Fiction Focus: 10 questions with Cindy C. Bennett, author of ‘Rapunzel Untangled’

“Fans of fairytale remixes won’t be disappointed while untangling, as it were, this imaginative story,” wrote USA Today reviewer Serena Chase of Cindy C. Bennett’s “Rapunzel Untangled.”

The book was published on Cedar Fort’s Sweetwater Books imprint (www.facebook.com/sweet.H2O.books) and was released on Feb. 12, 2013. You can buy “Rapunzel Untangled” on Amazon.com, andBarnesAndNoble.comand in book stores.

We’re grateful to Bennett for taking a few minutes to sit in our Fiction Focus hot seat.

In 75 words or less, what is “Rapunzel Untangled” about?

A girl trapped in a mansion. A mysterious old woman. The boy who will change everything. “Rapunzel Untangled” is a modern day Rapunzel retelling with unexpected twists and turns. Rapunzel, kidnapped as a baby by the unhinged Gothel, meets Fane via Facebook, and discovers that her life and world aren’t what she’s been raised to believe””that she isn’t even who she’s always believed.

After the success of “Geek Girl,” why a fairy tale retelling?

I love fairytales””always have. I’d been playing with the idea of fairytale retellings for a while, and had already made up my mind to do a series of short stories based on fairytales. When Sweetwater offered me the chance to write a full length novel based on the fairytale of my choice, I jumped at the chance.

What is your current work in progress?

I’m just finishing the last of the short story fairytale retellings for my “Enchanted Fairytales” series, as well as a collaboration I’m writing with two other authors. Once I finish those I plan to begin the sequel to “Immortal Mine.”

All of our Q&A hot seat guests get this one. Who would you want to play the main characters in “Rapunzel Untangled: The Movie”?

Rapunzel, being the main character, is probably the most important. I can picture a few different actresses playing her: Saoirse Ronin, Dakota Fanning, Dianna Agron. Probably my top pick would be a blonde Emma Watson. She has that fragile and yet tough look about her that I imagine in Rapunzel.

Fane would be nearly as important because he’s the reason Rapunzel first reaches out beyond her tower. Alex Pettyfer and Zac Efron would be great, but my top pick would be Matthew Lewis. Yup, Neville Longbottom outgrew that gawkiness to become quite the cutie (although as a fan of geeks, I kinda liked the awkward version of him). The thing is, he can play both goofy and serious, which is needed for Fane, and he’s tall, another requirement. Besides, who wouldn’t want to see Hermione and Neville kiss?

Gothel would be the last main character who’s important to the story. I have to admit that as I wrote her I imagined the amazing Angelica Huston as Gothel. No one plays controlled insanity like she can.

What is Cindy Bennett’s writing routine like?

I try to write daily. I usually market during the day, and begin my actual writing at night around 9 or 10 pm, and write until between 3 and 6 a.m. depending on how long I can stay awake.

Which authors have had the biggest influence on your writing style?

I honestly don’t think my writing style has been influenced by any specific authors. Obviously there are other (better) YA contemporary authors, but I can’t say any of them have a style I particularly emulate.

What do you like least about the writing/publishing process?

That’s a tossup between editing and marketing. Editing because it’s so monotonous, and I’m completely sick of reading my manuscript by the time I’m finished. Marketing because it takes away from the time I could be writing.

Favorite music groups/artists?

I don’t have any particular musicians that I go crazy for. I like almost all music. If I had to pick one, it’d probably be Def Leppard because they are the music of my teen years. I always attend if they come in concert near my home. I listen to them quite a bit when I’m riding my Harley.

What is the happiest writing has ever made you?

At an Authorpalooza, a teen reader told me that prior to reading “Geek Girl,” she disliked reading, but that since reading it she loves reading and can’t get enough. How awesome a compliment that is to an author, to be the reason someone discovered a love of reading.

What advice would you offer to aspiring novelists?

Write all of the time, every day. You don’t have to finish a novel right away as long as you’re constantly writing. Learn the mechanics of writing: spelling, grammar, punctuation, etc., but don’t get so caught up in the mechanics of writing that you lose your unique author voice.