August 15, 2014

Erika Johansen mentions Emma Watson as Kelsea in 'The Queen of the Tearling'

/!\Contains tiny spoilers after the part where she talks about Emma./!\

Debut author Erika Johansen has scored a seven-figure book deal and movie starring Emma Watson at her first attempt, writes Fiona Purdon

The story and its lead character, Kelsea Glynn, have captivated movie star Emma Watson and Harry Potter films’ producer David Heyman. Yet American author Erika Johansen says she was simply inspired to write about an idealistic and brave young woman whose royal duty is her priority.

The result is her debut novel, The Queen of the Tearling, the first in a fantasy trilogy.
It’s flattering and it means a lot that Emma liked the book and character (Kelsea). Emma is an incredibly intelligent person and I admire her personally. She was very good as Hermione in Harry Potter, but I admire the fact she went to college when she didn’t need to,’’ says Johansen, who scored the Hollywood movie deal last year before her novel was published.

There’s been a little bit of controversy because Kelsea is supposed to be plain, unlike Emma. But, for me, the most important quality is that she has to have intelligence and Emma Watson radiates intelligence.

Kelsea is a good role for an actor because there’s not nearly enough strong heroine roles in Hollywood, so I’m pleased not only a good actor but competent filmmakers are making the film.’’ 

[Talks about being inspired by Barack Obama on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, in 2007. I can't read clearly what's written, sorry]

The seed had been planted that would dictate how Johansen's lead character, Kelsea, would exercise power.

"I knew a character like Kelsea would not get anywhere in this current system of government (in the US). I needed to give her more executive power so she had the power to change the world."

The Queen of the Tearling starts with the bookish Kelsea, heir to the Tearling kingdom, about to embark on a journey to claim the throne after spending her childhood and teenage years in hiding with her foster parents, Carlin and Barty Glynn. The Glynns had educated her in history and government and trained her in the physical skills needed to defend herself.

Kelsea is escorted by the Queen’s Guard, led by Mace, and magical thief Fetch. Both Mace and Fetch believe Kelsea’s courage and brightness can lead the kingdom of Tearling away from the clutches of neighbouring country, Mortmesne, ruled by tyrannical Red Queen.

The Red Queen has supernatural powers that include mystical visions – and is dependent on human sacrifice.
“I wanted Kelsea to have a strong moral compass and not to be the sort of person who would betray her principles to make it easier for herself,’’ says Johansen of Kelsea, who also discovers she has magical powers that she must learn to master.

Johansen, 36, who lives just outside San Francisco, says she did not set out to create a fantasy novel. Instead, she had set about to write a “fun story’’ after completing her masters at an Iowa Writers Workshop in 2005, where she had focused on literary and academic-style writing.

“I came out of the workshop thinking I would never get published,’’ she says. “So I decided to write for myself and to tell a story I would enjoy reading.’’

It took Johansen four years to finish the first draft of The Queen of the Tearling. During that time she also completed a threeyear law degree and followed up with one year of casual office work when she was unable to find employment as an attorney.

“It was a pretty miserable period of my life,’’ she says.

The seven-figure, three-book publishing deal she signed in January last year has enabled Johansen to write fulltime. She has just finished the second book in the trilogy.

“I have to write every day otherwise I don’t sleep very well,’’ she says. “Now that I’m writing five to six hours a day I sleep like a baby. The biggest prize for me is to be able to write for a living. For me, the reader is everything. When readers come to me and say they couldn’t put the book down, then that is my yardstick that I’m a good writer.’’

Johansen might well find she has a new band of fans when the film version of book one hits the big screen starring Emma Watson, next year.

 Source: Australian Canvas newspaper
Just so you know, I'm only 70% sure I'll continue with Watsonuncensored. I'm not fully there yet.


Jonathan Andrew Sheen said...

First, Eden, let me say, "WAAAAAAHHHHH-HOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!" I'm so glad you're posting to this blog again!

I read The Queen of the Tearling a few months ago, and I enjoyed it very much. This is a wonderfully powerful, meaty role, and I can't wait to see Emma sink her teeth into it.

I hope it does indeed happen as soon as next year.

Eden said...

XD Thank you :)

I haven't finished the book yet, but from what I heard about it, I find it hard to believe it could be released next year. If she does play in La La Land, it starts shooting in February, she also has to shoot TQotT, and then there will probably be lots of editing, so a release for next year sounds very soon to me. I do hope they're right though :p