Friday, November 18, 2016

Fairytale Anthology Interview with Author Matthew Dewar

I'm so excited to share this! My writer's group has been hard at work to put together an anthology of fairytale retellings: From the Stories of Old.

Today I'll be interviewing one of the authors, Matthew Dewar, on his story The Female Warrior: a retelling of the ballad of Mulan.

Kristen - For your story in the anthology, you choose the Ballad of Mulan. Did it make writing your story easier or harder having a ballad to work from?

Matt - At first I almost chose something else to base my retelling on, because the Ballad seemed confusing and quite the challenge as it was relatively sparse on details, but the more I read it, the more I realised that it was perfect. The lack of specific details gave me a huge amount of freedom in my retelling.

Kristen - That addresses exactly what went through my mind. I was trying to decide if lack of details would make it difficult, or give you more freedom. I love that you saw the freedom it gave you and ran with it.

So what made you choose Mulan and what inspired the creation?

Matt - Mulan is inspirational in that she doesn’t rely on anyone to help her. She perseveres, and it is that strength of character that saves the day. I wanted my story to be inspirational in some way to the reader and show them that no matter the odds, there is always a chance at success. I took Mulan’s character and plonked her in the future where the world has been corrupted by greed. She handled herself quite well if you ask me!

Kristen - That she did! As you know, I had the privilege of getting a peek at an early draft and I was impressed even then(with Mulan and you!).

Can you share an excerpt from your story?

Matt - “Despite all the deaths, and all I have done, when I die, nothing will change if I can’t do something right now. Bundling up all my energy, I launch myself between the two men.”

Kristen - Love that line! And leading right up to a conflict which I guess we'll have to read the anthology to hear how that goes!

If you were to participate in a later volume, what story do you think you’d tell?

Matt - Good question! I would love to contribute again in the future and I have a few ideas bouncing around. One idea I have is for a retelling of The Elves and The Shoemaker that I think would work quite nicely. 

Kristen - For some random questions! You live in Australia and we’ve talked a few times about the wildlife there. Is there anything in Australia that WON’T kill you? Have you ever had any scary encounters?

Matt - Probably the only thing in Australia that won’t kill you is the koala bear, as long as you keep an eye out for their nasty cousins – the drop bears! 

My Dad and I were fishing on a boat once and we weren’t catching anything. I was bored and hot so I decided to jump in the water for a swim. Just before I was about to jump in, I saw this huge shadow swim up to the boat and it looked like a dolphin. The closer it swam, the more I realised it was a shark, not a dolphin. If I had have jumped in a few seconds earlier, who knows what might have happened.

Kristen - Oh gosh LOL. I think I would've been terrified at the thought of what almost happened. I can see the shark, swimming along, minding his own business, and then out of nowhere this human lands on his head. The shark's already been having a bad day, he had a fight with his best friend, you see, and this . . . this is the last straw.

Last question. You recently traveled to Canada, what was your favorite part of that trip and do you have any pictures you’d like to share?

Matt - I saw killer whales in their natural habitat and hiked up a few mountains. I won a snowball fight and spent the day at Disneyland with a fellow writer and friend, Katelyn Barbee, who is also featured in this anthology. The highlight of my trip was watching the Vancouver Canucks take on the Arizona Coyotes in ice hockey. I love ice hockey and I wish Australian winters were cold enough to play! 

Here is a picture I took from the top of Banff Mountain. Imagine waking up to that view every day!

Kristen - You say you wish they were colder, but I seem to remember you talking about being freezing in your nice balmy weather and bundled up in layer about layers. :D I don't think you could handle ice and snow like Canada!

Thank you for stopping by, Matt. My mom bought me a copy of the anthology for Christmas and I loved it!

From the Stories of Old is available on Amazon(Kindle or paperback).

Matthew lives in Perth, Australia, where he works as a physiotherapist and group fitness instructor. He enjoys taking his dog for walks, and making the most of the Australian sunshine and beaches.

Follow Matt on Twitter!

If you're interested in following the blog tour check out the previous stops by the other authors!

Julian Elliot on his retelling of Urashima Taro
Allie May on her retelling of Sleeping Beauty
J.L. Bernard on his retelling of The Little Mermaid


  1. What a great interview! I was laughing at the shark--good thing you hesitated those few seconds, Matt. XD

    Also, I googled drop bears. :P

    I'm so happy your story is in the anthology; can't wait to show it to my mom because Mulan is her favorite! :)

  2. Great interview--very fun. Having gotten to preview "The Female Warrior" in a nascent stage, I can vouch for the fact that it's excellent.

    So, my question is: had you jumped on the shark, would it have panicked and thought you were a drop bear?

  3. Great interview, and I love the photo of Canada too!