Author: Chantal Gadoury
Narrator: Anne Marie Lewis
Length: 10 hours 22 minutes
Publisher: The Parliament House
Released: Dec. 31, 2019
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
This Christmas Eve, no creature was stirring, except, maybe, a mouse. At long last, can true love break the Nutcracker’s curse?
For Clara Stahlbaum, this Christmas means the end of her youth. A daughter of the aristocracy, Clara is expected to give up her dreams of adventures and the extraordinary for more normal days as the wife of a cruel viscount.
But when magical Uncle Drosselmeyer returns with his wondrous, dancing contraptions and one special gift for Clara, she is beckoned to the land of Winter Dream, where she is thrust into the greatest adventure of her wildest dreams.
But will she be able to break the Nutcracker’s curse? Uncle Drosselmeyer’s apprentice Anton is handsome as he is mysterious. But what is it about him Clara finds so alluring?
Winter Dream is a phenomenal retelling of The Nutcracker from the eyes of Clara Stahlbaum with all the magic of the Holiday season. If you loved S. Jae-Jones’ Wintersong, you’ll fall in love with this stunning tale of love, war, redemption, and Christmas magic. Listen to it now!
Amazon Bestselling Author, Chantal Gadoury, is a 2011 graduate from Susquehanna University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing. Since graduation, she has published The Songs in Our Hearts, and The Songs We Remember, with 48Fourteen Publishing. Allerleirauh, Between the Sea and Stars, Blinding Night and WinterDream with the Parliament House Press. Chantal first started writing stories at the age of seven and continues with that love of writing today. For Chantal, writing novels has become a lifelong dream come true! When she’s not typing away at her next project, she enjoys painting, drinking lots of Iced Coffee, and watching Disney Classics. Chantal lives in Muncy, Pennsylvania with her Mom, sister and furry-‘brother’ Taran.
Singer and actor Anne Marie Lewis has enjoyed a richly varied and long career in the performing arts. She has performed across the globe from Carnegie Hall to Boise to Little Rock to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula as well as in Canada, England and Scotland. Chicago area credits: My Fair Lady, Peter Pan, Into the Woods (Music Theater Works); 1776 (Porchlight Music Theater); Midnight Cowboy (Lifeline Theatre); Northanger Abbey, The Skin of Our Teeth (Remy Bumppo); Love, Loss and What I Wore (Oil Lamp Theater); bare (RefugeTheatre Project); Graveyard of Empires (16th Street Theater); Jake’s Women (Spartan Theatre); The Scullery Maid (Idle Muse Theatre); Moon Over Buffalo (Jedlicka Performing Arts Center); The Diary of Anne Frank (Metropolis Performing Arts Center); The Merry Wives of Windsor (Fury Theatre); Fancy Nancy, Elephant and Piggie (Northbrook Theater); Little Red Riding Hood, Camp Wonderland (Theatre at the Center), Don Giovanni, Shining Brow (Chicago Opera Theatre); Pride and Prejudice, The Sound of Music, Hansel and Gretel, Persuasion, Cosi fan tutte (Chamber Opera Chicago); Gianni Schicchi (DuPage Opera); La boheme, Die Fledermaus, Don Pasquale, Don Giovanni, Carmen (Opera Studio Highland Park). Regional credits: Die Fledermaus, Le nozze di Figaro (Pine Mountain Music Festival), Little Women (Lyric Opera Cleveland), La boheme (Quad Cities Opera, Arkansas Symphony, Battle Creek Symphony); Mozart Requiem, Schubert Mass in G (Carnegie Hall). International credits: Persuasion (Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Camden Fringe Festival, Buxton Fringe Festival, Victoria, BC). Anne Marie, a Pittsburgh native, is a proud graduate of the University of Notre Dame and Northwestern University. She maintains a private voice studio and has recently entered the wonderful world of audiobook narration and production, with fifteen titles to her credit.
Music is such an important piece of my writing. I’ve always been the sort of person who thrives off of the music they listen to, in any given situation. Road Trip? I have a playlist for that. A love letter? You betcha, I have a CD Mix I want you to listen to. Writing a novel, let me share with you my spotify playlist I’ve specifically designed for it!
And that goes with all of my novels, ranging from “Blinding Night,” [A Hades and Persephone Retelling] to “The Songs in Our Hearts,” [A Contemporary High School Romance.] “WinterDream” was no exception.
Take a listen to my “WinterDream” Playlist that I listened to as I wrote. This playlist is mostly all classical/score music – as I avoid listening to music with words when writing. When I write, scenes almost unfold in my mind like a movie; so added dialogue can at times, kill the situation.
I think of this almost like it’s “Clara’s song.” This is your introduction to who Clara is instrumentally.
Miniature Overture: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Us6YGiWbsbw
Of course, the traditional opening to “The Nutcracker.”
La Fayette’s Welcome: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3nVL7W5t2-c
The party at the Stahlbaum’s House
Selbourne Wood: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1TFLDc8yxSg
This always reminded me of the time of the Nutcracker and Clara wandering in the wintry woods.
The Dance: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hY7GQydpjrE
The Ballroom scene when Clara and the Nutcracker dance together – however brief.
Pas de Deux: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AI7rod5ue5E
Again – the Ballroom scene, but with the music that truly inspired WinterDream
This takes a different tone to the novel – when some unfortunate things happen to a few of our characters!
And the battle for WinterDream begins!
