Actual conversation I had with my editor a few months ago:
Regardless of who you picture when the name “Hansel” comes to mind, I think you’re going to have a lot of fun with him in July! I loved the feedback I received about him when I was working with critique partners, and I especially love that he’s been a polarizing character. Many people will love and sympathize with him. If, for whatever reason, you decide that you can’t stand him–though I can’t imagine why anyone would ever decide that ;)–then that’s great, too! I’m not going to give too much of his role away because I want you to explore that yourself, but no matter how you feel about him throughout the book, you’ll be absolutely right.
To give you a small preview of how his mind works, here is a snapshot of the interview I conducted with Hansel!
Jacob: So, over the past few weeks, I’ve been interviewing characters who live in my world. Welcome, by the way! We’ve heard from Pino and Crescenzo over in Virginia, their goofy neighbor Pietro, and the mysterious girl in the red hood from New York City. They make up one branch of The Carver‘s narrative. The other branch starts with you, and it couldn’t be more of a stark contrast to what’s going on in the New World. Where are you when everything starts?
Hansel: I’m about to acquire a new home from a dear friend, but not without some second thoughts, of course. I’m not overly fond of houses in the woods.
Jacob: I wouldn’t be either if I were you! You’ve got history, my friend. By the way, you’re pretty famous in our world, you know. Everybody associates you with the story of the witch and the candy house, but that was just one day in your life. I want the readers to see more. Tell the readers about how your life has changed since then. What have you and Gretel been up to?
(Hansel goes quiet and stares at his knees for an abnormally long time, and it’s the saddest thing I’ve ever seen.)
Jacob: Hansel? You okay?
Hansel: We, uh … I do odd jobs here and there. Nothing memorable.
Jacob: I see. Great. What do you do for fun?
Hansel: Where I come from, it’s hard to grow bored. There are caverns to explore, marvels to gaze upon, and people to know! Although, you probably wouldn’t be surprised to know that I’m what you people call a “foodie”.
Jacob: We have that in common! Tell me more about some of those delicious Old World nomz. How’s the grub life?
Hansel: We keep it pretty simple. We love our breads. Meat… pork so tender it melts in your mouth. Cheese. But do you know where the best dining can be done?
Jacob: Let’s see, I would guess Midas’s Pub by the bell tower?
Hansel: If you wish to vomit! I jest. Midas’s Pub isn’t so bad. But no greater fare can be found than the meals prepared by Snow White.
Jacob: Ahh, Snow White! I should’ve known… enlighten me, Hansel!
Hansel: She makes this outstanding pumpkin soup, especially when I’m not feeling so well. She squeezes her own lemonade and brews wonderful teas. And her pies! Her apple pies! Darkness could devour the land, chum, and all one needs to feel right in the world is a piece of pie and a glass of milk. Snow White can do all of that and more.
Jacob: Hmm, I may have to pay her a visit soon. I’m feeling a little hungry! Anyway, it sounds like you and Snow White know each other pretty well. Am I right? What’s your relationship like? Are you friends, are you neighbors? What are you?
Hansel: We are but friends. I’ve never regarded her as anything more, despite her striking beauty and her fundamental goodness and the fact that we’ve known each other for years and she smells like cinnamon and sugar. I would trust Snow White with my life.
Jacob: She sounds awesome! That’s it, I’m inviting her onto my blog next week!
Hansel: She’s coming to see you? May I join her?
Jacob: I’m not sure that’s necessary. I like to get you all in private when I can. Just so we can get to the deep stuff! On that subject, I’d really like to know one more thing. If you had one wish, something you could ask from a birthday cake or a well or a magic lamp or whatever, what would you wish for?
Hansel: *strokes chin* That’s a rather daunting question. Might you elaborate? What would I wish for in this moment, or in my whole life?
Jacob: Either! I’ll go first to give you some time to think. At this very moment, I wish for an ice cold Dr. Pepper.
Hansel: Doctor Who?
Jacob: No, I haven’t watched that show yet. Oh, wait! Sorry, I keep forgetting you wouldn’t know about Dr. Pepper. I’ll have to treat you to a soda. I know this Arizona heat can’t be very pleasant for you.
Hansel: I cannot say it’s my favorite kind of weather. I prefer rain.
Jacob: Maybe that’s your wish?
Hansel: No. I wish for more time with my sister.
The interview didn’t end there, but at that point, he got a little emotional and out of respect for his privacy, I decided to give you the abridged version here. However, you’ll get to know him quite well when THE CARVER releases on July 19th!
I’m a sucker for a well-made apple turnover, so I think next week, let’s talk to the fairest in the land herself: Snow White!