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Conceal, Don’t Feel: Interview with Jen Calonita

Who is your favorite character from your stories and why?

In Mirror, Mirror, I’d have to say the Evil Queen. I have always been fascinated with villains and learning what makes one become wicked. Were they born that way or was wickedness thrust upon them? In Conceal, Don’t Feel, I surprised myself when I realized Elsa was my new favorite character. I’ve always adored Anna, but writing Elsa gave me a new appreciation for everything she goes through. 

What resources beyond Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Frozen do you look to for inspiration for your Twisted Tales?

I love to talk to fellow fans—big and small! My friend Kristen inspired a scene with krumkaker cookies in Conceal, Don’t Feel. She even got me the recipe and I wound up naming a character in the book Temale after her grandmother. And my friend Joanie’s kindergartener, Scarlett, was the best when it came to getting quick answers about all things Frozen. I’d call their house constantly and ask to speak to Scarlett when I was writing. Sometimes I’d say, “Do you think Olaf would say this or this?” For Snow White, I talked to my mom a lot. She always loved the movie so she was fun to bounce ideas off. I dedicated Mirror, Mirror to her because at age six, she insisted I go on Snow White’s Scary Adventure ride at Walt Disney World even though I was terrified of the Evil Queen. I like to say that move paid off years later with this book!

What challenges did you face writing your books?

I think each book brings its own set of challenges. For Conceal, Don’t Feel, it was finding a way for Elsa and Anna to be connected even when they’re apart, and in Mirror, Mirror, it was creating a backstory for the Evil Queen. I say challenges, but the truth is, I loved trying to figure out these puzzles! 

What have been your favorite parts of writing Mirror, Mirror and Conceal, Don’t Feel?

Getting to see the finished books! Seeing that Disney logo on something I had a hand in writing truly is a Disney dream come true. I feel so proud and fortunate to be part of the Disney family. 

Can you share with us if you have more Twisted Tales in the works that we can keep an eye out for?

Hopefully with a little bit of Disney magic, I’ll be able to answer that question for you very soon! But I can tell you about my middle grade Disney series, Mischief Makers, which will debut next year. The first book in the series will be an origin story for Flynn Rider.   

What do you ultimately hope readers get out of Mirror, Mirror and Conceal, Don’t Feel?

I hope they find a new way to love their favorite characters and enjoy these twists on their favorite tales!

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