Dance of the Knights: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bBsKplb2E6Q
The Nutcracker and the Mouse King are fighting each other at the end – and who will win?
Final Waltz and Apotheosis: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gVwPLr5dRyE
Was it all a Dream?
I also have a playlist of more “Various Artists” that seemed to fit in with what “WinterDream” was to me. Take a listen! https://open.spotify.com/playlist/0M4SwfHaWMTnc4Ew00ifCa?si=2hvsxo-8QN-UtylC6yTMpQ
by Chantal Gadoury
When writing “WinterDream,” – a retelling of the Nutcracker, there were a lot of things that inspired me to create the world and the characters! I’ll give you a glimpse into what helped bring “WinterDream” to life!
- The Nutcracker Ballet: Of course when writing about the Nutcracker, one would be inspired by the ballet, first commissioned in 1891. It’s been a part of our holiday traditions for decades, and it’s a story that many of us have heard, know, and love. Without the story of Clara (or Marie) and her Nutcracker, “WinterDream” never would have existed!
- The Nutcracker Music: I remember as a little girl, I used to dance around my living room as I listened to “The Nutcracker” ballet. There was something always so whimsical and magical about the music, and the love for the classical score traveled with me as I grew older. The song that speaks to me the most, and what started the idea of “WinterDream” was actually: The Nutcracker, Op. 71, Act 2: No. 14 Pas de Deux. When you hear this song, you’re hearing the entire novel in about 5 minutes.
- The Nutcracker in the Movies: I might be dating myself a little, but back in 1990 there was an Animated feature of this holiday tale, entitled – “The Nutcracker Prince.” As a child, I remember seeing it on the Disney channel, and I fell in love with the Prince, with Clara – and their magical dancing scene. It remained in my memory for years – and was one of the stemming pieces in which inspired “WinterDream,” – and all the characters, including Uncle Drosselmeyer and the Mouse King. In 1993, Warner Brothers released a version of George Balanchine’s “The Nutcracker,” famously starring Macaulay Culkin. (And I remember eating that movie up!) In doing my research for this book, I watched several versions of the ballet, and there are so many to choose from!
- Christmas at home: You can’t have “The Nutcracker” without the magic of the holiday. It’s true that the Nutcracker is centered around the holiday of Christmas – because without “Christmas Magic,” the wooden toy wouldn’t come to life! I actually started writing “WinterDream” right in front of my Christmas tree. There’s just something about being at home, during Christmas, with a tree and lights and feeling the love. All of that and more helped to fuel what I imagined for Clara and her family during the opening scene at her family’s party!
- Queen Victoria and Albert: It’s no secret I’m a sucker for romance. I’d just started watching “Queen Victoria” on the BBC, and really loved the romance between Queen Victoria and Prince Albert (which also led me to watch “The Young Victoria” over and over again. As I watched, I wanted to sort of capture this royal romance in Clara and the Nutcracker. I’m not sure if I did that entirely, but – they did stand as an influence in the way I wrote the two characters together.
- Beauty and the Beast: Every fairytale has some sort of twist to it, to make it all the more interesting. Cinderella has to leave the ball by midnight. Rapunzel must keep her Prince a secret from the witch. Snow White must be kissed by her True Love in order to awaken. For the Nutcracker, in “WinterDream,” I needed there to be a spell – something to free him from his wooden bonds, and to give Clara a reason to be sent to WinterDream, and to fight for what she loved. Beauty and the Beast and the spell that Beast is placed under played a role in the way I viewed the Nutcracker – and a little of the struggles that he faced. He might not have been a fury beast, but he did have his own obstacles he had to face as a wooden soldier.
- Mrs. Weasley: Mother Ginger was entirely based on the movie version of “Mrs. Weasley” from Harry Potter. I loved her spunk and her whit – but her kindness, and her willingness to place food in front of someone and make them feel at home. She just makes you want to stay forever, and bake in her kitchen.
- The Princess Bride: The Nutcracker has these lines of dialogue that are very resonant of “The Princess Bride” – more important, Wesley. As he’s fighting against the Mouse King with a sword, he’s throwing out insults that are just as whity and beloved as the ones we hear in the classic ‘80s movie. I think anyone who reads this, is definitely going to get some Wesley vibes.
- War and Peace (2016 Miniseries): I love anything that I can find on the BBC if it has to do with historical drama, and romance. And I was so intrigued by the idea of a miniseries of “War and Peace,” (starring one of my favorite actresses, Lily James.) After having seen the show, and listened to the score, I felt as though I was able to see an older side to St. Petersberg, and how society of the past had been. Having already been familiar with the story of the Romanovs (and having watched a ton on the family and the history) – along with classic movies like Doctor Zhivago, I knew I wanted to give a nod to the Russian Ballet origins. Traditionally, The Nutcracker is a German tale – but began as a Russian Ballet. I felt it only right to bring Clara and her Nutcracker to Russia – and used influence from War and Peace to make it happen!
- Girl Power: It might seem a little cliche to say, but girl power was something I really wanted to bring to “WinterDream.” We all love a strong heroine/hero. I’m all about writing characters (and in this case, women) who are strong, independent, brave – but most importantly – real. We all have our moments of weakness; those times when we’re unsure of how to go on – if we can go on. . . but have the willpower to try. Clara finds herself in a few situations of battling against mice and facing unexpected villains – and doing so with her own sort of bravery.
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