Kiss the Girl: 7 Quick Questions With Zoraida Córdova
The author brings her unique magic to this lovely Little Mermaid reimagining.
Zoraida Córdova has been enchanting readers with her words for years. From her spellbinding stories like The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina to the epic scope of her Star Wars novels including A Crash of Fate and Convergence, Córdova is an author whose work I will immediately pick up anytime I see her name. That's why I was incredibly excited to learn that she was writing the third entry into the delightful Meant to Be series which reimagines classic Disney princess movies for modern audiences.
As anyone who watched the movie on VHS until the tape disintegrated will immediately know from the title that Kiss the Girl reimagines The Little Mermaid. No longer is Ariel a mermaid under the sea. Instead, Córdova puts her on stage as part of a famous family band. But after she tires of her father's controlling ways, Ariel ends up on tour with an up and coming band led by a mysterious and charming singer/songwriter, Eric. It's a truly lovely read from one of my fave authors, so I was very happy to get the chance to ask Córdova 7 Quick Questions about it here!
The Little Mermaid is such a nostalgic and formative film for so many of us. What's your earliest memory of watching it?
When I was three, my grandmother, who was living in New York City at the time, sent me a VHS of Disney’s The Little Mermaid to Ecuador. Since then, mermaids have captivated me. They’re romantic and mysterious.
How much fun was it to get the chance to reimagine such an iconic Disney Princess classic for a modern romance reading audience?
That’s funny, I never think of writing as fun. I did feel a great deal of pressure. Having written in properties like Star Wars and Marvel, I know how deeply readers and fans feel about certain characters. I do love my work, but I don’t enjoy it until I’m in the final phases when it really starts to look like a book. I am the type of writer that agonizes over every line and metaphor, so it becomes an obsession. With Ariel and Eric, they were effortless to write. I had to pull back from having just vibes, so I could give it a plot.
At what point in planning the story did you come up with the super fun twist of Ariel and her sisters being pop stars?
It was the first thing I thought of. When I heard of the series, I asked my agent to call so we could pitch.
What were some of your favorite Easter Eggs that you managed to fit in? — there are so many great ones!
Scuttle—or as he’s known in the book, Scott Tuttle, content creator and influencer.
I adored the relationship between Ariel and her sisters in this book, something we don't get much of in the film. Why was that so important to you?
Ariel and Eric both needed to be surrounded by community and family, and that looks different for many people. In the films, the sisters are there but with 90 minutes, you don’t get much time for character development. I didn’t want her to be truly alone while she goes out in the world, so she is in constant contact with them.
Once Ariel's on tour, the found family aspect of the book really shines. Why do you think those types of stories always appeal to readers?
Personally, there’s something really wonderful about having a family that you’ve chosen. Especially when the family you’re born into is complicated.
Is there a moment or page turn you're most excited about when readers pick up the book?
There are so many! But when Ariel and Eric meet, and spent their magical New York date together—that’s really my favorite set of scenes.
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