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Q and A with author Joanna Ruth Meyer

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Echo North

Do you love fairytales?

Suited for both adults and young adults, this beautiful story will sweep you away into a world of combined fairytales with a courageous and relatable heroine. 

This is one of our top favourite books of the year and if you are a Beauty and the Beast fan what are you waiting for? Pick this book up now!

What fairytale is ECHO a retelling of?

Primarily, ECHO NORTH retells the Norwegian fairytale “East of the Sun And West of the Moon”, with lots of crossover between its cousin stories, “Beauty and the Beast” and the myth of Cupid Psyche. I’ve also borrowed a large element from the Scottish ballad “Tam Lin.” 

Where is ECHO set?

ECHO is set in a pseudo 19th-century Siberia—I knew I wanted it to take place somewhere cold, and Siberia was the coldest place I could think of. I drew a lot of inspiration for the landscapes in ECHO from real places, including Lake Baikal, the model for the frozen lake that Echo journeys across.

Where did the idea come from?

The first spark of the idea for ECHO actually came from a dream I had about a girl riding a reindeer across a snowy landscape being chased by wolves. When I sat down to brainstorm it, I realised it wanted to be a retelling of “East of the Sun”. I attempted to write it as a 10K word short story for a contest, but when that didn’t work, I drafted the novel version for National Novel Writing Month in 2014. The final draft of ECHO is 89K words, so attempting to keep it under 10K was reaaalllly ambitious. :D

What do you hope readers will take away from the book?

That there is power in love and forgiveness, that we shouldn’t let others’ perceptions of us define who we are, that we don’t have to adhere to the nebulous concept of “beauty” to be the heroines of our own stories.

Can you tell me a little bit about your other books?

BENEATH THE HAUNTING SEA and BEYOND THE SHADOWED EARTH are companion novels set in the same world. SEA follows Talia, who slowly comes to accept the ancient myths are true, and goes on an impossible journey to save her mother from a malicious sea goddess. EARTH follows Eda, who, betrayed by gods and men alike, goes on a revenge quest to kill the god Tuer, with whom she made an ill-fated bargain as a child.

INTO THE HEARTLESS WOOD, which is out next January, is a gender swapped Beauty and the Beast meets dark Little Mermaid in the forest, and is about a boy astronomer and a ruthless tree siren who wants to be human.

Do you have any plans on returning to the world of ECHO NORTH?

Yes! I am currently writing a companion novel, WIND DAUGHTER, which follows Satu, daughter of the North Wind, as she sets out to save her parents, defeat the Winter Lord, and reclaim her father’s lost power. It takes place after ECHO, and familiar characters will appear! WIND DAUGHTER is slated for release in 2022.

Thank you so much for this amazing interview Joanna!

Visit Joanna's website HERE.

You can purchase her book HERE

Joana Ruth Meyer


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