Episode 53: The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert
The Hazel Wood is the estate of the writer Althea Proserpine, author of one slight book of dark fairy tales, long out of print, almost impossible to find, but with a slavish, cultish following. It is a place Althea’s granddaughter, Alice, has heard about but never been, having spent her childhood on highways with her mother, moving from place to place, trying to escape some sensed but unseen danger, staying as far away from Althea and the Hazel Wood as possible. But when Alice’s mother is suddenly abducted, Alice knows that to find her she must uncover the secrets of the Hazel Wood, and, in so doing, come to terms with the question of what it means to be the author of her own story.
Oppenheimer talks with author Melissa Albert about the draw of YA literature ("it's the power of the new, the power of the now"), about what makes her want to write ("it's the same thing that makes me want to read: the draw to know what happens next"), and about Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, and (of all things) Little House on the Prairie.
Guest readers Brian Slattery and Tui Sutherland join Oppenheimer to discuss the draw of the Hinterland, doomed princesses, and girls who make decisions. Plus, they offer Melissa Albert multiple ideas for sequels.