Sunday, October 21, 2012

Fairy Tale Q&A with Cornelia Funke!

So, Cornelia Funke.  She has literally been my favorite author for years and years, ever since I read Inkheart.  That is why I'm so excited to announce that the first ever author Q & A on Alice in Baker Street is with the lovely, Cornelia Funke!

As all of you know, this semester I'm taking a class on Grimm's Fairy Tales. Last summer I read Reckless, the first of Cornelia Funke's new series inspired by fairy tales and since then I have been following the progress of her latest projects in the Mirrorworld, hearing all about her research into the fairy tales of Russia and Ukraine, of England and France, and I was just mesmerized by all she was discovering.

And so some weeks ago, I contacted Cornelia and was over the moon when she offered to answer any questions I might have about fairy tales!  So, here we go:

                      What was your favorite fairy tale as a child?  Is that still your favorite fairy tale?

I think it was The Six Swans, where a sister has to turn her cursed brothers from swans into human beings again. It is still one of my absolute favourites, but there are so many wonderful tales! :)

            Is there a volume of fairy tales on your bedside table? If yes, which one?

At the moment it is Cossack Fairy Tales and Russian Fairy Tales, as they are my research for Reckless Book 3.

What was the last fairy tale that made you really think, or moved you emotionally, or just impressed you in some way?

I read so many since I work on the Mirrorworld books, that I don’t really know which one to pick.  I loved The Fire Bird, a famous Russian Tale, but I also loved a French tale about the blacksmith of Pont de Pille. I used motives of it for Reckless 2.

      Are you currently reading a fairy tale? Which one?

Many many many, Jess. The list would fill pages!

      Why do you think similarly themed fairy tales have cropped up in all corners of the world?  What about fairy tales like Beauty and the Beast and Cinderella or Snow White or many others make it so universal that they are found all over the world in various forms?

I think they show that human beings have the same desires and fears all over the world. On the other hand I love the differences between the tales, as they tell so much about the various countries, cultures and how deeply rooted our tales are in landscapes and local history. They are travel guides to every country in the world.

      Do you have a favorite illustration of a fairy tale and/or a favorite illustrator who did illustrations for a fairy tales?

I very much love the Russian illustrators, like Spirin for example and then Harry Clarke and Edmund Dulac.

      Last one, I love the fact that you have your space in your writing house where you post images that inspire you! (It was so cool to see a video that was made where you showed bits of your inspiration wall, I love seeing that because it inspires me too!) Do you have any images there right now that are inspiring your writing of Fearless? 

The images for Fearless are already stored away in a few boxes. Now my walls are covered with images for Book 3, that brings Jacob and Fox to the Ukraine and Russia. One part of the wall is covered with images of all the characters I met so far in Book 1-3. Another part is all about the Goyl, showing sculptures of Auguste Rodin and Bernini to remind me how much alive stone can look.

Thanks so much to Cornelia for taking the time to answer my questions and allow all of you to hear her answers as well!!  

Look for Fearless, the next book in the fairy tale-inspired Mirrorworld series, coming out April 2, 2013!


  1. Thank you for posting this! I have not yet read any Cornelia Funke but feel I must now having read this. Especially as she writes with reference to fairy tales so much. Lovely interview!

    1. Thanks so much! I hope you're able to read her soon, I love Inkheart, and I am so excited to go back and reread Reckless with all of this new fairy tale knowledge I'm gaining :)

  2. I am ashamed to admit I haven't tried her work yet. I promise to change that with Baby Whimsy some day. We shall both delve into fairy tales together.

    Ooooooooooooo I see you are listening to Beasts of the Southern Wild. I can't wait for that review.

    1. Well I hope you enjoy it when you when you get to her work! It is truly wonderful :) And the audiobooks are extremely good, especially for Inkheart and Dragonrider (I haven't tried the audiobooks for her new Mirrorworld series but the sample sounded great!)

      I can't wait to see Beasts of the Southern Wild, so when I do see if I'm planning on posting a review :) But on the side bar there that's just the soundtrack, I don't think there's a book, is there?