I’m really excited to feature Anna Staniszewski, who I’ve followed ever since her novel MY VERY UNFAIRY TALE LIFE debuted in 2011. I even posted about it, and it was one of the favorite books I read last year.
And now (drumroll), the sequel, MY EPIC FAIRY TALE FAIL just released!
Fairy tales do come true. Unfortunately.
Jenny the Adventurer is back, and this time she’s off to the Land of Tales: the crazy place that all fairy tales come from. If she can defeat an evil witch and complete three impossible tasks–all without getting eaten by blood-thirsty monsters–Jenny might finally get some answers about what happened to her parents.
This is one adventure Jenny can’t afford to fail.
Here are Anna’s answers to my questions:
Your website bio states that you have an MFA in Writing for Children. Has this impacted your writing career in any way, and can you tell us more about your journey toward becoming a writer?
I got my MFA from Simmons College back in 2005, and it’s definitely impacted my career. Not only did the program connect me with other people in the field, but it also made me determined to get published. I won’t lie; it was a looong journey. I wrote, got rejected, wrote some more. Finally, after a lot of ups and downs, I found my awesome agent. Then it took us a year to sell my first book. It was a stressful journey, but it taught me a lot about myself and about my writing. Now, I’m lucky enough to be teaching in the MFA program at Simmons (they can’t get rid of me!) and I love getting to see other budding authors working on their craft.
I’ve heard Simmons is a great program–and your experience definitely demonstrates that perseverance is key! MY EPIC FAIRY TALE FAIL is the second in the series that started with MY VERY UNFAIRY TALE LIFE. What inspired the original idea, and what do you want readers to take away from both books?
About five years ago, I was working on a dark YA project that was really bringing me down. I needed something fun to work on, so I sat down and wrote a pretty bizarre scene about a girl and a talking frog. I loved the girl’s personality, and I wanted to find out more about her. I kept coming back to the project when I was stuck on other things, and I think it helped to keep me sane.
Working on the series has really brought me back to fairy tales, which I’ve loved since I was very young, but it’s also been fascinating to see Jenny’s character grow and change. Ultimately, her story is about identity and family–and about wacky adventures–which is what I hope readers take away from it.
Jenny does have a great personality–and she’s definitely fun to read. On your website, readers have the option to sign up for your newsletter. How does the newsletter benefit you and your readers, and do you recommend newsletter writing to other authors?
The newsletter is a new feature–I actually just sent out my first one yesterday. I wanted to try it out because I love getting newsletters from other authors so that I know what they’re up to and what’s new with them. And if they can include fun extras, that’s always nice too. I have a feeling my dog, Emma, is going to be a recurring figure in my newsletter.
It will be exciting to see what develops! I love the design of your website and blog. Do you have any advice for other writers wanting to develop an online presence?
Thank you! My husband is a techie, so I had him help me set it up. But I really wanted something that I’d have an easy time maintaining, which is why I went with a WordPress site. My advice is to keep your website current–if you don’t blog, have some type of changing content that will keep your site kicking. But most importantly, have fun with it. Don’t do anything that feels like a chore.
Excellent advice! It’s so important to have fun, and it’s something I forget too often. What are some of your current and future projects?
Right now, I’m working on the third book in the UnFairy Tale series (which will be coming out in November 2013). After that, I’ll be digging into my next series with Sourcebooks, The Dirt Diary, which will be released next year. I also love picture books, so I try to sneak in working on one here and there in between deadlines.
Thank you, Anna!
Born in Poland and raised in the United States, Anna Staniszewski grew up loving stories in both Polish and English. She was named the 2006-2007 Writer-in-Residence at the Boston Public Library and a winner of the 2009 PEN New England Susan P. Bloom Discovery Award. Currently, Anna lives outside of Boston, Mass. with her husband and their adopted black Labrador, Emma. When she’s not writing, Anna spends her time teaching, reading, and challenging unicorns to games of hopscotch. You can visit her at www.annastan.com.
For those looking to purchase MY VERY UNFAIRY TALE LIFE or MY EPIC FAIRY TALE FAIL, feel free to click on the links below:
Thank you so much for having me!!
Thanks for being here! Your books are some of my favorites. 🙂