Author Interview: The Tale Behind The Fairy Tale of Zumaro

Rodrigo of Lindsborg, Knight of the Opaque Kismet, is on a quest. When his squire spills the beans about a captive princess, nothing will keep him back from rescuing her… except not knowing which of three identical towers she’s immured in. Once Rodrigo finds that out, he still has to duel Sally Chocolatemuffins’ evil uncle, before he can ride off into the sunset followed by a cartload of all Sally’s… stuff.

It’s the classic story of a brave knight and a captive princess… but Sarah’s The Fairy Tale of Zumaro definitely has its own unique spin. What better way to find out what sets it apart than to ask the author?

First of all we have to know… where on earth did Zumaro come from and how are you supposed to pronounce it?

Zumaro the country, Zumaro the fairy land, and Zumaro the story, came from my brother – Josiah. He was half-jokingly giving me inspiration for my story. I can’t remember now where he got the word Zumaro from; but many of the characters’ names owe their origin to a little remote control he was playing with at the time. It was kind of odd, but we were just having fun, and later I went and wrote it all down. He edited it, and we both had a lot of fun. It rhymes with tomorrow.  

What was the first idea behind this story?

The first idea behind this story was an experiment: what would happen if you could make a hole all the way through the earth? Somehow it worked itself into what was, for me, a fascinating plot. In the end however, this was not included in the story.

How do you get from a hole through the earth to rescuing a princess from three towers?

Oh, hahaha. Well the plot was thickening, you see, and as complications arose, cousins arose also – Sally Chocolatemuffins. Then Rodrigo – well, he appeared on the scene and quite naturally, somehow, kind of took operations from there and the story ended up being more about him than anything else. He was a blast to write for sure.

What’s your favorite sentence from the story?

I think where Rodrigo begins to talk to the little girl in the second tower.

‘“I’m on a quest…”
A little girl of about seven met him. “Haywo.”’

Was there anything you thought would be fun to include in the story, but just didn’t fit for some reason?

Yes, there was a chase that was quite full of action and crazy things – like horses squealing to a stop in front of Dunkin Doughnuts.

This story was originally written for a writing prompt, right?  What was that prompt?

Yes, the story was written for a contest with a writing prompt, which was “a catastrophic event just happened – and your main character is right in the middle of it. No aliens allowed.” I followed it really well at first, but in the final edition the prompt got so obscured I completely forgot what it even was. Anyways, I may not have had any aliens in my original story, but I definitely had some really weird things!

Last question: what did you learn from this story that you’ve been able to use in your writing since?

I learned to let my imagination drive me. I also learned how many things can be added afterwards to enhance the writing. It doesn’t need to be perfect the first time. That fairy tale was such a blast to write, and I’m really thankful to my brother Josiah for making it a really fun experience. I believe I also learned something about coherence. Having him there to tweak what I wrote until it made sense, and do it in such a kind, helpful jolly fashion made it fun for me, and I felt at the end like I had found something.  

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