Every author has a story beyond the one that they put down on paper. The Barnes & Noble Podcast goes between the lines with today’s most interesting writers, exploring what inspires them, what confounds them, and what they were thinking when they wrote the books we’re talking about.
It’s been more than 200 years since the Grimm Brothers first defined the “fairy tale” as we now know it, but its atmosphere of enchantment, peril, hunger, desire and transformation still fascinates. In her bestselling debut novel The Hazel Wood, YA author Melissa Albert deploys humor, thriller-level excitement, and a head full of bewitching tales to fashion a coming-of-age story for the haunted teenager inside us all. She joins Bill Tipper on this episode to talk about her love of the uncanny and the strange adventure of 17-year-old Alice Proserpine.
Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the uncanny bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a cult-classic book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate, the Hazel Wood, Alice learns how bad her luck can really get: Her mother is stolen away—by a figure who claims to come from the Hinterland, the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother’s stories are set. Alice’s only lead is the message her mother left behind: “Stay away from the Hazel Wood.”
Alice has long steered clear of her grandmother’s cultish fans. But now she has no choice but to ally with classmate Ellery Finch, a Hinterland superfan who may have his own reasons for wanting to help her. To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother’s tales began—and where she might find out how her own story went so wrong.
Author photo of Melissa Albert (c) Laura Etheredge
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