My five-year-old daughter lives and breaths all things princesses. She uses her blanket as a cape, she makes a construction crown with jewels almost every day and she is constantly asking me if I can be her servant. If she only knew I already was…
The hard part about all this is that I’m a feminist. It breaks my heart every time I read a fairy tale and the princess longs to be saved by the cocky, arrogant prince. I hate seeing her waiting around a castle or sleeping until she gets kissed.
So I was thrilled when I saw a book called Whatever After: Fairest Of All at the bookstore. My daughter loved the young, sassy girl on the cover and I loved the premise of the book. A brother and a sister find a magical mirror in their basement that takes them into a fairy tale. NOT a Disney fairy tale – the REAL stuff. The stories where the mermaid is supposed to die at the end. The best part is that they mess up the story and the lead female character learns how to stand on her own. I LOVED IT! I seriously loved reading another chapter every night.
So I sent the author an email. I had to tell her how much I loved her books. I wanted her to know how psyched I was that finally someone dared to make a princess independent. That maybe she didn’t choose to be rescued. Maybe she actually rescued herself.
And then I thought – what the hell, maybe she’ll let me interview her for the blog. I’d love to learn more about her and since many of you guys are parents, maybe you too would like to learn more about the books.
And lucky me! She agreed! And she’s awesome. WHY? Because she not only gave me an interview but she also sent me a copy of her latest book to GIVEAWAY! And I’m not embarrassed to say that I might actually be more excited for the next book in the series that comes out today (April 29) maybe even a bit more than my daughter…
I found the first book in your Whatever After series (Fairest of All) when I was looking for a book for my young daughter that was about fairy tales yet had a more feminist, positive nature than traditional tales. I was truly tired of reading books where a prince came to the rescue. What made you go in such a unique and different direction with the class fairy tales? Did you share my sentiment? What was your inspiration?
I had the idea for Whatever After since way back when I was a kid. I loved fractured fairy tales even as a six-year-old. I rewrote The Princess and the Pea as The Princess and the M&M. I was not a fan of vegetables. And I share your feminist sentiments exactly. I love fairy tales but dislike the save-the-damsel-in-distress endings. I decided Whatever After was my chance to inject them with humor and girl-power.
If you personally could pick a fairy tale to go into and “mess up”, which one would it be?
The Little Mermaid, definitely. Do you know what happens at the end of the original story? The Little Mermaid DIES! Seriously! Saddest ending ever. I would love to mess that one up and give poor Little Mermaid a happy, non-dead ending.
How many books would you like to write in the Whatever After series? Are we going to see the siblings as they get older?
I’d like to go on forever. Well, maybe not forever, but definitely for a lot longer. There are tons of fairy tales I’d still like to tangle. Aladdin. The Princess & the Pea. The Snow Queen (every kid I’ve met in the last three months begs me to do Frozen). Hansel and Gretel…Whatever After #5: Bad Hair Day (Rapunzel) comes out on April 29th, and I’m currently writing Beauty Queen (Beauty & the Beast). I’m not sure about whether I’ll age them… maybe a little, but I can’t imagine I’ll have Abby in high school. They’d have to move the books to the YA section.
Tell us about the first book you ever published. Was it adult/ya/middle? What was that process like? How did you get your start?
My first published novel was adult chick lit. At the time, I was single and working at Harlequin Romances, marketing novels such as The Virgin Bride Said Wow. Yes—that is a real title. Anyway, I found the juxtaposition between the books I marketed and my single-in-the-big-city life ironic and the perfect experience to explore in fiction. I wrote Milkrun, a novel about a romance copy editor who gets dumped via e-mail.
If you could have dinner with three other authors, living or dead, who would they be?
Judy Blume, Margaret Atwood and Jane Austen.
If you could write a book under a different pen name that was totally different from anything you have written before, what would the story be about?
It would be a teen horror novel. Like a Christopher Pike or Lois Duncan book. Chain Letter! Down a Dark Hall! Last Act! I loved those books so much. I was obsessed with both writers as a teen.
As a writer, what’s your Achilles heel? What’s the one thing you are terrible at? (As you can see, I’m terrible at grammar and ending words with a preposition)
Hah, I am, too. I am also a terrible speler. Okay, I did that one on purpose. But all I can say is: Spell check, I love you.
If you could pick a celebrity to play Jonah and Abby – who would they be?
For Jonah, maybe Jakob Davies? He’s playing the little brother in If I Stay–the movie based on the amazing novel written by Gayle Forman. And he’s Canadian! I’m Canadian and I like to support my people. For Abby, I love Ariel Winter from Modern Family. She’s also the voice of Sofia the First. My two girls are OBSESSED with Sofia the First. Ariel might be too old to be play Abby, but I don’t mind if they age up the part. My girls would freak out. Although my five-year-old would probably lobby to play Abby herself…or at the very least Cinderella or Rapunzel. I wonder if a studio would let me put that in the contract?
Thanks so much for chatting with us Sarah! You rock!
To enter the giveaway, leave a comment below and I’ll use Random.org to pick a winner. Winner will be announced on Monday, May 5.48 Comments