked for me. I know what chapter(s) I am writing, and when, which really helps me plan with beta readers and critique partners, as well as my developmental editors. Although this process may change overtime, it has worked me to me so far, and I’m super thankful for that.
Tanaz: Who is your favorite character from all three books?
Sara Michaels: My favorite character, so far, is Nastasya, the protagonist (or anti-protagonist) from the first book in this series. She represents a very real inner struggle between nurture and nature. The paradox between “being bad” and “being good”, or “doing bad” and “doing good”. When I started creating her story, I knew I didn’t want her to be this horrible villain forever, even if she turned into one initially. She needed a redemption arc (which happens in the second book, The Order Revived), but we needed to see her struggles along the way. I have a few ideas for future stories for her, stories that continue her inner struggle against a magic she cannot fully control, but those are far in the future.
Tanaz: Which book from the trilogy was the hardest for you to write and why?
Sara Michaels: The Order Revived has been the hardest story to write so far. It’s the final book in Nastasya’s story, but it’s not from her perspective. I needed to make things make sense, have a solid finish, and create a bond between two characters who, magically speaking, could not be more different. I spent a lot of time talking with my developmental editor about the Order and Chaos magics in this world, and how I could portray them while still leaving this ethereal, mystical, and mysterious element to it all. This element is especially important in the rest of the series, because they are told from an Elementals’ point of view, and these magics are inherently mysterious. Not much is known about them anymore.
Tanaz: What do you think is the biggest challenge when it comes to storytelling?
Sara Michaels: Making ideas fit together with any semblance of cohesion. It takes me a long time to outline fully and flesh out my characters (which never really happens until the end of my first or second round of developmental revisions). So, outlining, the first “fast draft”, and fully fleshing out each character and their arcs are the toughest parts of creating a book.
Tanaz: Do you have any advice for aspiring young authors?
Sara Michaels: Just keep writing. You don’t need an outline. All you need is your passion for words and the drive to keep going. The world needs more stories that cover more diverse topics, so there’s room for literally everyone.
Tanaz: What’s your favorite childhood fairytale?
Sara Michaels: If I had to make a quick answer, probably Beauty and the Beast. I think it’s an interesting story and I’ve always loved the wilting rose element that represents love, nature, and the subtle passing of time.
Tanaz: What’s next for you? Are you working on any new books?
Sara Michaels: I am working on my next books. The next book in the series, The Cursed Soul, is done with its first round of developmental revisions, so I am sending it back to my editor before I’ll make another pass (or two, or three). There was red across the entire document, so I’m hoping the next few rounds are less intense. I am also fast drafting (in the month of April) the sixth book in this series, The Stolen Jewel.
Exclusive Sneak Peek: An Excerpt From The Glass Stone
“Asha, Asha!” A squeaky little voice made her spin around. Mouser reared up on his hind legs on the stone wall, reaching his tiny little paws out toward her.
Maybe… Asha thought to herself as she noticed the scrap of paper in Mouser’s hand. Maybe animals are just better than people could ever hope to be. Mouser sure had always come through for her when she needed him.
Smiling, Asha reached out for the paper. It was still fully intact, not like the scraps she usually found or that Mouser brought for her drawings from around the castle. “Where’d you get this…?” Her feet still in time with the princess dance, Asha flipped over the parchment and flowing script sprawled across. “The Sun Kingdom!” Her eyes scanned the paper as quickly as she could. “Until we meet at your coronation, Duke Bryce.” She could feel the breeze start to pick up, and she looked around, curious, before peering down at Mouser, a glimmer of anguish washing through her. “I need to get this to Prince Aither—”
The kitchen door burst open, and a gust of wind blew her long hair back. The wooden door splintered as it slammed against the rocky wall behind it and the red on Duke Bryce’s face was as crimson as a Firebrute’s mighty fists.
“What do you think you are doing?” Duke Bryce’s instantly recognizable, dooming voice echoed in Asha’s ears and sent immediate shivers down her spine.
As nerves crept up her body, silencing her, Asha cursed herself for not having Sera’s Wind gift of hearing. Focusing on the Duke’s fuming red face, Asha stopped moving. Red fiery anger bubbled up his body and Asha felt her body crumple into itself. Why had she danced out in the open?
