Author Spotlight: Page Morgan talks The Last Huntsman
I'm thrilled to welcome Page Morgan to today's blog! Page is a long-time friend, and one of my favorite authors ever. Her young adult gothic thrillers THE BEAUTIFUL AND THE CURSED, THE LOVELY AND THE LOST, and THE WONDROUS AND THE WICKED, have been critically acclaimed by Booklist, Publisher's Weekly, Kirkus, School Library Journal, VOYA, and The Bulletin. And her latest book, THE LAST HUNTSMAN, is a reimagining of the Huntsman and Magic Mirror from the tale of Snow White!
THE LAST HUNTSMAN is available now. Check out the synopsis below!
No women. No children. No torture. The Huntsman has his rules. For years, Tobin has done his emperor's bidding, eliminating threats to the Empire of Morvansk. But when he is ordered to kill the lovely Princess Mara, Tobin's absolute loyalty ends. The emperor's punishment is swift and lethal, and Tobin is left with only one desire: vengeance.
Stay quiet. Stay hidden. Stay free. These are the rules Ever lives by. Raised as a boy by her overprotective father, Ever has something the Morvansk emperor covets: mirror magic. With it, she can see anyone, anywhere, through the mirror's glass. The emperor stole her mother years ago for this same magic, and now, he wants Ever, too.
When Ever's mirror shows the wounded rebel huntsman approaching her village, she's compelled to help him. But as Tobin and Ever grow closer, and their secrets intertwine, they'll have to follow the rules they've always lived by--or break free from them, once and for all.
And now, here's my chat with Page!
Hi, Page! Welcome and congrats on The Last Huntsman. Can you tell us a little about the story and what inspired it?
Thank you, Megan! The Last Huntsman is a young adult fairytale retelling of the Huntsman and Magic Mirror from the story of Snow White. About ten years ago, my daughters were on a Snow White kick and watched the movie on repeat. I quickly got bored with Snow White and the dwarves—(seriously, Snow White’s voice is the worst!!)—but the Evil Queen intrigued me. When she realized that the huntsman tricked her by putting an animal heart in the box instead of Snow White’s, I started to wonder what she did to punish the huntsman for his disloyalty. I was trying to get to sleep that night when the huntsman’s voice came to me: “I should have killed her.” I raced to my computer and started typing. And the rest of the story flowed from there.
Ever and the Huntsman have such wonderfully distinct voices! How do you tackle the dual-POV structure when drafting? Do you tend to stick with one, or switch in order to write linearly?
I first started writing the book with only Tobin telling the story, but quickly developed a reimagining for the Magic Mirror, too. Tobin is educated and stealthy and adaptable, and Ever is rough around the edges (she’s been raised a boy and works in her father’s tavern) and uncertain about her place in the world. They definitely needed to tell their stories through their own lenses. I wrote the book linearly, but I would take a break from chapter to chapter in order to get into each character’s head. I’d re-read what I wrote for each character before and try to settle back into each of their worlds. It was a challenge at times!
What do you love best about writing (and reading) fairytale reimaginings?
I love how reimaginings can take an aspect from the original story and turn it into something entirely new and different from what is expected. A downplayed character or an iconic object (like the huntsman and the magic mirror) can get their own stories. The creative freedom that comes from the “What if” question is so much fun. Reimaginings breathe new life into the stories people already love.
As a long-time traditionally published author, The Last Huntsman is your first foray into independent publishing. What advice do you have for authors looking to go hybrid?
Yes, I’ve traditionally published 14 novels (YA, middle grade, and historical romance) so I guess you could call me a seasoned author! I feel like a total newbie with independent publishing, and while it’s overwhelming and a little scary at times, I’m glad I decided to go for it. The publishing landscape has changed drastically in the last ten years (my first novel released in 2010), and for a little while now I’ve been watching many traditional authors successfully diversify their careers with indie publishing. My advice to anyone considering going hybrid is to choose a project that you love, one you can be passionate about, and one you’re willing to experiment with. If you’re like me, you’ll take a lot of time planning the different steps of self-publishing and all it entails. Reach out to other hybrid authors. I already have a few more indie projects in the pipeline because longevity and building a backlist is so important to finding success.
What are you reading, watching, or otherwise currently infatuated with?
I have been a horrible slug when it comes to my TBR pile and Netflix queue this summer! I’ve been training for my first marathon (just a few more weeks left!) so I’ve been going to bed super early each night so I can wake up early for my runs. Night is usually my book and Netflix time! Once the marathon is over, I plan to dig into the Witcher series by Andrzej Sapkowski and check out the new show Carnival Row with Orlando Bloom and Cara Delevingne!
I'm a firm believer in the idea that every story teaches the writer something new, so what did writing The Last Huntsman teach you?
I completely agree. I think with each book, we grow and develop as writers, working out the kinks in our craft hang-ups. I wrote and revised The Last Huntsman multiple times over the last nine years, and every time I opened the file to tinker with it, I brought something new with me as a writer. Writing The Last Huntsman over such a long span of time taught me that it was okay to let go of the things I was clinging to in previous drafts. In other words: Stand aside and let the story grow the way it wants to.
Many thanks go out to Page for taking the time to tell us more about how THE LAST HUNTSMAN came to be, as well as giving us tips on tackling POV, and sharing her first-ever experience with indie publishing. Be to sure to add this rich and imaginative YA fantasy to your Goodreads list, or (better yet!) order your copy (WRITE) NOW from retail sites like Amazon, and Barnes & Noble, or request it at your library, or local independent bookstore!
And, as always,