I recently had the opportunity to interview E.D. Baker, author of Wings and of the Frog Princess series. The Frog Princess was picked up by Disney and used for the movie The Princess and the Frog, which comes out this December.
In The Frog Princess, the classic cure for Eadric, the frog prince goes a bit awry. Princess Emma kisses him, and instead of finding a prince, she finds herself a frog. I could see this turning dark – it’s a dangerous life as a frog – but you went for a wonderfully funny adventure. Was that ever a conscious decision? Or more of a reflection on your natural voice?
I prefer writing funny stories rather than dark. I’ve always thought that it’s harder to write something that amuses people, considering how subjective “funny” can be, and I’m thrilled when readers tell me that my books are funny.
One of the things I like about the Frog Princess series is how clean it is. Everyone can enjoy the books without worrying about content issues. I heard about your books from my mother-in-law and recommended your books to a 10-year-old. Who do you think of as your target audience?
I’ve been told that my books are for ages eight and up, but the youngest reader who has written to me was six years old and I continually hear from teens and adults, including college students, parents and grandparents.
Counting Dragon Kiss, which comes out this month, you’ve got eight published books, one of which has been adapted into a movie. How did you go from unpublished writer to multi-published, author with Disney’s attention?
I received many rejection letters before Bloomsbury accepted my first book, The Frog Princess. Disney began the optioning procedure shortly after The Frog Princess came out, then renewed their option several times until they finally exercised the option and made their own version of the story. In the meantime, I had continued the series as well as written some unrelated books.
Wings, a half-fae, half-goblin, love adventure, begins a whole new trilogy. Any updates on the Wings front?
I am currently writing the eighth book in tales of the Frog Princess. When it is finished, I intend to start the sequel to Wings.
It seems like you have a new book out every year. What’s the big picture writing cycle like for you?
I am trying to write two books a year, but I’m not sure how long that will last. Writing the Frog Princess books is relatively easy for me now, because I know the world and the characters so well. Writing unrelated stories is harder because I have to create the world and the characters, then get to know the characters well enough that I know how they will act in a given situation. I generally know what the next five books will be and think about them for a few years before I actually begin writing them. Occasionally I switch around the order in which I write them, either because of fan demand or my publisher’s interest.
Now a couple quickies: Which of your characters is your favorite?
In the tales of the Frog Princess, I’d have to say Emma, Shelton and Li’l, although I had a lot of fun writing about the trolls and the water monsters living in the troll mountain in No Place For Magic. I also really like Lamia Lou in Wings.
I’ve written a book that is unrelated to any other and is due out next summer. I have just sent off my latest round of revisions and I have to say, this book may well be my best story yet. The main character, Annie, is another of my favorites.
What are you reading right now?
I like to read nonfiction when I’m working on a book. I get some of my best ideas from books on mythology, plants, and the Middle Ages, as well as British and European royalty throughout history. My daughters give me romances to read, which is probably why so much romance comes out in my stories. I just finished a book on weird plants, which you’ll see evidence of in the Frog Princess book I am working on now.
* If you have a question not here, you’ll likely find it on E.D. Baker’s FAQ page of her website or on her blog. Check it out!
Original interview published on Old People Writing for Teens by GotYa contributor Holen Matthews. To view the original post and reader comments, please click here.