“C-cleaning,” Asha stammered, stuffing the paper into her dress pocket. She gulped, trying to steady her erratically beating heart. Her mouth dropped open slightly, but nothing would have come out, even if she could find the courage to speak.
“Who showed you that dance? I saw you through the window!” Duke Bryce’s voice ricocheted off the tall, stone castle walls that protected them from the outside. But while those walls might protect them from an attack, they were of no protection to Asha as Duke Bryce glowered down at her. “Where’s the mouse, the paper he stole from me?” He pursed his lips together and gritted his teeth so hard the pink in his cheeks turned to fire. “First the art… and now this!” Duke Bryce took two steps toward Asha, and she almost fell over herself, stumbling backward. His eyes scanned the ground—for Mouser? “Learning that dance, for someone like you…”
Duke Bryce gaped at Asha. His hands balled into fists at his sides and his shoulders seemed to shake as he stared at her. Asha was like a deer stuck in a hunter’s shadow, but Asha knew that Duke Bryce could see her even if she didn’t move a muscle. The ticking blood vessel in Duke Bryce’s temple silenced Asha’s every thought—except for those surrounding Duke Bryce’s power. What would he do to her? In the seconds of silence that seemed to stretch on forever in Asha’s mind, the vessel in Duke Bryce’s temple visibly throbbed. And the large clear stone embedded into his carotid artery caught the light as it pulsed in rhythm. An angry roar echoed against the castle’s stone walls as a heavy wind ripped through the quad.
“Give me that letter!” Duke Bryce demanded through gritted teeth. He lunged forward. Asha pulled away, but Duke Bryce grabbed her and tightened his vice-like grip around her forearm. “That letter was private…”
Asha took a few steps back and her legs knocked against the stone wall. “Private, because… because you plan to hurt Prince Aither? What scheme to you have cooked up with the Sun Kingdom—?” Asha gulped. Anxiety choked her. Had those words really just come out of her mouth?
“I will not let you mess up everything I’ve worked so hard to do…” Duke Bryce stomped his foot into the earth and lunged forward again, trying to grab her, but she slipped free of his grasp.
Asha slipped the gate latch and pushed through it, her heartbeat kicking into overdrive. “I’m telling Aither—” Asha balled her fists in her dress pocket around the letter Mouser had just given her.
“And you’ll ruin everything…” Duke Bryce shook his head, his eyes unfocused on anything but the barrage of thoughts that must have been streaming through his head. “Can’t take any risks…” He rushed her again, this time using his Wind magic to close the gap between them faster than Asha even realized he was moving.
“I’m sorry! I’m sorry,” Asha stammered as she struggled against his grasp, trying to get Duke Bryce to let her go. Panic seized her. One hand twisted around her forearm, while the other squeezed her throat, choking her. Hurting her. “Let… go…!”
Voda spat and hissed at the duke as she moved toward them, her wings and head up, staring pointedly at Duke Bryce as he mumbled wordlessly to himself. She beelined toward them, with her neck stretched out, hissing with every step. Asha tried to back away, but the duke’s grip on her arm didn’t allow her to move much. Voda’s gabble echoed in the small area. As Voda careened closer, Duke Bryce kicked at her, but she continued forward, dodging his flailing limbs until he let Asha go, pushing her to the ground. Dirt and pebbles lodged into her skin, and she cried out, gasping for air.
Earlier Books In The Jeweled Fairytale Retelling Series
The Chaos Daughter
The Chaos Daughter is an action packed adventure of self-discovery inspired by the tale of Anastasia. Question everything, and trust no one: what Nastasya’s about to discover will change the world forever.
The Order Revived
The Order Revived is a thrilling quest into the unknown inspired by the empowering story of Mulan. When your true calling is so clear, the only thing you can do is follow your heart.
About The Author: Sara Michaels
Sara lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two dogs. A lover of the written word from an early age, Sara reads everything from middle grade to young adult and adult novels. She loves genres ranging from science fiction and fantasy to contemporary and historical fiction, which is why she writes and plans to publish across several genres, including contemporary, romance, young adult fantasy, and science fiction.
When she’s not writing, you can find her playing video games, reading way too many books at the same time, singing to music, or riding her motorcycle around a beautiful Washington backdrop. She also writes for several online blogs and newspapers.