cw: Eileen, could you give a sketch of the intent behind The Snow Queen? Who do you hope to reach, and what would you like them to get from the novel?
ek: Well, naturally one intent is entertainment--I'd like to think I've written a page-turner. But as well, I wanted to celebrate a classic of fantasy literature with uniquely independent female characters. In this post-feminist age we still need adventure stories for girls. The Victorian period, remarkably enough, was the heyday of the woman traveller -- all those intrepid ladies with the courage and stamina -- and the financial means -- to set off on journeys of exploration to the most dangerous corners of the world. It's fun to speculate on what might happen to the characters after a story ends -- and I decided that what the future should hold for Gerda was not marriage to Kai, but a life of travel and adventure. So I made some changes to Andersen's conventional mid- Victorian ending. Reworking the story also gave me the chance to expand the role of the Little Robber Maiden, who has always been my favourite fairy tale character. As to who I hope to reach, my answer is to readers of all ages.