Edgard native’s young adult book makes New York Times bestseller list
Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 21, 2022
LAPLACE — In partnership with Disney, Edgard native Farrah Rochon has penned the 13th installment in the “Twisted Tale” series, which climbed to No. 7 on the New York Times Best Seller list for children’s series.
Rochon’s book, “Almost There: A Twisted Tale” is currently ranked as the No. 1 best seller on Amazon in teen and young adult fairy tale and folklore adaptations.
Each book in the series presents a “what if” question that changes the events that transpired in beloved Disney films. “Almost There,” based on Disney’s “The Princess and the Frog,” explores what could have happened if Dr. Facilier backed Tiana into a corner and gave her a choice she couldn’t refuse.
The tale is infused with New Orleans history, something Rochon easily connects with from her upbringing among sugarcane fields on the West Bank of St. John the Baptist Parish. Her prolific writing career began long before she published her first novel in 2007. Since then, she has published dozens of books, mostly romance novels with a New Orleans flair. Her career was propelled to new heights in 2020 when her novel “The Boyfriend Project” received praise from Entertainment Weekly, Oprah and Cosmopolitan Magazine. The third book in “The Boyfriend Project” series, “The Hookup Plan,” was released in August 2022.
Rochon said the success of the series opened doors that led her to a partnership with Disney. She took a leap of faith when she pitched herself to write for a new adult romance line based around the Disney princesses.
That decision led to another opportunity outside of her comfort zone. While Disney already had writers working on the romance series, they needed someone to write the Princess Tiana installment of “Twisted Tale.”
Rochon accepted the challenge, becoming the fourth author to write for the massively successful series. Instead of bringing a steamy romance story to life, Rochon found herself writing for a new demographic.
“Twisted Tales was a completely different concept and execution. It was young adult, which is something I’ve never written before,” Rochon said. “I got into the young adult mindset very quickly because I know the movie so well. It was actually really refreshing. I just had to keep telling myself they could only hold hands, and that’s as far as it could go with the romance.”
According to Rochon, the bigger challenge was writing the book in a way that was historically accurate. She found herself engrossed in the history of the city as she dove into careful research. Set in the late 1920s, the book contains mentions of buildings that no longer exist in the 21st Century. Rochon learned that the French Quarter Tiana would have known was centered around factories and the working class before it was an artsy tourist attraction.
Rochon was also grateful that Disney allowed her to explore racial differences that were prevalent in the city at the time.
“It was kind of glossed over in the movie, but I was able to go more in depth with the type of racism that Tiana would have truly experienced in 1927 New Orleans. There are a lot of things she did in the movie that she would not have been able to do as a 19-year-old Black girl in New Orleans at that time,” Rochon said.
“Almost There: A Twisted Tale” currently has a five-star rating on Amazon.
One reviewer wrote, “You could tell the author loved the source material, as she very carefully weaved in bits from the movie that worked seamlessly with the plot. And there was such care put into representing the New Orleans we didn’t get to see in the movie, as well as care in representing what true Vodou was. I loved the inclusion of discussions surrounding racism, sexism, and classism—all things I personally thought the movie lacked. It was handled beautifully and painfully and, at many points, nearly brought me to tears.”
Seeing the series on the New York Times Best Seller list a week after the book’s release was the cherry on top of an incredible opportunity.
“It’s something you dream about as a writer. The New York Times is the pinnacle…it’s a huge deal. I was very excited,” she said.
While Rochon looks forward to writing several future installments of the “Twisted Tale” series, she cannot say which princesses she will cover next.
“It’s very much supposed to be kept under wraps,” she explained.
Rochon will be featured at the Louisiana Book Festival in Baton Rouge on October 29. Several signed copies of “Almost There” can be found in bookstores across New Orleans.
For more information, visit farrahrochon.com.