Long and Short Reviews welcomes Chloe Jacobs, whose YA debut, Greta and the Goblin King, has been released. It's a dark fantasy with a fairy tale twist. Chloe has written many other books, some of them published for adult readers under a different name, but Greta and the Goblin King is her favorite so far.
"I think of it as Hansel and Gretel meets Alice in Wonderland, meets Labyrinth, the Lost Boys, and with a kick-butt heroine who hides a soft heart," Chloe told me.
When it was a work in progress, Chloe needed a name, because calling it "that fantasy book" sounded pretty lame to her. She started calling it "Greta."
"Then the Goblin King's character was like 'Hey, what about me? Am I not an important part of this book too, or what?'," she explained, "so I had to call it Greta and the Goblin King, and it kind of stuck."
She's currently working on Book 2 in the series—which is still without a title. She told me that she was sure it would come to her which she was in the shower or something.
Chloe's been surprised to find that she can't get enough of Greta's world.
"I really want to keep writing books in Mylena," she said. "I didn’t plan it or anything, but the world that I built for her is so rich and interesting that I find myself discovering new corners of it every time I sit down at the computer."
In Chloe's writing, descriptions of her characters usually start with something about their personality. I asked her to explain this.
"For example, Greta is impatient, and it shows in the flash of her green eyes, or the way she tilts her hip. And the Goblin King is STUBBORN AS HELL, which becomes obvious whenever he gives Greta that particular look."
"What is your work schedule like when you are writing?" I asked.
"I write every day. Sometimes for only an hour, sometimes it takes me all day. But I keep going until I’ve reached my word goal for the day. This goal varies depending on my deadline, but since I work a day job too, the word goal has to be manageable so I try for 1500 to 2000 words on a weekday, and sometimes more on weekends (although I try to keep weekends for the family)."
When she's not writing or at her day job, one of Chloe's hobbies is working with stained glass. Right now she's trying to find time to make some Christmas ornaments for friends,family, and possibly even readers.
Even though she's written several books, Chloe didn't actually grow up wanting to be an author. She always wanted to be a ballerina, but then discovered she couldn't dance. After that, she thought it would be cool to be a cop, but she doesn't like guns—so that career was out. She figured out that maybe she could write code to make video games, because she loves playing them. However, she found out she doesn't understand that language at all.
"So I think I’ll stick with writer," she told me, "unless the job of exclusive tropical resort tester comes available. If I got paid to travel to tropical resorts all over the world and report back about how great they are, I’d jump at that job."
For fun, I asked Chloe, "If you were stranded on a desert island and were only allowed to have five modern conveniences with you, what would they be?"
"Is this island going to be swarmed by zombies when the sun goes down? That might affect what I bring. But seriously, I would need toilet paper. First and foremost. I’m a diva, yes. I refuse to use a leaf (especially when I know nothing about botany and that leaf could be poison oak. I’d never know it). Then I’d need a sleeping bag because I don’t want anything…ANYTHING … crawling on me during the night. I would need an axe to cut down trees (and those zombies), a bottle of rum and a great book!"
Finally, I asked, "What advice would you give a new writer just starting out?"
"I would tell a new writer just starting out to enjoy the journey. I know that we all look ahead to that ultimate goal—publication—and dream of it even before the first chapter of our first book has been written. But seriously, enjoy the process. Learn your craft, take pleasure in all of it because if you don’t enjoy it, you may ultimately finish writing the book and it could even get published…but then what? You have to start another book. And then another. A career writing all those books is going to get stagnant pretty fast if you don’t LOVE what you’re doing, and readers will be able to tell that your heart isn’t in it."
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While trying to save her brother four years ago, Greta was thrown into the witch’s fire herself, falling through a portal to a dangerous world where humans are the enemy, and every ogre, goblin, and ghoul has a dark side that comes out with the full moon.
To survive, seventeen-year-old Greta has hidden her humanity and taken the job of bounty hunter—and she’s good at what she does. So good, she’s caught the attention of Mylena’s young Goblin King, the darkly enticing Isaac, who invades her dreams and undermines her determination to escape.
But Greta’s not the only one looking to get out of Mylena. The full moon is mere days away, and an ancient evil knows she’s the key to opening the portal. If Greta fails, she and the lost boys of Mylena will die. If she succeeds, no world will be safe from what follows her back…